THE RIGHT MOVE
The economic strains of the pandemic have certainly taken its toll and SMEs have endured it the worst. As a past national director for the Junior Chamber International Philippines, and a business owner myself, I completely empathize with the struggles entrepreneurs had to contend with. But as the economy has recently undergone a sort of a jumpstart with a promising decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, we are hopeful there will be a trickling down effect to the small businesses.
Entrepreneurs must now harness their creativity and resourcefulness if they want to get back on the horse. During the pandemic, I myself launched an online shop on Instagram called Tocador where I sell topnotch crystals customized and handcrafted into artisanal bracelets. I employed other stay-at-home moms as artists and craftsmen likewise providing them a source of income.
The response has been incredible as I received an average of 16-20 orders a week, lowering my price point compared to competitors.
The same can be said for other entrepreneurs who utilized free social media sites for their handcrafted items including soaps, candles and other homemade products. Websites can now be created for free and especially with people locked down in their homes with only their internet service connecting them to the outside world, consumers have shopped more online.
I believe online businesses will continue to thrive post-pandemic as it has proven itself to be more convenient for consumers, and for most, there is “no turning back” to the pre-pandemic mode of shopping, particularly in the Philippines where Filipinos have been known to be heavy social media users. As per Statista, there are 76.2 million active social media users from the Philippines. Of this number, a whopping 72.5 million are on Facebook, 8.9 million on Twitter, and four million are LinkedIn users.
Additional data from NielsenIQ suggest that the post-pandemic, or at least for now, post-quarantine period, is the boom of Philippine e-commerce, with the country showing a sensational increase in online shopping which soared by 325 percent. Nielsen IQ’s Consumer Intelligence Managing Director for Asia says that “We have entered the end of the beginning of e-commerce in Asia and those who rest now will sleep through the most formative time of growth for e-commerce.”
With this in mind, another business opportunity to look into are courier and delivery services. There are several types of a courier service including door-to-door delivery which has helped businesses particularly e-commerce shops thrive. There were courier services that started offering franchising at “promotional” prices at the height of the pandemic offering lucrative income. And yes, I also tried getting a franchise of such where I even have the option to be an operator with my fleet of vehicles. It seems quite an attractive offer especially not having to worry about getting the legal permits which includes Business License/Registration, Mayor’s Permit, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Registration, Special Licenses/Permits, if needed, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Registration, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Registration, Barangay and Zoning Clearance, Land Title or Contract of Lease and Community Tax Certificate.
If you have the time and resources to acquire these legal documents, however, you may also look into creating your own delivery service, but you must invest in the following:
- Brand name and logo
- Budget and accounting of expenses vs profit
Despite the tumultuous impact of the global lockdown during the pandemic, it still remains to be an incredible learning experience as well for business owners to evolve with the changing times and embrace new customer needs, and the biggest change in the consumer landscape.