The spread of COVID-19 has definitely impacted business for the worse. With many stores shut down and customers having to stay at home indefinitely, small business owners nationwide are now anxious about how to keep their companies running.
How can you sustain your business during these troubled times? Here are some tips:
Thankfully, the government is taking measures to provide more leeway for small businesses. Loans, bills, rentals, and tax filings have all been moved to help small businesses balance expenses.
Government programs were set up to promote business recovery after COVID-19, examples are:
Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) issued CAMP as a way to help workers through financial and employment assistance.
DOLE also rolled out TUPAD to provide emergency employment to displaced or seasonal workers for 10 to 30 days, depending on the nature of work, which will fall under social, economic, or agro-forestry community projects.
The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) set ERF in place, with a PHP1 billion fund, as a loan facility to help micro, small, and medium enterprises affected by the ECQ.
The program by Department of Finance (DOF) distributes PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to eligible workers employed by affected small businesses.
These initiatives are available to help you manage your cash flow and operations during this challenging time.
Private enterprises are doing their part in cushioning the damage of the pandemic as well. Companies such as Globe Telecom, Aboitiz Group Of Companies, Ayala Corporation, and Coca Cola Philippines to name a few have been providing their customers, many of them SMEs, with extended bill payment periods, donations and relevant solutions.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to stand with you at this difficult time. Together, as a nation, we shall overcome this crisis,” says Ernest Cu, Globe Telecom President and CEO.
It’s reassuring to know that entrepreneurs can turn to fellow businesses for aid, especially in times of crisis.
If there’s any single takeaway from this whole experience, it’s that digitization is now absolutely necessary. Businesses that have digitized are able to continue operations online despite the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Brick-and-mortar stores have diverted their sales to their e-commerce stores. Thanks to cloud storage, online payment platforms, and logistics providers, they’re able to manage their business from the safety of their homes.
If you’ve never invested in digitization before, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of technology – open an online store, create an app, use productivity software, video conferencing platforms and other online solutions. Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite), for example, allows teams to collaborate even when they’re not physically together through Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and Hangouts. Many of these have free trials and other perks so you can make sure they are worthwhile investments before buying.
After all, we don’t know how long this quarantine will last. And these tools will remain useful even after quarantine is lifted. Use this opportunity to make the move to go digital so you’re better prepared for the next potential disruption.
While business has slowed down, you can use this time to pause and re-frame your strategies. This pandemic is forcing everyone to stay home, and that among other things has a huge impact on the way people behave.
More people are doing their shopping online — but what they’re buying is starkly different from before. According to Nielsen, online sales for hand sanitizers in Southeast Asia jumped from 6% in 2019 to 60% in February 2020. More people are buying their groceries and other personal care products online for the first time, and claim they will do so again in the next year.
Meanwhile, online communities are proliferating. Facebook Groups like Let’s Eat Pare, Best of the Best Manila, Who’s Your Pupper, Senpai? serve as channels for self-isolating Filipinos to come together and chat about something they all have in common.
Even physical communities like villages and subdivisions are coming together online. Local village Facebook and Viber groups serve as a channel for neighbors to sell their products and services to each other without breaking quarantine boundaries.
These active and tight-knit communities can be powerful avenues to conduct consumer behavior studies so you can better understand the demands of a highly connected audience.
This ECQ sheds light on what consumers see as essential goods and services. Things like soap, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper have always been household staples, but now more than ever they are considered essential.
Entertainment, electronics, and even beauty items are also becoming indispensable in battling the monotony of staying at home. This is an opportunity for your business to position its brand as a need in a whole new light.
NAVCO, for example, is a local distributor of tech products like Anker, Garmin, and Eufy. They positioned their gadgets as technology that can spread joy despite the quarantine. In effect, this helped increase their sales.
“You need to have a goal. For [our business], it’s to be a source of good, hope, and joy [during the crisis]. Pivot your services, content, and positioning towards tools against the crisis. Show your availability. And don’t do hard sell. Just be there,” says Ryan Tan, NAVCO Managing Director.
Alternatively, you can also pivot your business to become more relevant during these times. San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon Ang, for example, turned his breweries into labs for producing rubbing alcohol to be donated to hospitals and villages across the country.
Many local clothing companies, like fashion designers Rajo Laurel, Patty Ang, and Puey Quinones, have also begun producing masks and PPE suits for frontliners.
Especially in this time of crisis, it’s important that you let your customers know that you are always there for them. A brand is more than just a business – it’s something that can fulfill new demands or untapped needs. So don’t be afraid to tweak your position to remain relevant during this time.
While this pandemic is certainly not a good thing, it’s teaching us that the world is changing at a rapid pace and the internet is becoming more than just a commodity. It is entirely necessary for businesses to take their work online. Use the tools at your disposal to make the most out of business.
Globe myBusiness can help you. Schedule a FREE digital consultation with our solution experts to learn about products, services, and solutions for business recovery to prepare you for any crisis.
HELPFUL PRODUCT INFORMATION:
Enjoy seamless collaboration and communication with your team even when crises keep you apart with Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite). Learn more here.
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Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. Sign up to learn more here.
Send important announcements branded with your company name to employees and customers with M360. More information here.
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