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5 Things to do to grow your business this 2021

Whether you’re starting out or looking to expand your business, here’s what you need to know to ensure you keep your business afloat.

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Small businesses are among the hardest hit as the health crisis continues to cause economic uncertainty in the country. With the country nearing into a year-long lockdown and keeping up with restrictions, small businesses owners have continued to innovate and work through the challenges, venturing their presence onto online platforms. The convenience of learning how to start a business from the confines of your home, and with the help of other business owners willing to lend a helping hand, has created a space for SMEs to flourish during the pandemic. 

Whether you’re starting out or looking to expand your business, here’s what you need to know to ensure you keep your business afloat.

1. Have a business plan backed-up by research

Before achieving a specific goal, one must always have a general plan to follow – even if this happens to change along the way. Create a business plan as it will help guide for short-term and long-term objectives. With this, it is best to map out main goals for the brand and how those goals can be achieved rather than venturing unprepared. 

Glyza Go, owner of Get Celeste jewelry shop, has no business background and had to learn the ins and outs of handling her own company. Aware of the risks in entering the business world, she found her safety net in partnering with Lazada. 

“I have failed a lot of times in handling a small business but it did not stop me, especially when I decided to partner with Lazada. The tools and webinars helped guide me through my business journey. You can learn so much about selling on Lazada, as well as hear many inspiring stories from other business owners on the platform. Their advice is actually something I still use up to this very day.” 

Glyza Go, owner of Get Celeste jewelry shop, has no business background and had to learn the ins and outs of handling her own company.

2. Create a financial plan

Financial planning is one of the most important steps you should take into consideration when prepping for any business. Running a business requires many resources, which is why it’s important to know how much and what you need to invest before you even start. The financial plan serves as a guide to help navigate throughout a business journey; taking note of significant milestones on the path to achieving a profitable growth. This is important as it can serve as safety net for any unforeseen issues and challenges in the long run.

Kiriko’s Koleksiyon owner Jeffrey Ligutom started his businesses out small, signing up on the platform with only five stocks per item listed on his store. His product offerings include mugs and cups, casual wear and formal barongs. “I wanted to test the waters and see how my business would do,” says Jeffrey. 

As his sales grew, he used his earnings as capital to procure more stocks and expand his product offerings. Today, Jeffrey now has well over a hundred stocks per item in his store inventory.

3. Choose the right product that will stand out

With the wide plethora of product assortment currently being sold online, stores on eCommerce platforms need to highlight key differentiating points. Understanding the needs of consumers and the market will drive stronger innovation on products and the overall business. Business owners should do research, create surveys to find out what products sold are unique and tangible, and caters to a specific consumer need and demand.   

Cely Sy, entrepreneur behind food brand Kenkobei, noticed that instant pancit canton and ramen noodles are quite popular with Filipino foodies. 

“Filipinos love the convenience of having instant noodles. It’s a quick and easy fix that’s both yummy and affordable. But Filipinos also consider rice as a main staple and I thought, how could I marry a little bit of these elements together? And from there Kenkobei was born.”

Kenkobei onboarded on the platform last January 2020, offering a vast range of filling ready-to-eat rice meals, conveniently packaged and ready to serve after just adding hot water. They currently offer a variety of flavors such as braised beef, kung pao chicken and more. 

“It was a hit as it brought together two things Filipinos loved – the ease and convenience of having their favorite rice meals on-the-go.”

4. Choose an effective online location

Knowing where your store’s online location will be the next step. Lazada is the leading online eCommerce platform in the country, opening up businesses to millions of users nationwide. Lazada’s technology offers sellers Along with this, they offer fast and reliable shipping couriers to assure your customers that each product is treated with the utmost care from the facilities to your doorstep. 

Lazada has been beneficial for many, for instance.

Adrian Reyes, owner of Moonscape MNL, joined Lazada in 2017. 

For Winnie Wong, CEO of The Everyday: “Being on Lazada made things a lot easier for us – with Lazada helping us with certain aspects such as with logistics and customer service, we can put our focus on other aspects of our businesses such as expanding our product line.”

Meanwhile, Charisma Sun, owner of Coco Factory, also harps on the reliability of Lazada when it comes to assuring her customers’ orders are fulfilled and delivered to their doorsteps. “Failed deliveries are a reality across different platforms, but on Lazada I’m more confident that the order gets to my customers in good condition.”

Charisma Sun, owner of Coco Factory, harps on the reliability of Lazada when it comes to assuring her customers’ orders are fulfilled and delivered to their doorsteps.

5. Consistency and Excellent Customer Service

Being consistent allows businesses to build trust and credibility with consumers and will prove beneficial in the long run when done right. Consistency applies to both the initial business strategy and implementation. There is nothing consumers value more than great customer service – being able to address all concerns and inquiries, and ensuring a seamless end-to-end fulfillment, to provide a memorable and customer experience all throughout. Keeping up with high quality customer service can help retain existing customer base, while also attracting new customers – a key in sustaining business growth.

Due to the pandemic, Glyza was one of the many business owners who decided to enter the world of eCommerce through the Lazada platform. As a one-woman team and with limited resources at hand, she needed an extra helping hand to sell and curate her jewelry pieces.

As Glyza celebrates opening her own humble office last November due to the increase of her Lazada sales, she admits that it has not always been an easy journey for her. “To other sellers looking to go into selling online, do not be afraid to fail! Every time you fail, treat it as a learning process and always give nothing but your best. You may have a few to no orders today, but tomorrow is another day.”

Want to more about growing your business on Lazada? Visit www.lazada.com.ph/sell-on-lazada to know more.

Strategies

Tips to achieve healthy headspaces for a productive workplace

Eastern Communications, one of the premier telecommunications companies in the Philippines, believes that enterprises need to support their employees to help ensure productivity while mitigating the effects of isolation and uncertainty.

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The world’s response to COVID-19 has resulted in the most rapid transformation of the workplace. Working remotely is a challenging setup in the quarantine economy, as employees struggle to balance work and personal life. Moreover, uncertainty and isolation during the pandemic have caused various physical and mental health problems among employees. 

Eastern Communications, one of the premier telecommunications companies in the Philippines, believes that enterprises need to support their employees to help ensure productivity while mitigating the effects of isolation and uncertainty. In a recent webinar entitled “Leap Forward” hosted by Eastern Communications, key opinion leaders gathered to discuss ways on how productivity can be boosted in today’s work from home setup. 

Prioritize employee well-being

Cat Trivino, MindNation Chief Marketing Officer, shared that companies that make the well-being of their employees a top priority not only create a healthier workplace but also produce a happier and more productive workforce.

According to Premier Value Provider’s Employee Mental Health survey in 2020, the highest levels of critical stress (31%), anxiety (47%), and depression (46%) were recorded during May 2020 and this was most prevalent among the younger workforce. 

“Normalize conversations around mental health and overall wellbeing, as well as advocate self-care. Seeking help during this time is important because we get to put to practice that empathy that the world so badly needs, and you need to practice that with your team. Make sure that they feel that openness and that trust to talk about these things,” she added.

A mentally healthy workforce in general will not only improve productivity but also boost employee morale and retention. 

Utilize digital tools for seamless and easy collaboration

Part of helping employees when it comes to their well-being is also giving them convenient yet efficient ways to collaborate while working from home. According to Diana Montes, Eastern Communications’ Strategic Manager, facilitating seamless communication and easy collaboration in the workplace can decrease stress levels.

Based on her experience, integrated tools like cloud-based solutions help in the effectiveness and well-being of a workforce. They also maximize the use of these collaboration apps by staying connected even for non-work-related activities.

“Here at Eastern, we’re quite grateful that even before the pandemic hit, our systems for productivity and collaboration were readily in place. So essentially, we just transferred physical meetings, discussions, and consultations virtually,” she said.

Montes also recommends using a project management tool or planner app to monitor the progress and overall productivity of the entire team on a certain project. Everyone involved has visibility and this way they can prioritize projects that need more assistance.  

“I also receive reports about the amount of time I spend using these collaboration tools and it gives me a notion of when to take on more work or slow down. This helps very much since like I said, sometimes we just lose sight of how much work we’ve already been doing at a particular period,” she added. 

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of developing an overall strategy that puts employees’ well-being first. Through Eastern Communications’ Leap Forward series, businesses are able to learn digital solutions and strategies from experts that will ensure business continuity while supporting the health and morale of the team.

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Strategies

In a negotiation, how tough should your first offer be?

New research shows the first offer can have a significant impact on the eventual outcome, and if you try to drive too hard a bargain, it could backfire.

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Photo by @chromatograph from Unsplash.com

In a negotiation, how tough should your first offer be? New research shows the first offer can have a significant impact on the eventual outcome, and if you try to drive too hard a bargain, it could backfire.

Whether you’re buying a house, a car, or second-hand furniture, it’s likely you will need to negotiate the price, so being able to negotiate effectively could save you significant cash.

Behavioral economist Professor Lionel Page from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) said opening offers in real-world negotiations are sometimes intended to signal the “toughness” of the buyer – but whether this strategy actually works was not known.

“This experiment allowed us to study whether and how the level of the opening offer influences the beliefs of buyers and sellers, their actions and the final bargaining outcome,” said Professor Page.

The researchers conducted the experiment using a bargaining game where players exchanged offers for a split of $10. The aim was to mimic the start of a typical negotiation process.

They found that the success or failure of a negotiation depended not only on the final offer on the table but also on the emerging dynamics of the bargaining process.

“The intermediary offers made during a negotiation can be interpreted as suggesting either kind and compromising intentions, or unkind and uncompromising ones,” said Professor Page.

“And the perception of these intentions can, in turn, influence the final outcome. Low offers are perceived as disrespectful, so players react negatively and can be spiteful in their counter-offers.

“In a substantial number of cases, the responder chose a ‘‘punishing’’ counter-offer that was lower than what he believed was the buyer’s minimum acceptable amount,” he said.

This means it is not the best strategy to always be as tough as possible in a negotiation.

Previously there has been two conflicting views on first offers in negotiations, said Professor Page.

One view is that a low opening offer works as an “anchor” that moves the final offer in the direction of the first offer.

The second is that a more reasonable initial offer achieves a better outcome because it doesn’t sour the atmosphere and endanger the agreement.

Professor Page said their study showed support for both these ideas.

“We found that there is a small window where an offer is lower than an equal split, but not so low that it triggers negative emotions. It was viewed as ‘fair game’ to start the negotiation at this point.”

So in summary to strike a good bargain your opening offer needs to be not too hard, or you risk a spiteful counter-offer, but not too soft either, or you might be taken for a ride.

The study: Driving a hard bargain is a balancing act: how social preferences constrain the negotiation process, by Professor Lionel Page and Dr Yola Engler was recently published in the journal Theory and Decision.

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Strategies

5 Practical ways to keep your finances safer online

Kaspersky’s fresh data for Q2 2021 showed a 60% increase in mobile banking Trojan attacks blocked in the region versus same period last year.

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Photo by Blake Wisz from Unsplash.com

Kaspersky reveals its Q2 2021 mobile threat report for Southeast Asia (SEA) where it has monitored a 60% uptick in the number of attacks using malicious mobile bankers detected and blocked in the region. 

Mobile banking Trojans – or bankers – are used by cybercriminals to steal funds directly from mobile bank accounts. These malicious programs typically look like legitimate financial apps, but when a victim enters their security credentials to try to access their bank account, the attackers gain access to that private information.

Overall, since the beginning of 2021, Kaspersky products have foiled 708 incidents across six countries in SEA. This is already 50% of the total number of mobile bankers blocked in 2020 which was 1,408.

Indonesia and Vietnam logged the most number of incidents during the first half of the year. However, globally, the two countries are not among the top 10 countries affected by this threat. Vietnam is only 27th and Indonesia is 31st as of June this year.

The five countries with the most number of mobile banking Trojan detections in Q2 2021 are Russia, Japan, Turkey, Germany, and France.

*Mobile banking Trojans attacks detected from users of Kaspersky mobile security solutions in the country

While the number of mobile banking Trojan attacks in SEA remains low, 367 incidents from April to June 2021 versus 230 detections during the same period last year, the continuing pandemic continues to force users to start using mobile payment systems.

“We are almost at the second year of the pandemic which has fast tracked the mobile payment adoption in the region at a breakneck speed. During the beginning of this health crisis, our survey already showed that the majority of internet users here have shifted finance-related activities online, like shopping (64%) and banking (47%),” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

The same survey revealed that seven in 10 (69%) are worried about conducting financial transactions online and 42% of the respondents admitted to being afraid about someone accessing their financial details through their devices.

In addition, another Kaspersky report titled “Making Sense of Our Place in the Digital Reputation Economy” discovered that the majority (76%) of 861 respondents from SEA confirmed their intent to keep their money-related data away from the internet. The sentiment is highest among Baby Boomers (85%), followed by Gen X (81%), and Millennials (75%).

“Clearly, there is an awareness about the threats present when we do banking and payment transactions through our mobile phones. But there is still a gap between knowing and acting on it. So to help users from SEA embrace the power of their smartphone and also keep their finances safe, we suggest some practical tips but also encourage everyone to please look into using security solutions as a safety net in case they accidentally clicked a malicious link or downloaded a rogue mobile banking application,” adds Yeo.

Here are some practical tips from Kaspersky which you can do to beef up your money’s safety online:

1. Get a temporary credit card

Cyber criminals have developed incredibly sophisticated techniques and malware that can sometimes thwart your best efforts for safe online shopping. As another level of security for safe online shopping, you can use a temporary credit card to make online purchases, in lieu of your regular credit card. Ask your credit card company if you can be issued a temporary credit card number.

Just remember to avoid using these types of credit cards for any purchases that require auto-renewal or regular payments.

If a temporary credit card is not possible, an alternative is to use a credit card with a low credit limit.

2. Dedicate a computer to online banking and shopping

If you have more than one computer, it may be wise to dedicate one for online banking and shopping only. By avoiding using the computer for any other Internet browsing, downloading, checking email, social networking, and other online activities, you effectively create a ‘clean’ computer that is totally free of computer viruses and any other infections. For added security for safe online shopping, install Google Chrome, with forced HTTPS. This ensures you are visiting only secure websites.

3. Use a dedicated email address

Create an email address that you will use only for online shopping. This will severely limit the amount of spam messages you receive and significantly reduce the risk of opening potentially malicious emails that are disguised as sales promotions or other notifications.

4. Manage and protect your online passwords

Using strong passwords and using a different password for each online account is one of the most important things you can do for safe online shopping. We know it can be difficult to remember so many different passwords, especially when they are composed of numerous letters, numbers, and special characters. But you can use a password manager to aid you in keeping strong passwords for multiple accounts.

5. Use a VPN

If you absolutely must shop online while using public Wi-Fi, first install a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will encrypt all data that is transferred between your computer or mobile device and the VPN server, preventing hackers from hijacking and viewing any sensitive data you input.

In the Philippines, Kaspersky endpoint solutions like Kaspersky Total Security (KTS) that have a password manager and  VPN features is currently included in its 9.9 promos in Shopee and Lazada.  Filipino customers can enjoy up to 50% discount.

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