Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), comprising 99 percent of all the businesses in the Philippines and employing 63 percent of the work force, are greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a research conducted by the Asian Development Bank, around 70 percent of the MSMEs have temporarily closed during the Covid-19 outbreak.
When these MSMEs go out of business, their assets are also gone, such as client lists, inventory, distribution channels, and other truly valuable assets they’ve built over the years. But what if there are ways these businesses can survive, even if with limited capital. What if there are ways to generate revenues still, so they don’t let go of their people and continue operating?
So, here are my suggestions on how MSMEs can pivot, survive, and even thrive during an economic downturn:
1. Work your customer list: Go through your customer list and check their profile, such as their age, gender, location, preferences, then find other products or services they might be interested in buying based on their profile. Find the suppliers to form a deal to introduce their products and services to your customer list, and then split the profits.
2. License successful systems and processes: Do you have distinct processes such as marketing that attracts significant buyers, selling methodologies that convert well, cash flow management strategies, and other systems and processes that outperform the competition? If you have, license these systems and processes to other businesses of the same or different industry and earn licensing fees. The Intellectual Property Office is the regulatory office to transact with for this matter.
3. Find opportunities for your marketing and sales team: Instead of letting go of your highly trained marketing and salespeople, find businesses with the products and services that people are still buying but lack enough marketing and sales force. Make a deal to help them sell their products and services, then split the profits.
4. Form strategic alliances and joint venture partnerships: Joint venture partnering is one of the easiest, safest and fastest ways to help you survive and thrive during an economic downturn. To do this, you must find out what your customers buy (1) before, (2) together, and (3) subsequent to your products and services and form strategic alliances with the suppliers and other key stakeholders of these products and services. These are three leverage points to help you propel your venture forward.
The pandemic has undoubtedly caused a significant impact on the economy and MSMEs. Business owners must realize that their problem is a solution to other business owners’ problems and that every adversity comes with equal opportunities.
*this article was published in Business mirror