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Road to recovery: Tips on preparing for the rebound

Danny Armstrong, Managing Partner, ShineWing Australia

The pandemic has dramatically hit businesses everywhere, leaving many wondering what recovery might actually look like.


Yet advisory and accounting practice ShineWing Australia is positive Australia is well positioned to weather the storm.


Danny Armstrong, Managing Partner of ShineWing Australia, has an interest in helping Australian businesses succeed in China and across Asia. With an 85-year history of supporting small enterprises to large corporates with their advisory and accounting expertise, ShineWing Australia has decades of ups and downs.


While COVID-19 presents a range of immediate challenges for his clients, Danny believes there are opportunities driven by the underlying growth of a middle class population in Asia that will flourish in the medium to long term.


“Prior to COVID-19, many Asian nations were developing rapidly and they are expected to be back on track once the pandemic subsides,” he says. “These Asian countries are resilient and require a lot of goods and services which Australians are good at producing – particularly natural resources, food and beverage, and healthcare, all essential to their economic development."


Danny believes Australia’s similar time zone and proximity to Asia could benefit local businesses looking to expand into the region.


“Australia’s strong link to Asia is driving growth for the nation across a variety of industries.”

– Danny Armstrong


Watch out for common mistakes and be prepared


However, Danny warns against jumping in head-first: “We have seen some common mistakes, such as rushing into new business relationships too quickly, and also assuming success at home can be easily transplanted to the new market without modification and that success will follow instantly.”


“Don’t just rush into a transactional relationship with the first person you meet,” he adds.


Having lived and worked in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Shanghai, China for 10 years, Danny advises Australian businesses who are planning to trade with Asia to conduct appropriate market research and preparation before proceeding.

Meanwhile, he recommends those currently operating in Asia should use this time to strengthen existing relationships and knowledge base.


Keep in regular contact with your customers, suppliers and local staff


Maintaining close contact with relevant parties in Asia is an essential part of doing business, even more so in a cross-border context.


“Market conditions can change quickly as evidenced during COVID-19 and closely monitoring the situation can help your business adapt to the changed conditions more effectively – whether this be new consumer trends, regulatory changes or supply chain challenges,” Danny says. “Peak industry bodies can also support you with up-to-date information.”


Later, when travel is permitted, visiting the market you wish to do business in is recommended to obtain insights on the ground as well as to develop and ‘road-test’ your business model and value proposition. Investing time to visit and become familiar with local practices and networks before commencing trade is critical, according to Danny.


Review and update your business plan regularly – based on insights gathered from first-hand experience and trusted contacts in the field.


“The business plan should include ways to approach the market and the specific segments you wish to target,” he says. “It should also determine what type of business model is most suitable, for example, online presence or physical presence, and whether to partner with locals.”


Businesses should also take into account the changed environment and how to adapt, for instance a contact-less service model and how to scale up promotion and delivery again when the pandemic situation improves.


Undertake due diligence on the parties you intend to work with and assess their character, capability and capacity to ensure it aligns with your own.


Danny also urges businesses to be sensitive to other cultures: “Listen to their perspectives and observe how they do business. Clear and open communication is the key to reaching consensus and building a win-win relationship in the current climate.”


For more information about ShineWing Australia visit www.shinewing.com.au


The latest ANZ Opportunity Asia Report combines survey data from 1000 businesses across Australia along with timely case studies and industry research, to understand how companies are adapting to the COVID-19 environment. It provides actionable insights to help build a recovery and growth strategy for Asia. Download the report from: https://betradeready.anz.com/OpportunityAsia



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