Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic late last year, businesses in all industries across to globe slowly begun to feel its impact. With Malaysia being the worst-hit country in Southeast Asia, businesses both large and small are threatened with the option to roll its shutters, bleed to complete bankruptcy or adapt to the digital revolution as the Movement Control Order (MCO) takes place.
As corporations begin to look through their emergency funds, small businesses and Micro-SMEs seem to have the shorter end of the stick. Owners are worried about what the future holds for their establishment, and employees are in the dark about the state of their employment.
While there are a lot of uncertainties for businesses, especially with movement restrictions within the country, there are a few ways that we, as Malaysians, can take to help our favourite local businesses stay afloat! You’ll also notice that in JaGaApp, we often use the phrase #LetsJaGa one another.
This one speaks for itself! Whether it’s your favourite hairstylist and barbershop, a cafe at the corner of your housing area, or a grocery store, the best way to keep these businesses from dying is to continue patronising them!
Now, there are many ways to support these businesses in light of the restricted movement.
If these businesses are selling products, you can either physically visit their stores as long as they are classified under essential services in the gazette, or get them delivered to you via third party delivery companies. A great example is either pre-ordering food from an eatery and picking it up, or utilising food delivery services like GrabFood or FoodPanda to get your food delivered to you. During these few weeks, we’ve seen a number of restaurants exploring the option of takeaways and deliveries, so why not take the night off from cooking and support these local businesses instead?
Whereas for businesses providing services, such as beauty services, child care providers, and spas, you may look into any pre-booking options or gift cards. You can even buy these gift cards for your friends and family! Remember that there will come a time in which these small businesses will reopen after the MCO has been lifted, and pre-booking or buying gift cards can offer these businesses a source of income during this trying time.
This is a great time for us to start looking into supporting our homegrown businesses, be it local markets, kopitiams, or even home and office cleaning services. These local businesses are essential for our economy because they stir growth and innovation to our communities, and they are needing our support now more than ever.
One way to help local businesses get back on their feet is by helping them to regain back the exposure they once had, and the best way is to share them with your friends and family. In fact, word-of-mouth is known to be one of the most effective advertising tools which require minimal effort and costs nothing at all.
Besides personally recommending them to your loved ones verbally, social media is perhaps one of the most popular ways to share recommendations today as well. Whether it’s a take-away meal from a small local restaurant or a product that you’ve gotten from a local supplier via Lazada or Shopee, try uploading a photo on social media and giving them a shoutout!
Another option includes leaving online reviews on the Facebook pages of these local businesses if they have one. Facebook reviews are considered one of the most popular ways for consumers to recommend or review local businesses. A study also suggested that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% actually trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So, if these local businesses are actually offering great products or services, leaving good (and honest!) reviews would be doing them a favour especially during this pandemic!
Another way to further lend a helping hand includes recommending them to list their services on service booking platforms like HeyJaGa. Platforms like HeyJaGa helps local businesses to list their services while exposing them to over 150,000 users and numerous neighbourhoods around Klang Valley.
As part of the #LetsJaGa initiative, the site is designed to empower neighbourhoods by connecting communities to service vendors to offer ease of access to a variety of services such as house cleaning, air-conditioning servicing, curtain cleaning and more. Launched during the MCO period, the platform offers users the option to pre-book these services, which gives these local service vendors a chance to earn income during this difficult time.