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.

Grow your business and expand your reach. Sign up to Globe myBusiness Academy.

Paving the way for micro, small, and medium enterprises’ (MSME) digital innovation in Baguio City, Globe myBusiness Academy, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held a whole-day event where entrepreneurs from various industries were invited to seek advice, motivation, and inspiration from experts in different fields.

“The inability of our MSMEs to maximize the potentials of the global market is one of the current challenges for Baguio business owners. Mas maraming magagandang produkto ang ating MSMEs na highly competitive sa iba. It’s either ‘yung know-how nila [or the resources available] ay limitado in order to bring their products globally,” says Andrea Palaez, OIC for the Business Development Division of DTI Benguet.

This proved to be the case for Andrea Apagna, who sells knitted goods. She was interested and excited about attending the event, but realized that “parang millennial business ito ka’koDapat pala anak ko ang nandito,” she said.

Like Ms. Apagna, many business owners find it intimidating to embrace the digital age, but thanks to Globe myBusiness Academy’s Go Lokal program, she went home fully informed of the possibilities for her should she decide to grow her business in today’s digital world.

Below are some insights worth noting.

On getting started

“A lot of people don’t get to where they want to be because they don’t start.” – Ginger Arboleda, Manila Workshops Founder and CEO

Whether it’s starting or digitizing your business, one thing’s for sure: It will take a lot of hard work. But the trick to getting started is actually just going for it. So start. You don’t have to overthink things.

On innovation

“Open every area and level of your organization for innovation.” – Anthony Pangilinan, motivational speaker

To do this, you have to follow the five Cs:

  1. Change. You must be willing to change.
  2. Consistent. You have to be consistent. You cannot require everyone or everything in the business to change and be exempted from it.
  3. Constant. It has to be constant. Just because you changed five years ago doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it anymore.
  4. Cost. You have to invest in change. This investment doesn’t always have to be monetary. Sometimes it’s your ego, like letting go of what you already know to make way for the changes.
  5. Customer. It has to benefit the customer. If you are innovating for your own benefit and not for your customer, the change will be deemed useless.

On selling online

“Now is the right time to get into [doing business online]. If you have a business or you’re already selling something, then sell it online. If you don’t have a business, consider going online.” – Alvin Ching, Lazada Vice President and Head of Seller Engagement

When you open an offline store, you only reach customers who are within five kilometers of your store’s location. Unless your product becomes widely popular to the point where people would come in droves to patronize it, it would be challenging to sustain your store. But when you open an online shop, you reach the entire country in one go, and you don’t even have to pay rent or other expenses to keep your shop running.

On looking for a technology for your business

“Remember the three things when you’re looking for a technology: It has to be flexible, it has to adapt to the user, and it has to have value for your customers.” – Es Salomon, Go Canvas APAC Sales and Product Engineer

Going digital is a good direction for your business, but make sure you’re not doing it just for the sake of digitizing. It’s important that you know your business and your customers very well for the switch to be groundbreaking.

On going mobile

“The future is already here and the future is mobile.” – Anton Andres, Samsung Product Manager/Solutions Architect for Enterprise Mobility

Based on a study, almost 50% of the workforce will be running their businesses on their mobile devices by 2020. Whatever mobile device you have, you can leverage on it to make your business succeed. After all, mobile devices aren’t just limited to browsing photos and videos on social media, sending messages, or making calls anymore. It’s now an effective way to do and grow your business and collaborate with like-minded people no matter where you are in the world.

On marketing your products online

“If you’re not marketing online, you’re not marketing at all.” – Joey Flores, Adspark Associate Director

Become digitally ready by following Joey’s three tips:

  1. Be there. Whether it’s through a website or a social media page, you have to be online for people to find your products.
  2. Be found. Create the right advertisement and advertise it to the right person.
  3. Be engaging. Deliver the right content.

On making a website

“You have to be clear about your website’s purpose.”  Eugene Jose Arboleda, Taxumo and Manila Workshops Subject Matter Expert

Make sure you know what you want to get out of the website you’re building for your brand. Ask yourself: “What is my website’s job?” “What is it supposed to do?” “What role does my website play in the whole consumer decision journey?” Your website has to serve a specific purpose in order to help boost your business.

On seizing opportunities

“Everyone is blessed with a certain resource that not many people have. You have to be able to seize that opportunity when it does come up.” – Mikee Magsaysay, Carmen’s Best Sales and Marketing Executive

Use what’s unique to you to your advantage while keeping your eyes peeled for an opportunity that could be beneficial for your business.

Want more tips on growing your business globally? Sign up to Globe myBusiness Academy.

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