Forum: Good time to strengthen companies' competitive edge

The lunch crowd in the Central Business District area on Jan 17, 2020.
The lunch crowd in the Central Business District area on Jan 17, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

As businesses feel the squeeze from the coronavirus crisis, and brace themselves for a bumpy ride ahead, they should not overreact and let austerity measures affect their capacity and capability to respond to challenges and grow their business.

Otherwise, a self-fulfilling prophecy may set in to erode their operations (Task force to tackle expected 30% fall in tourists, Feb 12).

Every real or potential downturn is also a strategic opportunity to redesign business models and operations, and improve productivity and results.

Invest in motivating and upgrading the workforce, keeping morale high, and developing an adaptable organisation with able and agile talents to take the organisation to a higher level.

Improve the product line and develop new products to capitalise on evolving needs, gaps and other opportunities that will arise during challenging times, and proactively identify markets that are underserved or can be better served by new and better business offerings.

Business is not just about expanding market size but also about enhancing market share.

A soft market is an opportune time to strengthen one's competitive edge and capitalise on competitors' fear and passiveness to win market share and deepen stakes in the market.

It bodes well to prepare for a downturn during an upturn, and prepare for an upturn during a downturn.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Good time to strengthen companies' competitive edge'. Subscribe