Despite the slowing economy, the directors of Tea Ideas are not predicting a slowdown in sales this year. Still, director Albert Tan, 50, hopes to get an extra push from the Government to help overcome issues the company faces as it grows in scale and scope.
"We're an emerging SME that is past the stage of trying to prove ourselves," says Mr Tan, whose company makes a tea infuser called Tea Wands, which doubles as a strainer and a stirrer. Unlike tea bags, they do not collapse when steeped in water.
"It's breakthrough or breakdown for us. And I believe the needs of companies like us, at the three- to five-year mark of development, are similar."
He hopes the Government can roll out schemes for companies at this "critical stage" of development, to help them sort out the business processes.
Mr Tan says he has problems getting affordable bookkeeping services. Says another director of the company, Ms Jacinta Ong, 40: "When we first started, we did everything ourselves. As we grow, we need professional support, but the charges are simply too high,"
• Home-grown enterprise Tea Ideas has been steadily growing since it was set up four years ago.
• Today, it has an annual sales of more than half a million dollars, and has taken its first steps to sell outside Singapore.
Mr Tan also feels SMEs can be categorised according to the different stages of development, so it is easier to match the relevant government grants to the businesses. "We don't want to add anything else to the Budget wish list. The help is already there. But the grants are too diverse and we get lost."