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Be prepared

2017: Be Prepared

Sim Guan Seng Mar 31, 2017

Most projections for 2017 are gloomy but there are several silver linings that C-suite executives should look at and even focus on. Sure, there are the effects of Brexit, the new Trump Administration, IS unrests, greater economic (and possibly military) flexing from China. 2017 will be slow, but the picture is not all darkness.

“Sectors such as electronics, information and communications, and other services industries are likely to continue to support growth, while the wholesale trade, and finance and insurance sectors could continue to face external headwinds,” according to the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) in its 3Q 2016 report. Another star in manufacturing is the biomedical cluster.

Overall, in spite of the even performance of the various sectors – manufacturing being bright and services expected to drag down numbers – Singapore’s gross domestic product grew by 1.8% on a year-on-year basis in 4Q 2016, faster than the 1.2% growth in the previous quarter and outperforming MTI’s earlier announced GDP growth forecast of “1.0 to 1.5%”.

So, against this backdrop, how might we approach 2017? Remain optimistic. Pessimism will drive our country down and make things worse in the end for everyone. So business owners and leaders should and need to keep a positive attitude. What is there to be optimistic about? As part of ASEAN, we are in the midst of the fastest-growing region in the world together with China and India. Secondly, we have good government, governance and infrastructure. These strengths are key in ensuring that Singapore remains an attractive hub for foreign investment, which in turn help create new business opportunities.

We know that business, as with other things, moves in cycles. The down phase gives us a breather to do things like housekeeping, re-inventing, restructuring and realignment, after the hectic growth phase. In this, it is time companies reorientate and change mindsets to think global, look outwards, and identify opportunities in new businesses, products, brands and geographies.

Trimming fat – through cost-cutting measures – should not be the only strategy. And, if exercised, should be exercised lightly; not excessively such that there is not enough resource in the company to respond to business opportunities. Throughout this time, watch cash flow. This is perhaps the most important thing for businesses to monitor.

At Baker Tilly TFW, we are working with partner firms in the region and internationally to grow our business and look for new opportunities. We are also diversifying, looking for new services and expertise to offer our clients. We have even expanded our office space by 15%.

2017 is shaping up to be a slow year. But we need to keep our heads up and an eye on breaks on the horizon. Happy New Year. May it be prosperous!

DISCLAIMER: All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations in this article are reasonably held by Baker Tilly at the time of compilation but are subject to change without notice to you. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents in this article, the information in this article is not designed to address any particular circumstance, individual or entity. Users should not act upon it without seeking professional advice relevant to the particular situation. We will not accept liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through reliance upon the information contained in this article.

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