It has been over a year since COVID-19 affected many not only in Singapore and Malaysia but also many across the world. We at Get’em in Business (GIB) had many clients in global investing and global investment banks that suffered repercussions. No one was immune to its effects. Small businesses were especially hit hard in both Malaysia and Singapore.
Many have lost their lives, loved ones and their businesses due to this global disease outbreak. Its seriousness caused the shutting down of many businesses, loss of employment and salary cuts. This is because the government had to restrict movement as a safety precaution to control the spread of the virus.
Despite COVID-19 affecting many, Get’em in Business (GIB) was able to come up with quick strategies to keep our corporation afloat. While we were prepared with ample reserves and already had a work-from-home workflow system in place, we felt it was important to assist in the revival of the small businesses that had suffered from the impact of the shutdown in both Malaysia and Singapore. After all, small businesses are the engine of local economies.
Seeing the plight of many in our own network and members, GIB decided to reach out and help small business owners in Malaysia and Singapore gain back their clientele and source of incomes.
As CEO Joel McMurphy said, “It is our way of assisting during tough times. We went all out and in full force. We could not stand by and do nothing. So we just used our expertise and our resources and do what we do best: advise, assist and strategize for the benefit of our community.”
Here are a few ways we were able to extend our expertise and resources in order to come to the rescue of these small businesses.
THE GET’EM IN BUSINESS HELPING HANDS CAMPAIGN
As an organisation, we knew many were struggling to make ends meet after the pandemic occurred. One of our strategies was the creation of this programme. The purpose of the GIB Helping Hands campaign was to revive and create opportunities for small businesses to continue operating despite the lockdown and the pandemic. We were able to do this by creating a digital platform where the business owners would be able to interlink their businesses and benefit one another, invest in new opportunities designed according to their needs, as well as make their businesses mobile meaning that even though the entire globe was on lockdown, they were still able to conduct their businesses as usual on this online platform and get income to feed their families as well as improve their businesses and themselves as individuals. GIB managed to onboard a variety of businesses from beauty shops to small delivery companies. These businesses were able to partner and network with each other to deliver products and services and improve the ways to cater to their consumers. For more details on this campaign, read here.
CREATION OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
When we first set up the GIB Helping Hands Campaign, we had the small businesses in mind however, it later dawned on us during our GIB resolve charity campaign, which is also available on our website, that the employees who had lost their jobs were struggling to make ends meet. We opted to create a way for them to launch their own small businesses on the platform as well as provide them with access to the capital they needed for the startup. Many had no previous exposure to getting access to low-interest lending and other microloan opportunities
Not only that, but these individuals were also able to make small global investments using GIB’s platform which helped them pay off their loans faster and thereafter solely focus on their businesses. As the platform is designed specifically to one’s needs, once the individuals had the capital and launched their businesses, the market was made readily available making their work easier and their businesses easily accessible.
After the Movement Control Order was lifted, we were able to move around in both Singapore and Malaysia. Following the safety precaution rules, we set up seminars where the GIB experts would meet small business owners in order to educate them on how to have a successful business and the type of strategies to use fit for their business. We felt that this was important because we wanted to share the ways in which our corporation was able to survive the pandemic and help many. We held our first seminars in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and would then follow up with the business owners thereafter on how the strategies had worked for them. We were also able to help them develop business plans that were solid and educate them on the importance of research.
CREATING AWARENESS AND COMBATING RACISM
When we launched our platform, we made it a point to monitor the activities in order to make it secure for small businesses. During our study, we found that many were only doing business or marketing to their own ‘kind’ ethnicity. We decided to raise this issue and educate them on the importance of building up each other especially as small businesses. There were many who believed in the “China virus” stigma attached to Covid-19. However, after we were done educating them on this issue, many discovered that their businesses would be better off if they partnered with each other and that some of the things they lacked in their businesses were readily available to them if they networked and partnered with others; they just had to change their mindset.
How GIB Assisted Local Businesses
For all of these businesses, the pandemic wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. However, it was an opportunity to pivot their business models, test, and further refine their plans and strategies. Here are four small business owners that found opportunities during these unprecedented times with GIB’s help.
Ang Choi Wen – florist, Singapore
It wasn’t long before I had just moved from Australia back home to Singapore when Covid-19 hit the world. I had just launched my flower shop and three weeks later, I had to shut it down. Stressed and worried, I was living off a few savings while maintaining my garden. A friend of mine then told me about the GIB digital platform and it honestly changed my life. The minute I registered my business on the platform, business began to pick up. I realised that with many stuck at home, people wanted flowers to beautify their spaces whether it was for intimate dinners or anniversary celebrations, or just for fun, and at affordable prices. When I realised I could also partner up with other delivery companies on the platform, it made my work so much easier and for this I am forever grateful to GIB.
Shoo Wan Chai – small grocery shop owner, Malaysia
When Covid-19 hit I was very scared, you know. They allow grocery shops to open but I am very old, so I am scared to get the disease because there is no cure and my immunity system is weak already. My daughter help to register my business and made things easier for me. I partnered up with one delivery company that helps me to transport the goods from home and I am still making money from home. GIB is very good. Quite happy that they brought this service for small businesses you know. Very helpful.
Raj Kumar – aromatherapy shop owner, Malaysia
I really want to say thank you to GIB. We originally catered to the Hindu market who use incense during prayer, but I had to find a way to expand into other markets, so we decided to go into aromatherapy oils and other kinds of incense. When I first put my business online using the GIB platform I found the market quite easily and fast and I was shipping out items by the next day. Most of my customers still buy the incense for prayer but I have some customers who buy some items from my shop for aromatherapy. It’s very beneficial to me because I thought it was the end of my business but actually there is a good market on the platform.
Muhammad Kasim – pet store owner, Singapore
Before the pandemic, business was doing okay. However, after registering my business on the GIB platform during the pandemic, my business was really booming. Because many people were staying at home, many were buying all kinds of pets from my shop, from dogs and cats to fish. My reasoning was that people now had the time to own and take care of pets. That’s why my shop was always busy receiving orders left, right and centre. To be honest with you, my shop was never this successful and when the pandemic hit, I thought things would only get worse from here. But thanks to GIB, business is as good as ever.