“Try ko kaya magtayo ng sarili kong business.”
These were the words that people around the country, along with myself, uttered as they played around with the idea of building their own small business during the pandemic.
As we are in the 7th month of community quarantine brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic, people have done various things in order to keep themselves busy during these unique and very emotional times.
Most people have been working at home since movements outside are being minimized by the government. Some people dedicated themselves to being fit by working out everyday in order to still be healthy, physically and mentally. Some students have worked on recalling lessons throughout their high school lives as they prepared for the college entrance tests (CETs) that were supposed to happen around these times, but have been cancelled and replaced by new processes of admissions. Mostly though, people have decided that during the pandemic, they want to have their own small business.
We have seen the sudden rise of small businesses being established around us. These businesses sell all kinds of products, whether it be food, clothes, or essentials, and they try to do so by selling them at low prices, while still offering quality products, in order to somehow compete with larger and more established stores.
The reason for putting up small business during the pandemic may differ from person to person, though.
As establishments, left and right, closed due to lower income, some were forced to stop operations, while some had no choice but to cut costs and layoff some employees. This resulted to thousands and thousands of individuals being left with no jobs and no source of income to provide for their families. Because of this, they were forced to open their own small business just to have money in their pockets.
Another reason why people opened their small business during the pandemic is that they wanted to do something productive with their lives and be kept busy on something. For me, it was around early June when I decided to open my own small business. It was around this time that I noticed that a lot of my peers were also opening their own business as well, and I thought to myself that I might as well try to do so just for me to have something to do since I am stuck at home anyway, and most of all, to earn and save up money.
Whatever the reason for opening up a business during these times, the process and the experience, however, are more or less the same for every small business.
Here are the simple but not easy steps to start your own small business under the new normal.
1. Identify your products
At first, you need to come up with what product you will sell. For some people, the products they sell are products of their own hardwork during the quarantine. For example, some people may have learned to bake, and because of this, they decided to sell their own baked pastries. Some people decide to sell essentials such as face masks, face shields, alcohols, and other health-related products that are required during these times.
The product that I mainly decided to sell was chilled taho. I came up with this because I was thinking to myself what will give people a sense of normalcy during a time when nothing is really normal anymore. I suddenly remembered the sound of vendors shouting “TAHOOOO” as they pass by our street everyday, and because of this, I came up with the idea of selling it. Eventually, I decided to partner up with my sister and mother in my business as we added more products in our menu.
2. Find suppliers for your product
The next step of the process was making or buying the product itself. This was where buy-and-sell groups in Facebook came in very handy personally because this was where I was able to find a supplier. In buy-and-sell groups, you will be able to see a wide array of products being sold by suppliers at low prices. They are also very much helpful for selling your product, but I’ll get back to that in a while.
3. Market your products through social media
Now, that you already identify and procure the products that you’ll sell, you are now faced with the daunting task of actually selling your products to customers. At the start, you will just sell among your close circles, whether it may be your family, friends, co-workers or classmates. However, if you really want your business to grow, you need to muster up the courage of selling your products to customers outside of your circle.
How you market your small business is very important due to the fact that you are just starting, you need to appeal people that you do not know personally to actually try your product. This is the stage wherein you create a social media account for your business, create visually-pleasing posters, and post them there. Again, buy-and-sell groups are useful in this stage becauhse you can post your products here for people to buy. You can also post in closed Facebook groups that are only for residents in your village.
Personally, the process of building my own small business is a very memorable and satisfying one. Business is the professional field that I want to enter in the future, and the experience that I had was a proper litmus test for me to check how I will be able to fare in the future. Even though it was only on a small scale, I can gladly say that I was able to succeed in this venture, and I do hope that it will translate also into success in the future.
With all these said, dear reader, I hope that you do support small businesses during these trying times. There is no harm in doing so, and you do not know how big of a help you will be for us small business owners.