A Year On in Helping SMEs
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
I started this website sometime in April 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in Singapore. We are close to the first year anniversary of this personal site and I thought why not do a stock take and a little reflection? Also, I haven't written anything since Sep 2020, which is kind of bad for my Google search ranking. :(
I always tell businesses and people that numbers don't lie.
Number of genuine inquires (which I had bothered to key into my excel sheet): 54 (as of 21 Feb 2020).
Number of fake/incomplete/irrelevant/helpless inquires: More than 10.
51% of the inquiries asked for advice on government grants and schemes, out of which the majority of them are about digitalisation (or buying laptop).
The rest sought help in crafting of business plans, setting up ecommerce sites, seeking legal recourse (which I directed to a good legal friend), mentorship or simply just wanted to bounce off ideas about their businesses.
A number of inquires are possibly consultancy firms trying to test if I am legitimately pro-bono, or checking my credibility? I know because employees from the same group of companies (maybe sitting opposite each other) reached out to me within minutes of each other using different emails. It is easy to snoop around using LinkedIn these days. :P
I also get a number of irrelevant ones. There were some I wished I could help but couldn't. These consisted of poor folks who needed personal financial help for themselves. One poor lady asked for financial help for her husband's business who was running into debts. I also get inquiries from people seeking help but expect to be spoon-fed in everything, or felt entitled for my help.
Smiles and Satisfaction
When I started this site, I didn't expect the number of inquires I would get. Neither did I expect the type of organisations who reached out to me. I had the pleasure and satisfaction in helping people and organisations whose field or domains I had no prior experience or knowledge in.
2 asked for help in doing up business plans to apply for National Arts Council (NAC) grant. One of which is a local talented singer.
1 asked for help in crafting a business plan for a new business to apply for a Singapore Tourism Board (STB) grant.
1 popular local hawker asked for help in expanding his fried fritter business.
2 online blogshops asked for business advice and mentorship.
1 local retailer (a heritage brand that I remembered going to when I was in my army days) seeking help in their declining retail business.
1 popular bus company asking for assistance in an online bus booking system. Often I see their buses on the roads and I can't help but smile.
1 aspiring F&B owner seeking help in writing emails to the various agencies for support.
1 overseas consultancy firm asked for a summary of local government grants to compare with their country.
A couple of startups asking for the type of support they can get from the government.
Any many more!
I like to extend my appreciation to these people and organisations because by helping them, I had raised my level of knowledge in these new areas.
The Rewards in Numbers
Fees received: $0.
Non-monetary received: Countless dinners and cups of 'kopi'.
Many people do wonder if I was a scam or if there were any fine prints, the answer is really no.
I am glad I started this site way back in April 2020. That was also the month that I lost my job due to COVID. I didn't want to idle my time away while searching for a job. I took the opportunity to pick up online digital marketing courses and applied the knowledge gained on this website.
Helping SMEs have always been a passion. There are so many needy people and companies who needed help, and clueless about where and how to get them. Though I don't view myself as a professional consultant, I try my best to give whatever advise, help or deliverables needed. Along the way, I made many good friends and network. Who knows several years down the road, one of them can be the next big business. Please do remember me when the day comes!
If you are an SME, and if there is any area you may want some help, or an opinion, or just simply a chat, do drop me a message!
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