Firms thinking outside the box

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 Apr 2020

PETALING JAYA: Companies are putting on their creative hats and changing their business models to stay afloat during the movement control order (MCO), with many going online and some even venturing into new businesses altogether.

Jonathan Tan (not his real name), who runs an events company, said the company was now organising virtual events, instead of holding on-ground events.

“In the past, we have done exhibitions, fairs and outreach programmes. But now we organise these via online platforms where the experience is a little different, ” he said.

He said he was also making plans to delve into sectors that were entirely different from the current industry of his business.

“We are exploring other new business, it may not be for the long term, maybe a stop-gap business that we want to embark on in the interim, ” he said, adding this might mean setting up fruit stalls or operating online food delivery.

“The whole purpose is to generate cash flow so that everyone will get paid. It may not be 100% (of the salaries), but it will be enough so that the company and staff members can continue to sustain themselves and survive, ” he said.

Andrew Neo, who owns a wine shop, is now connected with his customers via social media, instead of relying on walk-ins.

“We have switched our mode from store walk-ins to online delivery, so that we can still maintain our existing customer group. We keep in touch with our customers through social media.

“Now that the customers cannot come to us, we have to reach out to them, ” he said, adding that he closed his shop to discourage people from coming in and browsing for products there.

Hawker and Dealers Association of Jalan Alor secretary Simon Ang also said restaurants along the popular tourist spot were changing their operations to bring in some income during this time.

“Previously, we open at about 4pm and operate until 1am, ” he said.

“But now, we start operating at 11am and close at about 7pm.”

Datuk Bruce Lim, who is involved in the entrepreneurial development scene in the country, said the MCO gave many companies the extra push to go into e-commerce platforms.

He said this was especially true of companies in the food and beverage sector, which have searched for delivery partners to maintain their business during the MCO.

“It’s also a period where a lot of SMEs are looking to collaborate with one another.

“For example, an eatery who sells a hot meal or another who sells desserts may package their products together, ” said the adviser to Growth Malaysia, a movement that seeks to promote the use of technology among entrepreneurs.

He added that the MCO also led some business owners to become innovative, especially when their primary business was impacted.

He cited an example of an entrepreneur who had to close his car detailing workshops but then received positive reception selling a sterilising spray which disinfects the interior of one’s vehicles.

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mco , business , covid-19 , companies


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