3 Key Measures for Businesses to Adapt to the Digital Revolution
By now, it’s crystal clear to all: These are unusual times. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unprecedented wave of change to everyday life, and so we must all adapt.
This pressure looms larger for micro, small, and medium businesses, which represent over 99 percent of all businesses in the Philippines, and 63.2 percent of the country's total employment. Many of these businesses depend heavily on cash flow generated by footfall, and so as the country withdrew into quarantine, they were left with no income and growing debt. One can imagine that their damages represent a significant part of our economy's projected P2.5 trillion in losses as a result of the pandemic. The prospects have been dim.
Still, there’s hope. Every crisis is an opportunity for growth, and with the right efforts, businesses can rebuild. Crucially, this means taking many parts of your business online, and using the Internet to your advantage. If you haven’t already built online functionalities for your business, consider this not only an opportunity, but a wake-up call. Consider these steps:
Experimenting with e-commerce.
Even before the pandemic, e-commerce was becoming a fully-realized norm. The Philippines was relatively late to the party, but by 2019, Filipinos had already started to accept e-commerce as a viable means of shopping. If you run a retail business, now could be the perfect time for you to start taking your shop online. And even if you're not in retail, consider if there are logistical matters for which you can tap online delivery platforms: delivering goods to your customers, for instance, or documents to your business partners.
COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, which can spread when money changes hands. If you must maintain a physical point of sale at this time, try exploring PayMaya and GCash as modes of payment. This isn’t only convenient—it also protects your employees and your customers, and readies your business for e-commerce opportunities.
Bringing your back-end online.
Your internal operations can also benefit from the Internet. You can find ways to pay salaries, monitor your inventory, and transact with suppliers without ever having to leave your home. There are many administrative tasks with online solutions, and it’s up to you to find what works best for your business.
Bills payment is certainly one such transaction, and Meralco Online is the perfect tool for it. Through Meralco Online, businesses can view and pay their bills, report brownouts or other concerns, and apply for electric service 24/7, from any device. No need to go to Meralco's business centers for these transactions.
Take it from these three business owners, who are handily adapting to the new normal. Each of them eagerly attests to Meralco Online's positive impact on their business, especially amid our current circumstances:
“We were able to view and pay our billing online," says the owner of Cobbwebb Sari Agri Farm, a poultry farm in Quezon province. "We did not have to depend on the bill messenger.” Even if Meralco was not able to physically deliver bills during the quarantine period, the farm was still able to keep its bills in check.
Ronnie Coching, vice president of the Hap Chan chain of restaurants, enjoyed the same convenience. “It was useful for us to view our bills, and to be able to pay them without having to go to the payment centers,” he says. “These are great features.”
Meanwhile, Gemwood East Trading Corp, a manufacturer of furniture, doors and cabinets, has also benefited from Meralco Online. Owner and managing director Bernabe Ocampo Jr. has used Meralco Online to help streamline his business. "Among Meralco Online’s functionalities, we find the Consumption Report most useful to us,” he says. “We have used it for planning, budgeting, and in coming up with energy-efficient methods of production."
The challenges of our time are certainly great, but we have also never been more prepared to overcome them. Technology has given us powerful digital tools with which businesses can adapt to the fearsome “new normal,” and as a business owner, it’s your job to figure out the best ways to use them.