Growth is always an important milestone for companies. As a small to medium enterprise (SME) business owner, you would not find this idea new especially when you wish to survive.

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There are many growth strategies out there used by SMEs in this region. Some of the common strategies include market expansion, product expansion, market penetration, diversification and acquisition.

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Market Expansion to Overseas 

Market expansion across borders is significant for many small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Depending on your field of business, your market demand can be limited if you are not looking to grow. Hence, it is a relevant goal for many new businesses here in this region.

According to a survey by International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore), many small to medium business enterprises (SMEs) are willing to expand beyond Singapore but they are often challenged by the lack of market intelligence and suitable business partners.

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Market Expansion Is A Big Project 

No doubt, it is always useful to have some onsite business help from the new market you are targeting on. This will save you a lot of trouble while trying to navigate a new landscape there! 

Depending on the market you wish to expand, you would want to start with a basic list of 5 Ls list to identify resources that you can leverage on: 

  1. Legislation laws and taxes
  2. Local partners
  3. Local employment laws
  4. Licenses
  5. Local SME organisations

Minimising the risk of using wrong approaches, SMEs tend to rely on their on-site partners for guidance.  However, you may face the challenge of identifying the suitable business partners for your business. This can make or break the strategy as onsite partners are the best resource you have to understand the new market without starting from scratch.

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Observing this trend among SME, IE Singapore has stepped in to provide some resources that can help to grow businesses. One of these resources is the partnership between IE Singapore and Leadbook:          

“Finding the right partner is an important first step for SMEs going overseas and IE Singapore is constantly expanding our networks to make this process easier for them. This partnership with Leadbook enables SMEs to tap into their diverse networks and opens doors for partnerships,” said Michelle Chow, Group Director of Enterprise Partnership, IE Singapore. (Leadbook and IE Singapore Team Up to Accelerate Singapore SMEs Overseas Expansion via Lead Generation Platform, 12 June 2017)

In addition, SMEs can also seek resources from IE Singapore’s assistance programmes under the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) and Global Company Partnership (GCP) frameworks. These resources include grants, talent initiatives, seminars and databases.    

With this checklist, you should have a better idea on how to make the best decision for your company. Globalisation is not a new trend for many local companies in their business strategies. Equipped with business relationships and potential resources under IE Singapore, you will be able to navigate in the new market with much ease and reduce the likelihood of pitfalls.    

Businesses wishing to know more about Leadbook’s services can contact the team directly at or visit

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva