Covid19: What Can MSME Do To Overcome The Challenges
Founder of HanaWomen.com & HanafundMe.com, a Foodie/Bookworm, Loves Travelling & Animals to bits!
Not long ago I posted a heartfelt 2 cents to the Government (Malaysia) in regards to the MSME (Micro Small Medium Enterprise) challenges, hopefully they might hear our little voices out.
And they did. Although admittedly we were hoping it could have been much better. Nevertheless, it is still better than nothing.
There is a saying that challenges will bring out the best or the worst out of you. Are you a survivor or a quitter?
Regardless the size of businesses and its industry, whether you manufacture shoes or sell packed food just to get by — we are all affected. But if your company has been in the business above 3 years now, you are expected to already build your cash flow and reserves to at least be able to stretch it.
But what can we do to thrive and get through this if we are cash strapped? So after some time, I thought of a few ways. And maybe you have better ideas than me. Do whatever works for you.
BE CREATIVE, GET CREATIVE
Many prays for monetary assistance from the Government — but what if they never come? What if they are not enough? We are not charity organizations, we are Entrepreneurs. So it’s time to get creative and challenge your situation.
Crowdfunding as we know it today was born during a time of economic decline.
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo were founded during the Great Recession. On a flip side, this is a great time for new startups or business owners to test the waters, and launch their first campaign.
RAISE DEBT FREE CAPITAL, WHY NOT EXPLORE CROWDFUNDING?
To apply for loan, you will still need to fill up forms, submit business plan and financial papers for bank’s review. You may or may not get the loan. Very subjective. And when you do get them, you still need to pay back — with interest. What if your revenue didn’t grow that fast for you to pay back?
The same approach applies for crowdfunding. Whether you offer products or services, you still need to:
- Work on your campaign (address the WHAT, WHY, WHO and HOW).
- Your rewards (what will you offer to your supporters in lieu of their monies).
- Getting supporters (family, friends, regular customers and fans) to support you.
If you wish to explore this, do sign up at our platform, Hanafundme.com
and mark your campaign as “Covid19 Appeal
The beauty of crowdfunding is that you get the backup funds needed in advance to stay afloat and you don’t have to pay back. You just need to fulfill your supporters’ orders when they redeem from you once the lockdown period is lifted.
Sound simple? Not really. Most didn’t like to hustle due to fear of rejection or be seen as hard selling. But if your offering is fabulous, you don’t have to hard sell at all.
At the end of the day, nothing moves if you don’t move them. Especially from this point forward, you have to hustle more than you did because every business owners works twice harder too.
WE ARE MORE CONNECTED THAN EVER BEFORE
Having a strong list of supporters (your customers, clients, family, good friends, colleagues and team members) to kick start and back up your campaign is important and they are easily connected compared to years back.
You can acquire new ones easily too these days. As long as you have access to Social Media accounts and willing to put yourself out there (make a video of your self perhaps? Think of the popular NAS Daily
) — the sky is your limit.
SPEND A BIT OF MONEY TO PROMOTE YOUR CAMPAIGN
A lot of people mistaken Marketing expenses as merely “expenses”. Wrong. They should be seen as part of investment to grow a business, to bring eyeballs and to raise interest. If the campaign or business means a lot to you, use this lock down period to learn how to promote them online. Don’t wait for anyone to do it for you. Leverage on social media and share your offer.
DOWNSIZE YOUR BUSINESS OR SPEAK TO YOUR LANDLORD
Consolidate and look at your existing shops, how many of them isn’t making and make you bleed every month? Is it worth keeping all of them in operation? Can you work out a plan with your landlord? Can you move to a smaller office or share office with others while rebuilding your reserves. Sometimes it is necessary to cut your losses and operate lean.
TALK TO YOUR EMPLOYEES
Round up your employees and truthfully share with them the situation that the company is facing now. Get their feedback and suggestion. Reduce benefits or salaries if you need to. Employees that understood the challenges might agree to this and wouldn’t mind to stay and sacrifice their pay if they want to. There is no need for cold dismissal.
OUTSOURCE YOUR TASKS
For those who has no choice but to start all over again, but cannot afford to hire full time staffs to do some of the tedious work, why not outsource them? Pay them according to project duration, type or hourly. Not only you save time with hiring, you save the headache with managing payroll, HR issues and having to provide a space for the team to work.
LEARN UP NEW SKILLS
Use this lock down period to learn as much as you can on topics that you wish to learn but seldom have the time for and perhaps you may discover hidden skills that you never thought you have and utilize them to grow your business. These days there are many learning platforms giving out free online lessons, take advantage of them.
JOIN PEER SUPPORT GROUP
As said earlier, we are all in the same boat. By joining a peer support group, not only it feels less painful to walk through the journey alone, perhaps you might pick up tips from others on how they overcome their challenges and build new alliances.
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