BFM Webinar: Race to Recovery

Thiam Hock made an appearance today on BFM Radio’s live webinar: Race to Recovery.

Thiam Hock joins Dato Munirah Looi (Brandt International) and Joshua Liew (EspressoLab Asia) to discuss how COVID-19 has changed the way business operate and what businesses need to do to survive.

Click here to watch on Facebook.

To jump straight to Thiam Hock’s comments, follow the time stamps below:
(16:30 refers to 16 minutes and 30 seconds in the video)

16:30 – The SME road to recovery starts next year, not this year. You will be losing money this year, that is a given. How do SMEs preserve cash flow for the next 6 months?

19:30 – Thoughts on EPF deferment / exemption & wage subsidies.

Wage subsidies help, but it’s only for 3 months, and SME’s need to survive for 6 months.

29:05 – Brick & mortar businesses, vs. online businesses.

33:15 – What measures can companies take to reduce monthly operating costs? Look at your forecasts, be sure to look at minimum 30-60% fall in revenue for the year. Talk to you landlord – can they extend 20-30% discount during the MCO?

36:30 – Advertising and promotional budgets. Businesses should be spending on anything that can help sales in this period – and media companies will be giving great deals now.

38:50 – Wages. Can we convert wages to be more of a variable cost?

43:00 – Mergers. Does it make sense to acquire a weak competitor? Does it make sense for weak companies to merge?

51:00 – Private equity and venture capital. PE and VC firms will be like vultures in 4-6 months time – and business owners will no longer be able to command high valuations.

In the next 2-3 years, the “valuation game” won’t happen. (…) It’s gonna be very, very much subdued, the valuation game.

1:01:40 – Senior staff and bonuses. What do you do for staff who insist to be paid fully during this MCO?

We are facing a situation where you cannot afford to to absorb losses for six straight months. (…) It’s a time of reckoning.

1:03:30 – What is the outlook for the wellness industry?

1:08:20 – What do businesses do if the MCO is extended? Some form of economic activity has to resume. A call for religious leaders to make responsible decisions, and for business to take health and safety measures seriously when business resumes.

It’s really a question of Lives vs. Livelihoods. And whether the cure is going to cost more than the problem itself.

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