28 Dec 2020, 14:30 — 7 min read
From a global health pandemic to typhoon after typhoon, 2020 has been a challenging year for all. Many traditional business owners were forced to embrace digitization, while other learned to pivot by creating new products or services.
Despite the unprecedented times, business owners have stepped up to face the challenges and wear their entrepreneurial hat to adapt in the new normal.
We interviewed some of UnionBank GlobalLinker members and asked what they have learned this 2020 as they continue to keep the ball rolling and get their game face on.
Lesson 1: Value the basic
“We learned the value of the basic and true. When all you have is yourself and your family - the next thing you look at is how do we live and how have we been living before the pandemic. And then we appreciate the faith in humanity, the value of the natural resources we have, the value of learning household chores - cooking, baking, DIY, gardening etc., the value of the community - no material wealth can replace the lessons the coronavirus taught us. It is compassion, courage, and faith.”
Emely Bonife, Founder, The Natural Supply Co
Lesson 2: Digitize your business
“During this pandemic, I learned that business can be great again with the help of DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and UnionBank GlobalLinker to an MSME like me. Having an eStore store is a promising way to go through. It’s amazing marketing (for your business) because it is a foolproof way to refrain from direct contact between a merchant and buyers. I also learned that by introducing digital shopping is another safe way of handling cash through bank transfer and through mobile wallet which in a way can be free from transferring virus from one person to another. Thanks to DTI & UnionBank GlobalLinker for giving me a chance to have an online platform and also to all the staff in guiding us to handle our business online.”
Thelma Magno, General Manager, Theletries Cosmetics and Toiletries
Also read: Create your own online store on UnionBank GlobalLinker for free
Lesson 3: Be faithful, passionate, and fearless
"This year, we closed three of our highest income-generating stores. It was painful, but we still have two remaining stores which is something that we are grateful for. This year made me stronger. Business-wise, it taught me to make decisions firmly and faithfully. We sold our car to have additional capital for our business. We fought (for our business to survive) although we have hesitation due to the current situation. What we fought for was worth it. We got into GrabFood, Foodpanda, Poodtrip, something that a small business like us would've never thought of in the pre-pandemic era. We are also able to join DTI's Metro Fiesta. This year truly made me believe in God, that He is truly our provider, our business is sustaining because of His glory and kindness towards us. Let your faith be bigger than your fear."
Raquel Ramos, Owner, Lemonology
Lesson 4: Remain innovative and creative
“We need to be creative and innovative so that we can conquer all unexpected happenings that will come on our business. Learn to collaborate with our government agencies and private institutions. Open up to them about your problems because maybe they can help you. For me, the opportunity that the UnionBank gave me for granting me a loan through Seekap is an expected favor that can help me with my working capital. Thank you to all the staff of UnionBank GlobalLinker for helping me to become an entrepreneur with a purpose.”
Hope Joy Palermo, Owner, Reals Food Products
Lesson 5: Preparation is the key
“2020 has been extremely challenging on all fronts, especially in business and in the psycho-social aspect. This phenomenon is one that we will have to face over time and there will be more. Regardless, ‘preparation’ is really key to the next set of phenomena. The impact of this pandemic to business is far greater than any university learning as it is a university on its own. Heeding the lessons from this ‘university’ is something that we all should not take for granted from hereon. In fact, we all need to exploit the learnings from this pandemic to ensure that our businesses will still be relevant, the employees will be prepared, and the rest of the stakeholders put their hands on deck.”
Louie Villena, General Manager, Cnergy Systems
Lesson 6: You can’t please everyone
“Learn to segment your market to a size and area that you can handle and deliver your best product/service. You will lose all your energy if you will satisfy one customer with little return to your business instead of spending it to your top customers.”
Jason Te Occidental, Owner, Davao Eco Gifts
Lesson 7: Have empathy and compassion
"We applied compassion and empathy to our employees. As much as possible, we did not retrench anyone as we thought about their families. We did not operate for some time but continued to provide free board and lodging since most of our staff were stay-in. We did not ask them to go home anymore because there was no transportation available. When restrictions were reduced, we tried to operate despite limitations and was able to provide opportunities to delivery riders. Thereby continue the payroll of our staff. We also tried to keep our prices as affordable as possible despite the rising cost of raw materials. We received outpouring compassion and empathy from our customers since they appreciated the fact that we went out of our way in order to make our products available. This shared compassion and empathy that went on throughout this pandemic lessened its harsh impact on us and is really what kept us alive."
Nina Abainza, Owner, Chophouse
Lesson 8: Value your employees
"Everyone deserves to grow. Your employees may have shortcomings, but we should never lose heart to believe in them and guide them. I have handled a lot of people already. Some are difficult to handle, but I never give up on managing them. And those who learned from their mistakes and allow themselves to be guided are still with me."
Leonora Magaling, Owner, TLM Yema Buko Pie and Pasalubong Center
Image source: Shutterstock
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
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