More than two years on since Covid-19 health crisis began an unrelenting assault on the global economy, many businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, continue to hold on for dear life. One woman-led company, Compass Advertising Co Ltd, weathered the pandemic storm without resorting to a firing spree, by riding the digital tide.
Compass Advertising founder and CEO Neng Sinat confidently stands on a decade of experience in marketing, social media management, event planning and national trade shows, and is known for “turning ordinary branding into extraordinary” through the company’s main mantra: “One Goal, One Achievement”.
The entrepreneur sat down for an interview with The Post’s May Kunmakara to discuss her strategies to sustain the business during Covid and how she was able to lead the “360 degree” advertising firm through tough times without cutting staff.
How has Compass Advertising fared during Covid, and how have you managed to keep the business sustainable?
The Covid-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on local and overseas businesses. Devising a strategy without compromising my team structure was a great challenge for us; during that time, we needed to restructure and take other avenues to sustain the business.
Fortunately, the rise of digitalisation was a really big help and we’re still taking some small projects across online media. As such, I’ve been looking at the brighter side of the Covid crisis, like how we’ve been able to accelerate our digitalisation journey, and now it’s a part of our services, and there’s constant demand from our valued clients.
How is the business doing now since the government adopted a ‘living with Covid’ approach to the pandemic late last year?
I’d say business is gradually recovering, and we’ve been able to recoup some of the losses we experienced during the lockdown. And I’ll proudly say that my team never gave up, just as I never gave up on them during the worst of it.
I’m very optimistic that better times will come and that we’ll all be totally free from the pandemic. But come what may, we still need to practice proper health safety measures.
How are your business clients getting on nowadays, and what has been Compass Advertising’s proudest milestone as of late?
Most businesses and brands are very bullish at the moment, never getting tired of penetrating markets and hitting the best strategies to make up for all the losses incurred during the pandemic. Some businesses are shooting two or three birds at the same time while chasing good profits.
Compass Advertising’s biggest recent achievement was the Cambodia Tech Expo, the largest of its kind ever held in the Kingdom, with lots of very demanding preparations and set-ups needed.
My team was truly devoted and exerted every effort to ensure the success of the expo, and that it would even happen. And the business partners who’ve trusted us since the rise of the “new normal” were genuinely also a part of this achievement.
What challenges have you faced as a strong, independent woman entrepreneur who has built a very successful business, and how have you overcome them?
It’s really not easy for an entrepreneur to build a business from scratch. There’s a mountain of hurdles along the way, and we need to get the trust of prospective clients. This is especially true in the advertising world here in Cambodia – there are a lot of big players dominating the market. These challenges have helped me paddle up the creek, with the help of my family and dedicated team.
What has the government done to empower the Kingdom’s potential women entrepreneurs?
In Cambodia, both the government and private sector have been working hand-in-hand to encourage women – not only in business but also at state institutions.
The Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) and other organisations are there to represent women in businesses: the CWEA’s ultimate goal is to reach out to and encourage more women in business. There are many women who are heading companies and even some government institutions.
Given all of this, I’d say the government has been and is focusing on gender equality in the economy and the government’s ranks, allowing women to use their skills and talents to contribute to economic development.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.