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7 Ways for Micro & Small Businesses in Malaysia to Survive & Thrive Through COVID-19

With the extended Movement Control Order (MCO) implemented by the government, many micro or small businesses in Malaysia are trying to sustain their business during this challenging time. Most industries now are finding it difficult to sustain, that some had to lay off their workers or even reduce their salaries. But one should not blame or see COVID-19 as an excuse for a downfall. Instead, businesses regardless big or small should view this as an opportunity.

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Many businesses are limited in terms of operations with the extended MCO. But what if businesses step out and be more creative in delivering their end solutions? Businesses have to think through other ways on how to penetrate the market. From our humble observation, many of the so-called offline businesses have no choice but to go digital.

So, is this Movement Control Order a way or message to businesses to step-up or step-out of their usual business nature? Because in life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital. Don’t make Kodak or Nokia’s mistake and not adapt to the current changes. Here are our takeaways on the ways small businesses can survive and thrive through COVID-19.

1. Stay Updated

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Make sure to stay updated and adhere to the announcements made by the government. Information is easily accessed on all social media platforms. Read the news or alternatively you can follow the Ministry of Health Malaysia’s Telegram channel here.

2. List Down the Possible Challenges You Will Face

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Estimate how this Movement Control Order would impact you. Have discussions with your partners, employees, suppliers, etc. on how you could tackle this situation. You can breakdown the challenges into 4 parts namely sales, workforce, supply chain and profits.

  • Sales: It would be tricky if you do not have a strong online presence during this time. Try to think of how to penetrate your target market via possible online channels.
  • Workforce: Some jobs can be done from home but some are restricted in a way. Discuss with your employees on what they could contribute during this period if their jobs are very much offline based.
  • Supply Chain: Since international shipment is restrictive now its best to source for some local alternatives, if available.
  • Profits: Plan on how you can make at least sufficient profits to cover your operating cost despite the limited resources. It is important to think about budgeting as your employees need to be fed as well.

3. Be Realistic of Your ‘Runway’ & Get Your Finance Sorted

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Work with your team to realistically estimate the potential impact on your revenue during this difficult time. Defer any capital expenditure and cut down operating cost to what is just necessary so you can conserve your cash reserve. With this, you will be able to ascertain how long your business can last with the cash reserve you have. Ideally, your cash reserve is sufficient to cover your business requirement through this period.

If is not sufficient, apply for financing available to micro-entrepreneurs offered by the government so that you have sufficient cash reserve in place for this challenging period.

4. Increase Your Online Presence

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By going online, you will be able to reach out to a larger segment and target audience. The only drawback is that competition is high and you must know the ways on how to properly target your audience for your message to be delivered efficiently in the digital landscape. Have a look at which marketplace best suits your business whether its Shopee, Lazada or Mudah. If you are in F&B business, get on to a platform so that they can help to take care of your marketing and logistics.

If you are not on social media, take the time to set up your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Get your frequent customers to share your posts so that you can leverage on your existing customer base to reach out to new customers. This is the most powerful marketing and guess what, it is free! You can also join relevant Facebook groups to market your products or services.

5. Talk to Your Suppliers

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No doubt, some production might get stuck during this period. Negotiate with your suppliers to see if you can receive sufficient stocks to keep your business running. If not, try looking for other local alternatives.

6. Execute, Reflect & Adjust

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This is an untested time and you are likely doing things that you might not have done before. Learn what works and what does not, and then adjust your strategy accordingly. Also use this opportunity to sit down and reflect on what you have learned during this pandemic and how it has affected your business and what has changed. Was the change for the better? Did it push you to do things that you thought that was impossible? Well, like they always say, if you don’t try you’ll never know.

7. Seek Help

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If your business is in a bad shape and needs financial help, there is nothing shameful about getting a loan to keep your business ongoing and running. However, do seek legal and trusted financial providers. Many online scammers are trying their luck to capture their prey. So be careful! Read our article on signs to know if the loan you are getting is a scam before getting yourself a loan. Check out some financing options offered by the government for micro and small businesses like BIZMULA-I, BIZSME Scheme, Rural Economic Development Scheme (SPED) and more. For more information on other types of financing provided by the government, read here.

We hope that these tips could provide you with some ideas on how to run your business during this challenging period. If you need financing assistance, we at Direct Lending are a personal lending platform which offers personal financing from reputable banks and koperasi with interest rate as low as 3.9% and as fast as 2 working days.

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