The pandemic has sent shock waves to the global economy, Malaysia not excluded, affecting supply-chains worldwide, causing the weakening or closing of businesses and the loss of livelihoods for many. Despite the impacts of Covid-19, many businesses have pivoted to adapt to the new normal, reinventing the way they communicate, build and identify new growth opportunities.
According to a Facebook research report in collaboration with the World Bank and OECD, titled the “State of Small Business”, revealed that 42 percent of Malaysian small and medium businesses (SMBs) have reduced their number of employees as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while 47 percent expressed confidence about future prospects.
The objective of the survey is to amplify the voice of SMBs and assess how their situations are changing and was conducted across 50 countries and regions.
Other key findings include cashflow, which was identified as a primary concern, with 63 percent of SMBs recording lower sales compared to the same period last year, while 58 pecent expect cashflow to be a challenge over the next few months.
Furthermore, Malaysian SMBs made serious efforts to adapt by moving operations online, with 44 percent of operational SMBs on Facebook, of which 64 percent are female-led and 80 percent male-led, reporting 25 percent, or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month.
“We understand that SMBs are and will continue to remain the backbone of Malaysia’s economy, Facebook said. These businesses have always demonstrated resilience and agility, which is further amplified now during the current pandemic.
“Now more than ever, the research shows that Malaysian businesses are finding new ways to thrive in the digital landscape amid these difficult times.”
Tajuddin Tempelicious, a local tempeh business, is one of the many examples of women-led enterprises that have accelerated its digital transformation to remain sustainable and competitive in a post-pandemic era.
As one of the participants of KBS-MDEC’s eUsahawan Young Heroes Programme, founder Noorasliyati Sukiman shared that 80 percent of her orders come from advertising her products on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram and WhatsApp.
“Social media platforms like Facebook have created so many opportunities for many businesses to expand overseas,” Noorasliyati said.
Since she started digitalising her business, she has managed to expand outside of Johor to other ASEAN countries including Singapore and Brunei; and to Europe and the Middle East.
Noorasliyati also shared that she had to expand the capacity of her operations due to the rise in demand for her products with sales increasing by 100 percent. Today, with savvy digital skills she is looking to expand her business to more countries in Asia with the help of 15 agents and 5 employees under her belt.