MSMEs told to go digital to keep up during crises
Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were encouraged to use digital tools to remain competitive even in the midst of crisis, as new kinds of businesses are expected to arise following the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Ginger Arboleda, chief operating officer of Taxumo and founder of Manila Workshops, identified some digital marketing tools that can be used to run a business, such as Google for more complex products or services to create a content in the web, Facebook for brand awareness, and even bloggers and influencers.
“I foresee there would be a lot of new and different businesses that will arise from all of these things (Covid-19). A lot of businesses will be open to digital workers so freelancing, which was not much talked about before, will become sort of an option already for small business owners or even big corporations,” she said.
Arboleda said there are 1.5 million freelancers in the Philippines who have the skills and digital know-how who can help entrepreneurs adopt technology.
“A lot of them now are helping people and teach them things like how to maximize their time at home, how to be more results-driven, or how to go through the day and still have time for yourself after working,” she added.
Vice President of SME Platforms of Unionbank of the Philippines Jaypee Soliman pushed the use of cloud-based systems in operating a business, noting such systems are not easily hacked.
“And actually getting more softwares into the cloud makes it cheaper, more accessible to everyone, so consider cloud-based-technology,” Soliman said.
MJ Panganiban, chair of E-Commerce Committee at Fintech Philippine Association, said the Covid-19 experience is a leverage in pushing the use of digital technology among the MSMEs.
“Entrepreneurs should not be married to their current business model. They should fall in love with it because everything is driven by passion but they should not get married to it. They should be ready to always adjust and tweak at some point of their business what can be digitalized. If a lot of them are afraid that digital (adoption) is difficult, (they can) study. It’s not always dependent on their own capacity,” he said.
Panganiban also cited the freelancer model, wherein entrepreneurs need only to pay for a particular task.
“There is (also) plenty of resources, especially now. It’s a perfect time to learn, we have so much time to kill and let’s try to use it wisely. There are a lot of resources, a lot of online webinars, online content, and e-books we can read. There is a lot of Youtube content that we can actually watch on how to start going digital,” he said.
The implementation of Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine has been extended until April 30, from April 13, to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Soliman also sees more people going into digital but only the “persistent will survive.”
RJ Ledesma, founder of Mercato Centrale and co-founder of EnterPH, foresees many “great businesses” that will emerge from the crisis.
“Right after the crisis, I see a lot of businesses coming out that have to integrate social distancing into their doing their business,” he said.
“I also see an increase in the number of people doing health and immunity-based supplement products, food-based products. Immediately, we see a lot of people are going online for delivery of their products. We see a lot of development of paid webinars and seminars going online,” he added. – Press release