As lockdowns ease and businesses continue to close across the country, is it time for us to shift to a digitally-based economy?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global health crisis that has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate in the Philippines. According to the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics on the 2020 global GDP growth outlook, world economic growth is expected to be negative for the remainder of 2020. This means there’s a drop in people’s spending power, so people buy less, and in turn companies will earn less. In order to overcome this negative growth, policymakers should make monetary and financial market measures that would support affected households and local businesses.
In these trying times, businesses will have to squeeze out their creative juices and innovate ideas that could help Filipinos adapt to the new way of life in this ‘new normal’.
This leads us to the question, “As a society, how can we go back to being ‘normal’ under the new normal?”
EVALUATE on what you can control
Now is the time to reevaluate your business strategies and consider every aspect of your business. Before you reopen your business, here are things to consider that could help you evaluate if your business is pandemic proof:
- Can you deliver your products and services digitally?
- Are your products and services aligned with the needs of your customers?
- Would you be able to reach out to your loyal customers to support your business?
- What partnerships and collaborations should you venture that would benefit your business?
- Are you willing to adapt to change and try something new to explore new opportunities that you may encounter?
With this in mind, this could help your business become more equipped for this pandemic. It will also help you evaluate where your business is currently standing on the market in this new normal.
2. CHECK on your staff
More companies and businesses are opting to work from home. If you are to implement a ‘work from home’ scheme for your business, you must be 100% sure that everyone clearly understands why working from home is the most necessary way to work these days. It’s just as important to give your staff a chance to speak up about their worries and suggestions. Their inputs would help you along the way, and with their collaboration they may contribute something that could help the business.
Remember, flexible business hours shouldn’t be abused since your employees may have some personal stuff to attend to. This pandemic has caused a lot of stress, and we should find ways to lessen our burdens and help each other.
3. Safety is your TOP priority
Your top priority should always be the safety of your employees, customers, and suppliers. Here are possible opportunities you can consider in the context of safety in social distancing and minimizing contact:
- The use of paperless and digitized payment transactions in third party applications like GCash, Paymaya, Online Banking, etc.
- The use of delivery and logistical services for your business through Grab, Lalamove, Ninjavan, etc. Cash on delivery is available for some too, just in case your buyer cannot go outside to top-up for credits.
- Buying in bulk when ordering your ingredients or materials. You may also consider buying what’s available from your local community since it is less risky as compared to buying supplies from long distances.
More people are shopping online and relying on delivery services to minimize travel and outside interaction. Tailoring safety policies in the context of the pandemic would assure your customers, staff, and other stakeholders that you business is practicing safety measures during this pandemic.
4. ESTABLISH a healthy relationship with your customers
Customer service is at the heart of every business. Providing a user-friendly experience to your customers could make them feel that they’re getting more from what they’ve bought. Not only that, but good customer service will be better for customer retention (in other words, loyal customers).
All it takes is pure empathy and genuine caring for your customer’s well-being. You can try making it a habit to brighten a customer’s day with a nice greeting, or asking about their day.
5. Take INITIATIVE
There are a lot of uncertainties due to the unstable economy caused by this pandemic. Our motivations may differ from one another, but that should not hinder us to engage trade between businesses. By taking the risk of reopening your business, you would help contribute something to our recovering economy. With this vision in mind, this would be a glimmer of hope for businesses and SMEs for a brighter and better Philippines. Maybe you can donate some of your profit to beneficiaries that are in need, or maybe you can send out food for our frontliners. Any effort that you would do for our fellow Filipinos would eventually give impact to them and soon after people will be inspired to pay it forward too.
As the Philippines shifts to a digitally based economy, here is my word for all the businesses out there. The sooner you come up with the changes needed for your business, the quicker you would recover from this crisis. The devastation caused by the virus should be taken seriously since it has affected families, communities, and economies across the world. But in the wake of the pandemic, we can still identify opportunities that have emerged (or still emerging). As we reflect on it, this may be the perfect time to capitalize on the new era for e-commerce. The months-long quarantine has been an incubator for innovation that would not have happened organically without this pandemic. Showing the true resiliency that Filipinos are known for by using this opportunity to find ways to make ends meet this pandemic.