The pandemic has changed the way we do things, including how we do business. With a large shift to e-commerce during the lockdown, e-commerce is expected to grow further as consumers change the way they shop. Businesses that once only sold in-person at brick-and-mortar locations have now ramped up new digital sales channels, enabling them to reach a wider audience. New online businesses, big and small, are being created.

There are some businesses that depend on a physical presence, and these have had to slow down during the pandemic as movement was restricted. The upside of this is that making a comeback is not as complicated as it may seem, given enough time, and the right tools. This is the time for these businesses to reestablish firm footing and also expand their markets.

Reevaluate and expand your offering

As we mentioned earlier, Covid-19 has drastically changed the way we do things. You might be selling products or offering services that are no longer relevant to your customers. To mitigate lost sales, you can either change your product or service, or alter it to suit current demands. For example, a personal tutor could offer online classes or set up a YouTube channel, expanding the offering to an international market. You could also change the way the product or service is marketed.

Communication is an important factor that often helps a business stand out. It’s good to assure your customers that you are aware of their needs and are here to help them.

A good way to find out how to reposition your business is to get feedback from your customers. What would they like to see? How can you better serve them?

For businesses that depend on a physical presence, perhaps it’s time for an update. For small businesses, you can claim up to RM300,000 in renovation costs in your tax returns until 31 December 2022 under Budget 2022.

The pandemic has affected businesses in so many ways, especially their cash flow. If your business is facing cash flow constraints, we can help. RHB Financing (SME) Mobile App allows you to apply for financing with the touch of a button. SMEs can get up to RM1 million in funds for working capital, and all you need to do is submit your application via the app. If there isn’t much you can do to change the product or service itself, you could expand your offering in other areas, such as after-sales support. You could provide longer customer service hours through social media platforms, or create video tutorials and other self-service support tools that customers can access 24 hours a day. These cost very little, but go a long way in ensuring your customers continue to choose you.

Establish an online presence

If you haven’t done this already, it’s crucial that you move your business online. Many businesses now have both an online and physical presence. To save costs, you may consider shifting to a smaller premise while managing your online business.

There are various online shopping platforms that you can use to market your products. If you require warehousing and logistics services, these are provided as well, reducing costs on your end. Social media has become an everyday tool for most people, so this is the best way to reach them. Ensure that your accounts are active by making a post at least once a week to build a following. These can be anything from a simple promotion post, to a short video showcasing your product or service. Your social media accounts can also provide access to online groups that are likely to need what you have to sell. Your online presence is the face of your business.

To connect your online presence to a ready audience, you could join RHB’s #JomSapot initiative, which supports local businesses by providing financial support and promoting them on our platform.

Plan ahead

Your business might have been caught off guard when the pandemic happened, but you’ll be better prepared for the times ahead. While it’s impossible to predict what will happen, you can take a few steps to mitigate any issues in the future.

You can start by assessing your supply chain and making changes to ensure that your future supply will not be interrupted. You can discuss any improvements with your current suppliers and come up with a contingency plan to address any future issues in the supply chain.

Starting a new business

For those that are looking for a new source of income, or would like to be their own boss, why not start your own small business? Match your skillset and experience with the market demand. For example, if you’ve worked in the food and beverage industry, perhaps you could offer to supply the basic goods that F&B businesses require.

Now, businesses are no longer limited to their geographical location. This opens up new opportunities for those looking to start their own business. What’s more, a large capital is not required to start. You will, however, need the right tools to get started. Online businesses require specific financial tools, such as an online banking service that covers all grounds and grows with your business.

RHB Reflex Premium Plus helps you manage the tedious aspects of your financial, sales, accounting, people management and other processes, so you won’t get side-tracked in keeping up with daily business processes. The all-in-one financial management solution is designed to ease and automate your daily operations as well as Accounting & HR-related transactions, so you can focus on growing your business exponentially.

More customers are switching to cashless transactions for convenience and security. DuitNow QR allows you to collect payments from customers via QR code, so you save time. Time is money, after all. Manage your cashiers and outlets, and view DuitNow QR transactions, all via the RHB Reflex Mobile App.

If your business crosses borders, it’s essential to keep abreast of the current exchange rates. With RHB Live FX @ Reflex, you can monitor, book and trade in up to 34 currency pairs, in real time. Hassle-free straight through processing is assured with declared beneficiary capabilities and the flexibility of early take up and settlement. Additionally, no minimum amount required for contract booking which gives your business the freedom to transact at any amount.

Times have changed, and with the change comes the opportunity to start anew. For more information on how RHB can help your business, drop by your nearest RHB branch.

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