Drive or walk around the city and you will find a range of shutdown businesses — from restaurants to retail stores, hotels, and real estate companies.
The list goes on and on.
While some establishments ceased operations, others are not giving up. Instead, they’re testing out new ideas to make sure they stay in business.
Staying afloat during Covid-19 requires new approaches and entails creativity and doing smart decisions in these challenging times.
Some Dabawenyos came up with business ideas to navigate past the challenges and ensure their businesses survive. Their creative response comes in many forms.
Marlon Nino B. Escalicas, licensed broker of MCLE Realty, is exploring different online avenues to push the properties that his group is selling.
Real estate is one of the industries that is significantly hit by the pandemic. Although, the need for buying a house is still there, but a lot of buyers are on a wait-and-see attitude and holding their plans on buying properties.
He saw the need to adopt to effective digital marketing strategies as buyers are already shifting online when shopping for real estate properties
“Thus, we need to maintain a strong online presence and develop creative contents to attract the market. It is a matter of convincing them that real estate is still a stable and less risky investment at the same time boosting their buying mode by presenting good deals from developers and sellers,” he said.
Selling and transacting face-to-face with their clients remain challenging due to the observance of physical distancing and mass gathering guidelines.
“So far, we are getting more inquiries and closings online. It was easier to promote our company and the projects we carry the digital way. Even closing deals are done faster since clients are already open to paying online. Digital is the future of real estate and real estate agents have to imbibe this to survive,” Escalicas said.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought travel to a standstill, causing massive job and revenue losses.
Travel agency and tour operator, Pia Lourdes Partoza-Montano, who owns Par Travel and Tours, adapted business survival scheme during the pandemic such as cutting down on fixed operating expenses like rent, telephone lines, mobile lines, and electricity.
“We had to get a second source of income. In my case, I got a second job teaching Tourism Subjects at a local university,” Montano said.
Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for how people manage their money and set financial goals. Some are saving for a rainy day instead of a holiday.
“The investments we made in the past (example Prulife and Manulife) really helped us a lot during the pandemic. It is really wise to invest because you’ll never know when you would need it,” Montano said.
She added that they moved their office in a different location and updated their clients on their new office and contact details and utilizes Googlemaps and Facebook Page.
“Although the company is still on 30 percent operations, we are open to serve our clients who need our services. We may still be on survival mode but I am hopeful that the industry will start recovery by 2022,” Montano said.
Digital and e-commerce sectors have also boomed amid the Covid-19 crisis.
, owner of Angelgarnet Travel and Tours, is now doing online live selling when her travel agency was temporarily closed since March last year. But she is also generating income from a very small profit from airline bookings as well as from travel insurance issuances, local hotel bookings, and local tours.
“We have to find ways to survive, online business is the latest trend, I only started selling my pre- loved items then my online selling grows bigger. I gain friends and suppliers who consigned their items to me, since I noticed the increased in sales. I venture into another platform of selling using the live selling method,” she said.
Velasco said in the past four months her sales grew. She is now doing two live selling in a week for at least two hours and per live generated income that can help sustain her daily needs.
“Thus, Ruthie’s Ala Mode Fashion was created and is now selling apparels, shoes, bags both brand new and pre loved, items also from generic brands to luxury are sold in my page. Not only that, I also sell goods from Japan, Europe and USA. People sometimes laughed at me as I am also selling ramen, kitchen wares etc. Everything that can be sold actually,” she said.
According to her, doing online business and live selling help her and her son and sustain their bills. She is also offering her service as personal shopper.
“Sometimes shoppers will make a request on a particular product and I source it,” she said.
For Velasco, selling online is very reliable business since most of the people now are hesitant to go the malls but instead buy items online.
“Especially when they trust the seller and the fact that they know the authenticity of the items bought and the convenience of having the items delivered at their door steps,” she said.
Joy Pasia, co-owner of Katsu Country, said the decision not to pause operations was the most challenging as to ensure business continuity amid the pandemic.
Pasia said they widened their distribution system via food apps or delivery services for the restaurant to continue catering the public while following the safety protocols.
It is difficult to know what will happen next. Hence, some small business owners seized the moment to adapt smart ideas and be innovative for their businesses to be viable in this volatile and uncertain times.