Business Pivoting During MCO in Malaysia: Practical Steps to Ensure Business Continuity

Whether we like it or not, life in Malaysia and around the world isn’t going back to where it was before any time soon (if at all). Since the beginning of March 2020, not a day has gone by without COVID-19 dominating discussions in homes and workplaces.

COVID-19 interest spikes in malaysia (source: Google Trends)

While the medical community, governments and NGOs fight a daily battle to contain the pandemic, SMEs and individuals employed in sectors that profit most from physical locations are already feeling the financial pinch of our extended Movement Control Order (MCO).

These include:

  • F&B
  • Retail
  • Events
  • Event spaces
  • Co-working spaces
  • Wedding planners

… the list goes on.

If your business falls into one of these categories, and you’re seeing your sales drop, what options do you have?

Bring Your Business Online

This is probably one of the most obvious things that come to mind. Since e-commerce is classified under essential services, this will be one of the ways your business can continue during the MCO.

As such, we see the interest in buying online increase in the last month:

Buy online trend increasing in malaysia (Source: Google Trends)

F&B, Groceries

The first thing that comes to mind is food delivery – if customers can’t come to you, why not bring your food to customers instead?

While we have the usual suspects like Grab, Foodpanda, these services usually charge a high commission on sales. For businesses that are already seeing their profits slashed due to the MCO, this can further reduce your profits.

Luckily for Malaysians, StoreHub has pushed out Beep Delivery with a minimal 2% service charge. As long as you are on their advanced plan (RM249/month or RM2,490/year), you’ll be able to use their service Beep!

If you want to keep things simple though, you can’t go wrong with a simple Google form and Whatsapp.

Retail (physical products)

If you own a business selling physical products, you can’t find a better time to kickstart your e-commerce business than now.

You can set up a storefront on local marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee, or even set up a branded e-commerce store with Shopify or EasyStore.

If you want to dip your toes in WooCommerce, Webmall offers a generous free tier that gives you pretty much all the features you need to get started!

Events

For people in the physical events space, it’s hard to imagine bringing the event online. However, we are left with little choice now.

Zoom and Google Hangouts are some of the most popular online meeting tools you can use. If you’re looking for a more rounded event experience with networking and event booths, give Hopin a try too!

These platforms aren’t perfect, however. Especially with most businesses going online, do expect lags, and interruptions. Always have a backup!

Education

For schools affected by the lockdown, consider moving your classes online. Here are some tools to help you:

Sell Vouchers for future use

Cash flow is important for every business. If you are in a position where you can’t sell anything at all right now, consider selling vouchers for future use.

#saveourfave is one such initiative where businesses can sell e-vouchers through Fave. From now until 30th April, you’ll be able to sell these vouchers with 0% transaction fees.

Though Fave might be able to help you get your business in front of a larger audience, you can always launch your own e-vouchers. Keep your serials number in an excel sheet as you sell them.

To encourage buyers, consider giving a special discount. This is something Jobbie Nut Butter is offering to its customers.

Other Resources

Here’s a list of software with COVID-19 offers right now. Feel free to explore and see if you find anything that fits your business:

List of SaaS offering COVID-19

Conclusion

Times are changing in a way most of us have never seen before. In fact, things may never go back to where it once was before.

There are no quick and easy fixes. There’s no guarantee that even with changes made to your business, you’ll get your business back to where it was.

Customer behaviour may be permanently changed from this point forward. The question is, will we be ready for it?

Over to you – how has your business been affected by the MCO in Malaysia? Do you have any advice for other businesses?

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Lu Wee here, and I am the pen behind Entrepreneur Campfire. I like diving deep into business trends, review business tools and create in-depth tutorials for people just like you.

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