By William Ng

This will be a protracted crisis. Even if we are able to contain the rate of infection; the economy domestically and globally, already frail from years of reignited ugly protectionism, is unlikely to see any growth, even if we are lucky to avoid a global recession.

As entrepreneurs, business owners and business leaders; this is as trying a moment as any – largely because it is for reasons beyond our control. There are little or no precedence as to how we manage this.

While the first and foremost thought in everyone’s mind must be the preservation of our businesses, we must now do our duty as responsible businesses and focus on our people and the impact on other stakeholders.

At the same time, we must also realise that the greater good might sometimes be achieved by making some sacrifices. If this means selective layoffs and adjustment to hours and pay; in order to protect the jobs of the majority, then that is what we must do. If this means pay cuts for those earning the most, then that too is what we must do.

This is certainly not the time to be ambitious, nor to be heroic. History may be pebbled with stories of greatness reaped from opportunities in crisis. But behind every one of those success story, lies hundreds of businesses that collapsed for not being defensive.

Businesses have always been adversarial at the best of times. In the current crisis, we will all do well to support one another, and to share whatever resources that we may have. Only by working together, will we survive this crisis and emerge stronger together.

If there is ever a time to be magnanimous and to be generous, this is it.

More so than any other time, we must show the world that entrepreneurs and the business community are not the vultures we are seen to be. And that we are the force of change that the world needs and the source of goodness that we have all enjoyed.

Stay safe and see you on the other side.


The author is group publisher and editor-in-chief of Business Media International, the owners of SME Magazine, HR Asia and Capital Asia


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