SOBA brainstorming session beneficial for entrepreneurs


Soba brainstorming

PETALING JAYA: While the impact of the Covid-19 and its resultant movement control order (MCO) has been devastating on all businesses, it has forced small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular to take a hard look at ensuring resilience and sustainability as they enter the recovery stage.

Even PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio, who had previously weathered the 1998 Asian Currency Crisis and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, admitted that the logistics group faced its share of challenges related to the pandemic, despite being better prepared than most.

However, Tio immediately relooked his strategy, pulling from feedback and suggestions from a brainstorming session with its management and key staff members to brainstorm further business diversification plans.

He was speaking at the panel discussion for the recent digital SOBA Learn Aspire Build (LAB) knowledge sharing session – titled Is Your Business Ready to Face Another Potential Lockdown? – that saw entrepreneurs sharing their views on coping with potential challenges and threats that could adversely affect business growth and productivity.

“The brainstorming programme was the best thing I did during Covid-19 to chart the direction of the business, which drives down fear (among the employees as well). It was very meaningful for us, ” he said.

Knowledge Group of Companies managing director Selva Nagappan said it is vital to identify key strengths and expertise to create new verticals or pivot the business when necessary, especially because the boost in communication and trust had broken down silos between different departments.

Generating revenue: See says SMEs must also look into ways to generate revenue.Generating revenue: See says SMEs must also look into ways to generate revenue.

He added: “Use your strength and go into the market. During the MCO period, the trust level went very high as employers were betting on employees working from home. When we came back to work, we saw the impact of that.

“It created a lot of positiveness and productivity. Everyone feels a part of the team and that he or she contributes to the company for cross-team collaboration (through suggestions and brainstorming).”

Juris Technologies co-founder and chief executive officer See Wai Hun said that while cost-cutting is one area to look into as part of a business’ recovery strategy, SMEs must also look into revenue generation.

“When crises happen, it means danger and opportunity. SMEs and entrepreneurs must look at their business model and think about future-proofing their businesses in terms of revenue streams – how to get recurring revenue by perhaps offering an enhancement that can help increase clients’ revenue, ” she advised.

The session, which was moderated by Malaysia Entrepreneurs’ Development Association secretary-general Arlene Tan, also featured past SOBA winners including Julie’s Manufacturing Sdn Bhd director Martin Ang, Harta Maintenance Sdn Bhd group managing director Datuk Dr Radzali Hassan and Secret Recipe Group business development director Patrick Sim.

The trio, who shared their stories on how they have successfully built, managed and grown their award-winning businesses, also urged local businesses to participate in SOBA.

Julie’s Manufacturing’s Ang, for instance, said that continuously participating in SOBA gave the company a way to benchmark itself against its peers.

Education element

He added: “It enables us to keep on learning and improving (by identifying) the many blind spots we have and how we compare to other industry players.”

Themed recovery, reinvention and restoration, this year’s SOBA LAB consists of four sessions. The upcoming SOBA LABs will take place on Sept 2, Sept 10 and Sept 23.

Organised in conjunction with SOBA 2020 as part of the education element of the awards programme, SOBA LAB was designed to arm business leaders and entrepreneurs with the necessary knowhow to take their businesses to the next level.

Email soba@thestar.com.my to sign up for subsequent SOBA LAB sessions.

SOBA 2020 is organised by SMG with Digi, PKT Logistics Group and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd as co-sponsor and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp as official trade promotion partner. It is endorsed by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with dimsum, 988 and Suria as official media partners.

New views:Selva said it is vitalto identify key strengths andexpertise to create new verticalsNew views:Selva said it is vitalto identify key strengths andexpertise to create new verticals

Submissions for SOBA are now open. Locally incorporated enterprises not part of a multinational or listed group with foreign equity not exceeding 50% can participate by completing the application form online via www.soba.com.my or submitting the hard copy to the organiser at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. The deadline for entries is Dec 4,2020.

For more information on SOBA 2020, call The Star Events Business Unit at +603 7967 1388 ext 1871 (Lily)/ 1039 (Poh Ern)/1104 (Shamenei) or visit www.soba.com.my.

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