It is necessary to specify an action plan and start making decisions to face this scenario (even with a pessimistic vision).
8 min read
The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.
The world is experiencing an unprecedented event with the Covid-19 outbreak , which has set off all the alarms to avoid a cataclysm in the health systems of each country, seeking to reduce the number of infections but, above all, the number of deaths . However, although the health emergency has not yet passed, it already hints at the great economic problem it will cause.
Impact Hub is a global organization from which initiatives are promoted for the social and economic development of the cities and countries where we are located: we are the living example of an organization that thinks global and acts local. Thanks to the global operation and constant communication between the same network of hubs, at Impact Hub Mexico City we have been able to see first hand the challenges that have arisen as a result of this coronavirus in other countries ranging from the closure of operations by law , even cases of infected employees. In the same way, we have been able to know the actions that have been designed and that methods are being applied to mitigate the negative impact that this situation will have on businesses, social organizations and even in entire cities.
In comparison to this global perspective, in Mexico the magnitude of the problem is not yet understood, and above all the challenges that we are going to have to face. The government has said little about how they intend to support entrepreneurs, freelancers or SMEs to overcome this situation and except for some organizations and associations that have submitted proposals, there is no clarity about what we can expect.
The truth is that businesses are already beginning to feel the impact.
Given this situation, the case of Mexico is particularly delicate considering the poor economic performance it has had in the last 18 months, with little investment, both foreign, private and public, as well as the low current value of oil and the fall in the peso. If we add to this the pause in productivity and economic activity that we will have due to the momentary closure of operations, low or no production (either due to logistical delays in the world or due to sanitary measures), as well as the closing of borders that will stop trade with the main partners of our country, the short-term outlook does not look good.
That is why it is necessary to specify an action plan and start making decisions to face this scenario, especially with a pessimistic vision.
Although it seems that the economic dynamics are stopped by restrictions and the “healthy distance”, the reality is that economic activities will happen in another context: the digital one .
It is time for entrepreneurs, freelancers and SMEs to start taking advantage of the digital market and thus be able to continue offering their services and products to avoid falling into an economic slump from which they cannot escape. The real challenge is to be able to think about how you can offer your products and services digitally.
For this I share some ideas and models that can be used.
To sell online you don't need your own system, not even a web page. The main social networks like Facebook and Instagram provide solutions for online sales. In the same way you can take advantage of platforms such as Mercado Libre or Amazon to sell your products. Finally, if you want to have an online “store” I recommend you use Kichink or Shopify which are comprehensive solutions. The objective should be to be able to offer your products online, which should give you a greater audience. You can try on all platforms, although the difficult part will be managing multiple channels for it.
Now that people are not supposed to go out, it is necessary to be able to ensure that your products reach your customers. You do not need to sell online in order to make home deliveries, but shipping is usually expected to be considered in any online purchase but not always in more “traditional” businesses. There are several shipping services that are designed for small operations that you can take advantage of, among which are iVoy , Dostavista or Rappi . Or if you have restaurants there are services like Uber Eats . We will certainly see an increase in shipping activity and online transactions in the coming weeks, and you can take advantage of it.
Now if your business is services and you find it difficult to set up an online store, a model that you can try is the generation of digital content. In this model you can generate income either because people see or use your content or for the advertising you can generate. Today you can sell from photos and sounds through pages such as Shutterstock or Capptu , to complete online courses. You don't have to have your own page, you can use services like Crehana or Domestika to offer your digital content and receive income every time someone sees it.
But another way to generate income with digital content is advertising. The platform par excellence for this is YouTube , which if you have enough views of the video the same platform pays you. The same thing happens if you have a good community in social networks, you can start charging advertising by sharing content from some brands or companies.
Subscriptions ( boxes )
Have you thought about selling your products as a subscription? This is a model that is very popular in the United States, in which beauty products, personal care items, clothing or any other type of product are sold monthly packaged. For this you must think how to “package” your product or service and sell it with a membership that ensures an income every month. This also helps you to better plan your inventories.
This is the best-known digital model: you offer a part of your digital content for free, but if they want something more specialized or personalized then they have to pay for premium access. For example, if you are a lawyer, you can provide free 30-minute online advice, but if they already require a service, generate contracts, professional opinions, etc. then you charge them premium fees.
The challenge before the Covid-19 is to be able to understand how we adapt our businesses to the dynamics that are forced on our clients, that is, isolation, understanding that their only “contact” will be through digital means and tools.
If we want to overcome the crisis that is coming, it is necessary to start making these decisions that have been postponed for many years: it is time to digitize our businesses in an accelerated way.
Remember that perfection is the enemy of execution, so it is important that if there is a window of opportunity, take advantage of it. Don't wait for a great platform or a whole range of service, start promoting your products and services digitally and learn as you go along.
The important thing is not to stay still, not to stop, not to pause until the situation passes. We must be proactive and above all resilient in the face of the situation, but above all understand that the world changed a few weeks ago and it is necessary that our businesses change as well.