Go Lokal Cebu: Experts Share Their Secrets On Growing Your Business Through Digital and Online Technology

Cebuano entrepreneurs welcome connectivity and digital technology in competitive MSME industries

MSMEs from all over Cebu had the opportunity to learn more about digital innovation from experts from various fields during the Globe myBusiness Academy Cebu leg. The whole-day event, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), introduced local entrepreneurs to new digital and online technologies , which were created specifically to make it easier for them to run and manage their businesses, whether big or small.

Here’s what the experts have to say:

Start Your Business On The Right Foot

“Don’t just find a need and fill it; instead, give your clients an offer they cannot refuse.” – Anthony Pangilinan, host of CNN Philippines’ The Boardroom, Chairman and Chief Disturber of BusinessWorks, Inc., and OIC of Called to Rescue

Yes, it’s important in starting a business to find a product or service that your potential market needs. But the key to a successful business is to find a product or service that is so essential for your customers and to match it with your core competence, specifically your strongest skill/s or talent/s, such that when you deliver what they need, you have created it so well they cannot say no to it.

“Test your business with your market, and engage with your market.” – Ma. Elena Arbon, Assistant Regional Director for Region 7, Department of Trade and Industry

Once you’ve developed your business concept, make sure to test your product or service with some customers. Get their feedback, and improve accordingly. Market testing validation is important, as this allows you to develop and grow your business in line with your customers’ needs.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has a DTI Negosyo Center in every regional office which not only implements laws on business and commerce, but most importantly, supports local businesses with their various needs. The DTI Negosyo Center helps micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) develop their businesses and products through continuous trainings and workshops, access to information, market research and more.

DTI highly encourages every entrepreneur to register their business, in particular start-up businesses who may need educational, technical, and financial support. At the moment, Cebu has 28 DTI Negosyo Centers, with almost 50 percent presence in Cebu.

Be Efficient With Your Finances Using Tech Tools

“The only way is to innovate and adopt an innovative mindset for long-term viability of your business. Adopting digital processes is equally important.” – Ma. Elena Arbon, assistant regional director for Region 7, Department of Trade and Industry

Nowadays, there are a number of ways to manage your finances more efficiently through the use of online and digital technologies. The key is finding the right tools to help you run your business. Cathlyn Pavia, Business Development Head of GCash, points out how GCash is “a platform that transforms your mobile phones into a wallet where you can do your everyday transactions using your phone.” This means paying your bills, receiving payment from customers and suppliers, transferring funds, and even managing payroll through a smartphone app. So no more time wasted with bank and payment errands or stressing over delayed payments and fines — just easy and safe money management right when you need it.

Besides, banks aren’t all that easy to access and find in provinces and remote areas. But with myBiz Wallet, GCash for Business, cashless transactions are possible. It supports financial services such as withdrawals, direct bank transfers, and over-the-counter transactions through pawnshops, convenience stores (like 7-Eleven), and department stores, namely SM and Robinsons. In Cebu and the Visayas region, GCash transactions are possible through RD Pawnshop and Palawan Pawnshop.

Address Customers’ Pain Points ASAP

“There are many ways to improve customer experience — online and offline.” – Petrus Carbonell, Head of Business Development, Lazada

Carbonell points out how friction matters in running a business, defining it as “any pain point for your customers,” wherein a negative experience of your product or service can affect growth and profit. Payment and delivery processes are some of the areas where customers often experience friction; thus, it pays to improve on these points. Some of his recommendations include responding to customer inquiries, consistent updates on product inventory and information, and personalization of your product or service to suit each of your customers’ needs and requirements.

Take Advantage of Online Advertising and Social Media

“Online advertising is all about discovery, [about finding] new things coming up. People don’t go to Facebook to look at ads, but to look at what other people are doing and what’s the latest news.” – Joey Flores, Associate Director for Corporate Marketing, AdSpark Philippines

Don’t be afraid to go online to advertise your brand. Social media and social networking sites are very good platforms to reach potential customers, so long as you know how to use them. The not-so-secret formula is finding the right content and the right context when creating your messages online. Keep in mind that the right ad will attract the right person, and that people look up specific things when they are online, so it’s important to use the right hashtags on your posts.

“Gather your customers’ information and build your database specific to your market/clientele.” – Joey Flores, Associate Director for Corporate Marketing, AdSpark Philippines

Social media offers a wealth of opportunities for your business when used right. By utilizing your followers’ and likers’ information, you can create content that suits your market specifically — what they like, what they react to, who they interact with — to attract them to your brand. This enables you to not only to grow your clientele, but also to find out how else to improve your brand.

Be Authentic; Be Audacious

“Don’t make your IG look like a brand; make it authentic.” – Joey Flores, Associate Director for Corporate Marketing, AdSpark Philippines

Gone are the days when a picture-perfect Instagram feed was the ideal. Nowadays, the buzz word is “authenticity,” wherein users and followers are drawn to accounts that are real. While vibrant colors and nice pictures are still eye-catching, it’s important to keep your posts relatable. So tell your brand’s story, and be yourself.

“Be proud of what you do; it will pay off.” – Dennis Ng, founder and CEO of Mober

Owning and managing a business is tough and demands hard work and perseverance. It takes more than a certain business acumen to be successful; one needs guts to take risks, make bold decisions, and ask for what you need.

Mober founder and CEO Dennis Ng took a risk when he boldly asked a roomful of entrepreneurs and business experts in an APEC event which of them would invest in his startup business. He asked the speaker, “What would it take you, a Singaporean, to invest in a startup like me in the Philippines?” His audacity impressed SM’s Tessie Sy-Coson who approached him after the event and offered to partner with him.

Find The Right Partners & The Right Tools

“It’s not what you know; it’s who you talk to. Rely on the experts that you can trust.” – Anthony Pangilinan, host of CNN Philippines’ The Boardroom, Chairman and Chief Disturber of BusinessWorks, Inc., and OIC of Called to Rescue

Putting up a business and running it successfully means having to rely not only on your own know-how, but to trust the advice of experts who may know better.

Growing your business requires growth in knowledge as well, and you can’t learn everything on your own. Find a teacher who can show your better ways to do things, or a mentor who can guide you through the unknowns of your business. Find experts who can do certain tasks essential to your business well enough that you can continue to focus on developing your own core competencies.

Embrace Digital Solutions

“Technology empowers your business so long as you’re willing to market your product on social media — the possibilities are endless.” – Petrus Carbonell, Head of Business Development, Lazada

Online and digital technology aren’t just about marketing or advertising your product or brand online; it’s about embracing digital solutions that can help you manage your business more efficiently and almost effortlessly.

Globe myBusiness, for instance, caters to MSMEs from many industries. Globe myBusiness helps entrepreneurs develop their brand and customer experiences through different means and at various areas of their businesses — from learning about your brand to completing a product purchase to after-sales service. It also allows entrepreneurs to run their businesses efficiently by giving them real-time access to their records such as sales reports and inventory, if necessary.

“Learn to take the dive and take your business to the next level.” – Juan Antonio Andres, Samsung

Elevate your business to the next level and transform your workplace into one that’s future-ready. The workplace of the future no longer requires an actual physical space; it utilizes tools that we already have on hand — like our smartphones.

For instance, Samsung and Globe myBusiness have developed a work environment that takes place within the palm of your hand. With the Samsung Galaxy S10 and a Globe myBusiness plan, you can easily and efficiently run and manage your business operations without a laptop or desktop computer. Simply connect using your smartphone or tablet and do business with via mobile. It’s a fast, affordable, and practical way of doing business anytime, anywhere.

Samsung also allows entrepreneurs to integrate their devices with one another, while enhancing the work experience with next-level features such as the S10’s Infinity Display, a 4100 mAh battery and wireless power share feature, and 5 HD cameras.

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