WHY would you open a business during a pandemic? While most people hope to wait out the storm, others seek out the rainbows.
Not content to sit back and see where the road leads, the panellists in this WED WEB CHAT — Why Start A Business During A Pandemic? decided to take the wheel and steer their businesses through the fog of uncertainty.
In challenging times, they have used their experience, expertise and connections to build new businesses or innovate to good effect.
Prashant Somosundram could have shuttered The Projector and waited out COVID-19, but that could have caused irreparable damage to The Projector.
The indie cinema operator instead applied for government support grants and chanced upon an opportunity that is now a new income stream. Projector Plus offers films online, and this has also opened up avenues for regional expansion.
The Projector also opened a pop up cinema — purpose built for social distancing — at Riverside Point. Prashant says this was only achievable with a supportive landlord, in this instance, Far East Organization.
For some, the strict measures of the 2020 Circuit Breaker (CB) proved a hard lesson to take, involving tough decisions and steep learning curves. Frank Shen opened his restaurant Laut during the pandemic and had to figure out how to operate without customers in the premises. The Phase 2 Heightened Alert (HA) is less onerous compared to the CB, but still doesn’t allow for customers in restaurants.
Frank and his team have been experimenting with new products and collaborating to make the most of the long down time. He is attempting to catch the “rainbow in the storm”, building up the camaraderie in the team and working with new, and sometimes unexpected, partners.
Susan Tan was presented with an opportunity to express her Peranakan and local heritage cooking skills when food court operator Chang Cheng Group offered her a space in the Tampines Central Community Complex. The deal was struck in a month and business at Heritage Corner has been brisk.
The importance of keeping one’s contacts warm is an important lesson to bear in mind, Susan reckons.
Recognising the negative effects of the restrictions, Anna Milani opened Sparkd, which helps to keep mind and body in good shape. The Phase 2 HA may have chucked a spanner in the works, but she’s optimistic that when things open up, more people will realise the importance of mental and physical health working in tandem.
The panellists offer a tip each from their experiences in opening a business during this pandemic.
The 45-minute discussion can be viewed in full below.
Watch the full discussion of WED WEB CHAT — Why Start A Business During A Pandemic? below.
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