Digital for growth

  • SME
  • Monday, 28 Oct 2019

Learning from others: Hanis making enquiries at the Avana Commerce booth during the workshop.

WHEN was the last time you booked a stay without Googling about it first?

Realising that today’s customers habitually search online before making their travel plans, Lan’s Homestay founder Ahmad Hanis Ahmad Roselan knew that he had to use digital tools in his business to keep it afloat and position Seri Iskandar as a top tourist spot. At the same time, he was unsure where he could start.

Early this year, the automotive manufacturing degree holder quit his job in the car industry to start this very business to improve his family’s finances and boost the livelihood in the community.

“What started out as a means to generate side income for myself and my family has now turned into a business I’m proud to own. Seri Iskandar is poised to be the next holiday destination for Malaysians and international tourists alike – there’s so much it has to offer, especially food.

“But there’s still a lot for business owners like myself to do, to spur the economy of Seri Iskandar, ” he says, adding that he engages other small business owners in the area to provide meals for the homestay’s guests, as an additional channel to generate income.

Towards a larger vision

Since the start, Hanis adopted digitalisation as part of the business model, using the Internet and digital tools for marketing and administrative work.

Sharing knowledge: Digi Corporate and SME (northern) business division head Tony Tan giving participants some pointers at the MY Digital SME workshop.Sharing knowledge: Digi Corporate and SME (northern) business division head Tony Tan giving participants some pointers at the MY Digital SME workshop.

He soon hit a roadblock in growing the business and helping the community, despite trying different avenues to promote his homestay business, including listing on multiple travel websites, partnering with travel agencies and also setting up social media profiles for the business.

As such, he knew he needed more guidance and support to ensure that he could achieve the goal through digitalisation.

The best way to learn was to get insights and creative perspectives directly from industry experts and players, which was why he joined business transformation workshops such as Digi’s MY Digital SME workshop.

Noting that he was most attracted to Digi’s presentation, as its experts shared the benefits of digital transformation for businesses and where to begin their journey. For instance, he shares that the session highlighted solutions readily available for SMEs to increase productivity and efficiency in terms of communications, productivity tools and cashless payments.

The workshop also focused on the power of digital content, including what digital content influence was all about and experimenting with growing trends such as sponsored video content.

Since attending the workshop, which has helped him review the existing business model and look at the strategies to implement for improvement, Hanis has been exploring ways to create more appealing content for Seri Iskandar, his community and business. For example, he has used his newfound skills to produce content such as Best Places to Eat in Seri Iskandar and Fun Things to Do in Seri Iskandar.

Since he started, Lan’s Homestay has already branched out to Puncak Alam in Selangor. Hanis is now looking to open up more branches for the venture, starting with Ipoh.

MY Digital SME is designed to be a full-day hands-on workshop where business owners and entrepreneurs can expect to create an online presence for their business at the end of the day, achieving the first step in digitalisation.The programme is held in collaboration with SME Corp, Mahir Digital Bersama Google, Avana Facebook Commerce, Rev Asia and Shopee.

“We are very encouraged to witness many of the business owners and entrepreneurs who participated in the MY Digital SME workshop and have kickstarted their digital journey, simply by establishing an online presence for their businesses.

“What this demonstrates is that digital transformation does not have to be a daunting process. It is important to approach things one step at a time and we are proud of these companies that have taken the first step in digitalising their businesses through our workshop. We hope to continue being their trusted digital partner, guiding them in their digital journey, ” says Digi chief business officer Eugene Teh.

About 1,000 local business owners and entrepreneurs have benefited from the workshops held in Ipoh, Perak; Kota Bahru, Kelantan; Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Kuching, Sarawak.

Visit to find out how you can digitalise your business and discover more on Digi’s digital solutions for businesses.

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