Exploring ways to stay afloat

Wan Shuhada has temporarily switched to online trading as her staff members work from home to help do the product marketing.

BUSINESSES ordered to close during the lockdown must either find ways to make ends meet or simply tough it out.

Spa and beauty salon owner Wan Shuhada Wan Ali, 44, said she is now trading online in the name of survival with help from her staff.

“I have four staff members and one of them lives in Kedah.

“They are younger and more tech-savvy and their skills in social media can be put to good use.

“Instead of just waiting for the lockdown to be lifted, we decided to now try and sell haircare products online,” she said.

Wan Shuhada said she was contemplating to reduce the salaries of her staff while rewarding them with a share of the profits from their online sales efforts.

“The situation now is uncertain and they have been understanding.

“We may have to cut their salaries, but they will earn commissions from selling products online instead.

“They help with getting the orders and I’ll ship those products from my store in Bayan Lepas, Penang,” she said in an interview.

Leanne doing pedicure for a customer before the MCO started.Leanne doing pedicure for a customer before the MCO started.

Wan Shuhada, who started her business in 2009, said ever since the movement control order was enforced, her business was adversely affected and it was not the first time she thought of moving into e-commerce.

To make things harder, her spa and beauty salon is located in the suburb of the southwest district.

“When inter-district travel is disallowed, I get very few customers because most of my regulars are from other districts,” she said.

Manicurist Leanne Tan, 35, said she still spends about RM2,000 monthly to upkeep her place although she is not allowed to open her studio now.

“I still have bills, subscriptions and equipment to finance. Fortunately, I do not hire staff and work alone.

“Hopefully I can reopen soon and recover the losses.

“As my customers come on appointment basis, I can avoid the unnecessary crowding at my place.

“I believe I can do my best to follow the required standard operating procedure,” she said.

Food court trader William Tan, 36, said although his business was allowed to open, he still suffered a 40% drop in sales with shorter operating hours.

“My staff members agreed to a cut in salary for two hours daily, while my business suffers losses because the working crowd can’t make it in time to pack dinner.

“Fortunately, five of my staff members have been supportive of the additional operational tasks and help me promote the food.

“With the shorter working hours, I have told them to go home earlier,” said Tan.

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