Singapore small businesses remain optimistic despite the economy

Photo by Isaac Smith

Sleek has released its second annual Sleek Small Business Index examining the perspectives of Singapore small business owners on the current business environment and their expectations for 2023, against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment. 

Through expert advice and success stories, the Sleek Index report outlines how small businesses can pivot and scale to help them through this unexpected time.

The report found that despite concerns over inflation and the broader economic environment, small business owners in Singapore are feeling good about the future and the health of their businesses.

As many as 59% of business owners are optimistic for the future, with 63% expecting revenues to rise. Additionally, more than half of all businesses are comfortable with the health of their business, reporting positive cash flow (58%). 

Future optimism notwithstanding, businesses’ current concerns unanimously relate to the economy. According to the report, 22% said their biggest concern was higher business costs, followed by inflation (21%) and the economic environment (20%). Others cited international trade tariffs, foreign exchange rates, funding cuts, and difficulty hiring talent as key challenges. 

In light of this, 51% of business owners said that their business expenses have increased, driven in part by their suppliers and vendors increasing prices, which was the case for as many as 69% of survey respondents. In response, 1 in 4 businesses have increased their prices, while 24% have elected to cut costs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of economies everywhere, and Singapore is no exception,” said Julien Labruyere, Chief Executive Officer at Sleek. 

“However, with limited financial resources, SMEs are especially vulnerable to economic downturns – so it’s encouraging to see the resilience of small businesses and how, even whilst facing  uncertainty, they’re confronting it head on by adapting and finding new opportunities.

“In today’s digital economy, investing in the right technology will be crucial. By tapping on technology, entrepreneurs with limited resources can prioritise their time better, focusing instead on building and scaling their business.”