The COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for everyone, including small business owners nationwide. Even as shops and malls have reopened, and many businesses have resumed, consumers continue to avoid public places as much as possible, and are still wary about doing certain activities, such as shopping in physical stores and dining out.
If you’re a small business owner and have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your venture. You can take the situation as an opportunity to take a long hard look at your business model and find ways to adapt to the new demands of the market.
Many say that the pandemic has changed the way we do things forever and has created a “new normal”, so any changes you implement now may just turn out to be permanent, or at the least, necessary for the long term. And they can very well open opportunities that you might not have considered before.
With that said, take a look at these tips that can help your business survive and even thrive in the “new normal”:
Take advantage of government programs to support businesses
The government has implemented several programs to provide small and medium businesses with financial and other forms of assistance during the pandemic. See if you qualify for any of these and find out how you can apply for assistance.
Among the programs to consider are:
Open to businesses with assets of no more than P3 million, who can borrow from P100,000 to P200,000
This Landbank initiative aims to provide assistance to SMEs, co-ops, and micro-finance institutions through additional funding and loan restructuring
A joint endeavor by the Small Business Corporation and the DTI, this program offers quick access micro loans with a 2.5% monthly interest to MSMEs or micro enterprises through designated cooperatives and MFIs
Run by the Philippine Guarantee Corporation, this program aims to increase credit opportunities for MSMEs affected by COVID-19 in banks regulated by the BSP through credit guarantees
Take advantage of technology
With consumers turning to ecommerce for their everyday needs, businesses will do well to create or enhance their digital presence. If you still don’t have an online store, perhaps it’s time to start one. And if you already have a digital shop, make sure it’s updated and responsive to the changing needs of your customers.
Check your digital operations for efficiency and user friendliness. Is it easy to place an order and send payments? Do you have a system in place to respond to inquiries or customer complaints? Can you provide convenient payment options? Look into AI solutions to help you cope with increasing online transactions, but don’t neglect the personal side of the business as well.
If you’re a B2B provider, explore how you can digitize your services and make them accessible to clients remotely. Take advantage of online conferencing apps, such as Zoom, Google Meet, and others, to maintain effective communications with clients and customers.
Make your brand relevant to the times
In light of the pandemic, people have become more conscious of health and safety issues. Now more than ever, everyone is better informed about bacteria, germs, and viruses, and how deadly they can be.
On the lifestyle front, many have also come to recognize the value of their homes as a place of sanctuary, and are striving to make them as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. More and more people are also taking up new hobbies to keep themselves entertained while cooped up at home
The businesses that have found success and thrived through the pandemic are those that recognize these newfound attitudes and behavior. To count yourself as one of these businesses, you need to review and see how your brand fits into all this. You might find that it may be necessary to rebrand your business to make it more relevant to the new normal.
For example, many clothing companies have turned to making protective garments and materials, such as PPEs, face masks, and so on. Others have found ways to make their products easy to clean and sanitize. Others still have shifted their business models and turned to essential products and services, such as food items and delivery services, or to hobbies and anything home related, such as plants and interior decorating.
Running a small business is always challenging, but overcoming obstacles is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have in the process.
For more information and tips about starting or running a small business, see our blog. You can also call our team at +63.917.892.2337 or send us a message here.