The pandemic has affected many businesses all around the world, especially in Singapore. Because people are prohibited from going outside of their homes, except for essentials, industries that rely on customer traffic (e.g. food and beverage industries) are finding it hard to stay afloat.
Unfortunately, for many of these ventures, the current pandemic is too hard of a hurdle to overcome. A significant number of businesses have declared bankruptcy in Singapore. In April alone, 8,663 businesses were forced to close down due to the lack of revenue. Despite social restrictions somewhat being lifted, allowing some places to open, it might be too late for some business owners. Because it is hard for businesses to continue with their operations even after the lockdowns, some opt to “declare bankruptcy.
WHY DOES A BUSINESS DECLARE BANKRUPTCY?
If a business accumulates debt more than $15,000 (raised to at least S$60,000 until 19 October 2020 due to COVID-19) and is unable to pay it back, they can file for bankruptcy. It can be invoked by the debtor or creditor when it is highly unlikely for the amount to be repaid. When it is impossible to make alternative arrangements regarding repayment with the creditor, the debtor usually files bankruptcy.
Otherwise, creditors can file bankruptcy charges against them. However, this serves as a last resort and not all struggling businesses should be worried. It only applies to the following conditions:
- The debtor failed to comply with the statutory demand to pay within at least 21 days (extended to at least six months until 19 October 2020 due to COVID-19)
- The debtor did not comply with the court issued execution to pay the debt
- The debtor fled the country to avoid paying the debt
- The Official Assignee (OA) certifies that the debtor is unable to pay
For many venture owners, it is better for their business to declare bankruptcy, instead of trying to repay their debts. Once you file bankruptcy, your debts stop accumulating and no further interest charges are added to the principal sum owed. It means that your debt is frozen at a certain amount. As a result, you can arrange an alternative payment plan with a more manageable monthly contribution, compared to the amount you need to pay before. More importantly, it protects you from any legal proceedings from creditors trying to recover debts incurred before bankruptcy.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A BUSINESS DECLARES BANKRUPTCY?
Once a business declares bankruptcy in Singapore, your assets will be a part of your bankruptcy estate managed by the Official Assignee (OA). These assets can include anything of value belonging to you, like property, during the date of or after bankruptcy. Gifts given to you before your discharge from bankruptcy may also be included. From here, creditors can receive dividends from your bankruptcy estate.
With that said, some of your assets are considered protected. It means these would not be part of your bankruptcy estate, and creditors cannot take them. These may include the following:
- Property held by you as a trustee for someone else
- Your HDB flat (if at least one flat owner is a Singapore citizen)
- Money in your CPF account
- Life insurance policies for your spouse or children
- Items or equipment required for the personal use in your business or vocation
- Equipment or furniture for your family’s needs
- Remainder of your monthly income after deduction of the monthly contribution
- Annual bonus or wage supplement paid as part of your income
Furthermore, bankruptcy can have other consequences you need to face. Once a business declares bankruptcy in Singapore, the owner’s name enters into Singapore’s bankruptcy register, which can be accessed by the public, including potential employers and clients. With that said, you can continue to work despite declaring bankruptcy. However, you are not allowed to hold managerial and directorial positions unless the court or OA permits you to do so. Finally, your credit scores will be affected, limiting you from applying for loans, credit cards, and mortgages.
HOW DOES A BUSINESS AVOID DECLARING BANKRUPTCY?
Bankruptcy is not something to take lightly. However, it doesn’t mean the end of your dream of having a successful business venture. Many successful entrepreneurs have created a career for themselves despite having had a business declare bankruptcy in Singapore. An example is Leza Klenk, who after declaring bankruptcy in 2014, founded her million-dollar company, Spendless Group.
At the same time, it is best to avoid any possibility of bankruptcy from happening in the first place. Here are some things you can do to keep your business thriving:
- Update your business plan
A business plan can help you give a sense of direction in your business process. However, consumer behaviour is not constant, and there might be a change in demand. Most of these buyers are going online for their purchases, especially during this pandemic. A business plan relying heavily on customers going to stores may not work. So, update your business plan once you’ve studied your customer’s purchasing behaviour once again, and adapt to these changes.
- Learn where to put your money
Look at ways where you can decrease cost and invest money that can improve your revenue stream. For example, instead of spending money on print ads in publications or billboards, it may benefit you more to invest in social media ad campaigns. As we established, most people spend their time indoors without any opportunity to buy new magazines or go out to see posters of your product.
- Keep up with marketing trends.
Keeping up with current marketing trends, especially online, will be vital in keeping your potential customer’s interest. Some market trends may not work now as they used to before. Most probably, your competitors are also keeping track of these trends, and you need to even the playing field with them. Otherwise, you are at risk of losing customers, thus less revenue.
To avoid their business from declaring bankruptcy in Singapore, many business owners are transferring their transactions through online platforms, especially during this pandemic.
Digital marketing is something you can learn and execute on your own. Many online resources give you tips and tricks in creating an effective marketing campaign. However, not every business owner, especially those on the bridge of bankruptcy, has the time and resources to do digital marketing on their own. With that said, there are many digital marketing firms out there that can help you in your journey.
SEVEN WOLVES DIGITAL MARKETING FOR BUSINESSES IN SINGAPORE
Managing your business’ digital marketing strategies on your own is tough. Instead of planning them yourself, as mentioned earlier, you can hire a team of experts in this particular field, to do it for you. Seven Wolves has a team of digital marketing gurus that specializes in various aspects of digital marketing. The digital landscape is continuously changing. Having people, whose sole responsibility is to map-out that landscape for you, will assist your venture moving forward.
When working with us, we take all aspects of your business, including your budget. We offer packages, where you can get various digital marketing services for your business in Singapore that is worth your money. We can help you from creating SEO plans for running social media ads. We got you covered!
Hiring people to do digital marketing keeps you from the trial and error stage and gives you time to take better care of the other aspects of your business. We do it right because digital marketing is our business, and our business involves growing yours to new heights. Seven Wolves will help you thrive in digital marketing’s ever-changing landscape, and to do it better than anyone else.
Interested? Collaborate with Seven Wolves to put your digital marketing game to another level and introduce you to a world of possibilities. Contact us today.