Small businesses around the globe are among the hardest hit as the health crisis continues to cause economic uncertainty in the country. With the country nearing into a year-long lockdown and keeping up with restrictions, small businesses owners have continued to innovate and work through the challenges, venturing their presence onto online platforms. The convenience of learning how to start a business from the confines of your home, and with the help of other business owners willing to lend a helping hand, has created a space for SMEs to flourish during the pandemic. Whether you’re starting out or looking to expand your business, here’s what you need to know to ensure you keep your business afloat:
- Have a business plan backed-up by research
Before achieving a specific goal, one must always have a general plan to follow – even if this happens to change along the way. Create a business plan as it will help guide for short-term and long-term objectives. With this, it is best to map out main goals for the brand and how those goals can be achieved rather than venturing unprepared.
Glyza Go, owner of Get Celeste jewelry shop, has no business background and had to learn the ins and outs of handling her own company. Aware of the risks in entering the business world, she found her safety net in partnering with Lazada.
“I have failed a lot of times in handling a small business but it did not stop me, especially when I decided to partner with Lazada. The tools and webinars helped guide me through my business journey. You can learn so much about selling on Lazada, as well as hear many inspiring stories from other business owners on the platform. Their advice is actually something I still use up to this very day.”
- Create a financial plan
Financial planning is one of the most important steps you should take into consideration when prepping for any business. Running a business requires many resources, which is why it’s important to know how much and what you need to invest before you even start. The financial plan serves as a guide to help navigate throughout a business journey; taking note of significant milestones on the path to achieving a profitable growth. This is important as it can serve as safety net for any unforeseen issues and challenges in the long run.
Kiriko’s Koleksiyon owner Jeffrey Ligutom started his businesses out small, signing up on the platform with only five stocks per item listed on his store. His product offerings include mugs and cups, casual wear and formal barongs. “I wanted to test the waters and see how my business would do,” says Jeffrey.
As his sales grew, he used his earnings as capital to procure more stocks and expand his product offerings. Today, Jeffrey now has well over a hundred stocks per item in his store inventory.
- Choose the right product that will stand out
With the wide plethora of product assortment currently being sold online, stores on eCommerce platforms need to highlight key differentiating points. Understanding the needs of consumers and the market will drive stronger innovation on products and the overall business. Business owners should do research, create surveys to find out what products sold are unique and tangible, and caters to a specific consumer need and demand.
Cely Sy, entrepreneur behind food brand Kenkobei, noticed that instant pancit canton and ramen noodles are quite popular with Filipino foodies.
“Filipinos love the convenience of having instant noodles. It’s a quick and easy fix that’s both yummy and affordable. But Filipinos also consider rice as a main staple and I thought, how could I marry a little bit of these elements together? And from there Kenkobei was born.”
Kenkobei onboarded on the platform last January 2020, offering a vast range of filling ready-to-eat rice meals, conveniently packaged and ready to serve after just adding hot water. They currently offer a variety of flavors such as braised beef, kung pao chicken and more.
“It was a hit as it brought together two things Filipinos loved – the ease and convenience of having their favorite rice meals on-the-go.”
- Choose an effective online location
Knowing where your store’s online location will be the next step. Lazada is the leading online eCommerce platform in the country, opening up businesses to millions of users nationwide. Lazada’s technology offers sellers Along with this, they offer fast and reliable shipping couriers to assure your customers that each product is treated with the utmost care from the facilities to your doorstep.
Adrian Reyes, owner of Moonscape MNL, immediately felt the difference upon joining Lazada in 2017. “Lazada has tools that allow you to manage your product images and view sales reports. Compared to other selling platforms, I can effectively maximize my presence on Lazada to drive even more traffic and sales to my store.”
“Being on Lazada made things a lot easier for us – with Lazada helping us with certain aspects such as with logistics and customer service, we can put our focus on other aspects of our businesses such as expanding our product line,” says Winnie Wong, CEO of The Everyday. The brand is popular for their range of minimalist planners and affordable fragrances.
Charisma Sun, owner of Coco Factory, also harps on the reliability of Lazada when it comes to assuring her customers’ orders are fulfilled and delivered to their doorsteps. “Failed deliveries are a reality across different platforms, but on Lazada I’m more confident that the order gets to my customers in good condition.
- Consistency and Excellent Customer Service
Being consistent allows businesses to build trust and credibility with consumers and will prove beneficial in the long run when done right. Consistency applies to both the initial business strategy and implementation. There is nothing consumers value more than great customer service – being able to address all concerns and inquiries, and ensuring a seamless end-to-end fulfillment, to provide a memorable and customer experience all throughout. Keeping up with high quality customer service can help retain existing customer base, while also attracting new customers – a key in sustaining business growth.
Due to the pandemic, Glyza was one of the many business owners who decided to enter the world of eCommerce through the Lazada platform. As a one-woman team and with limited resources at hand, she needed an extra helping hand to sell and curate her jewelry pieces.
“I am super grateful to be part of the Lazada family. I worked alone back then, uploading, advertising and boosting my products which would always keep me up at night if I’m going to have consistent sales. But now that I have someone to turn to. Lazada saw potential in me and my business and that’s what motivates me to continue growing in this industry.”
As Glyza celebrates opening her own humble office last November due to the increase of her Lazada sales, she admits that it has not always been an easy journey for her. “To other sellers looking to go into selling online, do not be afraid to fail! Every time you fail, treat it as a learning process and always give nothing but your best. You may have a few to no orders today, but tomorrow is another day.”