Malaysia is on Day 6 of the 2 weeks mandatory Restricted Movement Order (RMO) imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19, flatten the curve and ultimately be rid of this pandemic. The impact on businesses big and small has not been negligible, we have seen a few companies implementing no-pay off days, laying offs or worse, forced to shut down.
The overall sentiment is that everyone wants to stay open and be doing business as usual but also, there is a lot of fear that maybe the RMO might be extended, thus affecting the overall local economy. What can businesses do to stay afloat, or perhaps, even thrive in this uncertain times?
Locally we have seen a few outfits adapting quickly and with relevance to the needs of their customers, delivery service companies like Foodpanda, Happy Fresh and Bungkusit clearly being at the forefront. The smaller players are out in force as well, Instagram is bursting with small beauty-based companies offering disinfectant sprays and hand sanitisers, and individuals selling fish, meat, chicken and produce that they outsource themselves, right to your doorsteps. In fact, there is a service that can pick up your dirty laundry and deliver the cleaned clothes to you at home.
These are great examples of companies thriving in a crisis, so what can the rest of us practically do to survive and thrive?
Take stock of existing products/services - What products or services do you have to offer? Asses the relevance of your offerings, perhaps some are not going to perform as well as others in this climate. Hold off on these and focus on selling the ones that have a higher probability of doing well.
Review expenses - If the office is not open, could you negotiate a reduced/deferred monthly rent payment with your landlord? Look out for government initiatives on alleviating the financial burden on businesses, the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) for example is offering a RM 600 monthly aid (a maximum period of 6 months) for employees with salary RM 4,000.00 and below (more on that via https://semakanonline.com/bantuan-rm600-perkeso/)
Innovate and Pivot - Your existing products/services are still valuable but with some innovation, they can be the choice option to servicing your customers' needs. An interpreter confined at home can offer remote interpretation, life coaches/therapists could use Zoom and other conferencing technology to reach their clients, and companies can team up to offer packaged products at a better rate. This is the time for collaborating, for thinking bigger and more creatively.
This crisis shall pass. What you do now will determine where your company will be in the coming months, so take action and take charge.