Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the spine of our economy, making up 98.5% of the business entities in Malaysia. Naturally, when disaster strikes, we are sent into an anxious frenzy, trying to keep up with the inimical onslaught.
Since our current state endured a regression in this pandemic and CMCO has been implemented once again, let’s create a discussion about this challenging time.
During the start of this year, the lockdown sanctioned temporary closure of all non-essential businesses and commenced travel restrictions nationwide.
Within a week, 70% of SMEs suffered a 50% drop in business. These figures are a broad contrast to those conducting business in the digital space, seeing as online shopping increased by 53%; online food delivery by 61%; and online grocery shopping by a whopping 144%.
With people stuck in their homes, the unequivocal solution for SMEs to make money online was digitalisation. Lo and behold the miracle of cyberspace, free of limitations and endlessly reliable.
Embracing Industrial Revolution 4.0
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Malaysian businesses did not embrace digital technologies with open arms as opposed to the government and overall population. Digital adoption by businesses lagged behind the global average—only 29% of them acquired an active online presence and a sparse 5.2% engaged in e-commerce.
SMEs, in particular, were less likely than average organisations to use the internet. They digitalise in fundamental technologies but fall behind as a result of not mobilising more complex digital solutions.
As you can undoubtedly tell, SMEs in Malaysia have a lot of spare room for progression.
Companies are suddenly propelled into an accelerated state of digitalisation, especially in a plight like this.
Although digitalisation was deemed unnecessary and costly due to the small scale of SMEs, they are now lost without it in trying times of this large a scale.
Unbeknownst to most businesses, there are many ways to earn additional streams of income online. Some industries fare better than others on the web.
However, a few steps can easily be taken to ensure that yours is well-equipped in case of any future disruptions.
The internet has taken marketing to a whole new level. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make the inevitable shift. Immersing your SME in digital marketing campaigns enable you to reach a wider audience (even those previously obscured) more efficiently and cost-effectively.
For example, social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram allow companies to promote their brands through digital advertising at flexible prices.
Set up an e-commerce platform
As mentioned, online shopping has increased by a significant sum due to movement restrictions. Consider setting up an e-commerce site for your firm to overcome geographical limitations.
Aside from that, e-commerce lowers the cost of entry for SMEs, giving them a fair footing in the competition against more established firms.
CIMB Bank recently partnered with e-commerce vendor Shopmatic on a quest to help Malaysian SMEs build their businesses online. The initiative provides a platform for SMEs to readily set up e-commerce sites, along with guidance on the obligatory technical proficiency in running an online business.
You can sell a niche product on your e-commerce website and melt your worries about vacant brick-and-mortar counterparts.
But before joining the online retailer craze, you should understand the importance of reliable distribution. Reliability can make or break a business, so be sure to pay attention to proper packaging, shipping and delivery times.
Collect advertising revenue
Another way you can make extra dough from your website is by collecting advertising revenue. After all, advertising is the main cash flow for every influencer.
If you have a content-driven website like a news site or discussion forum, you should leverage internet advertising as much as possible. You can try to seek individual firms to sell advertising space or use online ad placement services.
Offer internet-based services
There are a wide array of services to be offered online, as well as service delivery options that can be employed.
For example, consultant businesses can use their sites as marketing tools to connect with potential clients; while others, like web designers, can take orders and deliver their services all online.
The most sought-after services include web developers, designers and online marketers, which is understandable considering current circumstances. Employers are frantic in their search for developers who can create e-commerce sites, apps or websites. Second in demand are designers who can make videos, logos and spruce up corporate slideshows.
Lastly, firms want online marketers who can helm performance campaigns and manage social media postings and email marketing.
These services tend to yield a substantial income, so if you have a team that’s adequate in these fields, take advantage of it!
Create a subscription business model
For content-driven websites like newspapers and magazines, subscription revenue can help you maintain a steady stream of income. That way, you may also collect advertising revenue at the same time.
Build a skimming business model
Establishing an online marketplace and gathering buyers and sellers has proven to be a profitable online business model—just look at Lazada and Shopee.
Rather than directly selling any products or services, such websites provide sellers and buyers with an opportunity to do business with them. They then skim a percentage off the top of each sale. To battle existing competition, you must develop a unique marketplace that appeases unmet needs.
Online alternatives might be the bane of some traditional businessmen’s existence, but it’s the solution to everyone’s predicament during hard times. It’s no use fighting it. SME digitalisation is the key to long-term sustainability in Malaysia’s progressing digital economy and future success.
Are you struggling to form an online presence or enhance brand awareness? We’re all in this together.
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