AMID the pandemic, we saw several local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) close their doors due to the financial burdens brought by the crisis. Others have opted to let go of some of their employees and close their physical shops to be able to continue to operate and make ends meet.
However, despite the closure, some online micro-enterprises have also started to mushroom. Though mostly food, the owners of these enterprises hope to continue to provide for their families through the business.
With these developments in local businesses in the city, there is a need for us Dabawenyos to give our all-out support to them. Three simple ways we can help our micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is by buying from them, sharing about them, and giving them feedback.
One of the best ways we can support our MSMEs is by buying their products. We know that several local MSMEs have quality products being sold in the market, whether it is food or accessories.
“For me, I can support local businesses by patronizing their products. These days, I have been a suki of different local businesses,” said Jenny Mendoza, SunStar Davao columnist.
Sarah Dayrit, a food blogger, urges customers to avoid haggling.
“If possible, do not haggle and ask for free delivery or free product,” she said.
Customers have to understand that every peso that the MSME receives is being used to improve their products, pay for the employees, and for other operational costs that they need to attend to.
If you are friends with the owner, avoid asking for a discount. Instead, pay them for the full price. They invested thousands of pesos and put a lot of effort into their products, they do deserve to be paid in full.
Without spending a peso, you can still help our local MSMEs by sharing them with others.
“Also, I promote their products and services on Facebook, both in my personal account and page. I have been introducing to them various government services as well which they can avail of,” Mendoza said.
While many MSMEs have access to different social media platforms, it is not easy for some to reach a wide audience. Hence, by sharing their Facebook posts, we can introduce them to more people.
We can let other people know that the MSME we are supporting has new products to offer if we share what they are posting.
It is also great to recommend the products or services MSMEs to friends who may be looking for what they are selling. Through recommendations, these MSMEs may also develop a new network and expand their business.
Since we are on social media most of the time, we also a lot of time to share the new developments of the MSMEs that we love and support. Even with little, we can help them achieve a lot.
Constructive feedback is good for our MSMEs.
“This may be an unpopular idea BUT share feedback to the business. If it’s a bad experience, send a message and suggest how to improve. If it's a great experience, tell your friends about it and encourage them to try,” Dayrit said.
She added that honest feedback will push the MSME to improve their product and services.
“Feedback is critical for the sustainability of a business. If they don't know how to be better, their business will eventually close. Loyal customers are difficult to find unless you have a genuine product. No business has perfected their craft in one try,” Dayrit said.
Entrepreneurs with an open-mind will know how to take advantage of this feedbacks to bring their products and services to the next level. This will also allow them to be more competitive in the market.
However, be reminded that giving constructive feedback is different from bad-mouthing. If there is something we do not like about the product, we have to tell the MSME respectfully and professionally. Sending them hate or lashing at them will not help the MSME.