Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute greatly to the development of the country’s economy. In addition to being the foundation of the country’s economy, MSMEs absorbs quite a large number of workers. However, their existence is now threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The declining demand for products has made many MSMEs shut down and lay off their employees.
Reflecting on the crisis, the Rector of President University, Dr. Jony Oktavian Haryanto, revealed that social restriction has made today’s crisis different.
“In the 1998 crisis, the MSME was a savior of our economy. However, now the MSME is being destroyed because business is basically an exchange activity, this exchange activity requires interaction or a crowd. Well, now this crowd is restricted,” said Jony.
Jony, who attended as a speaker of the webinar held by the Management Study Program at the University of Nusa Cendana, East Nusa Tenggara, explained how MSMEs can survive in the midst of this crisis.
“MSMEs are required for shifting. Online is the future business. Whether you like it or not, we have to shift from offline to online transaction patterns,” Jony said.
Observing several studies and statistical data reports, Jony said that several MSME sectors experienced an increasing sales during the pandemic, namely basic daily needs products, herbal or instant foods & beverages, health products, and most recently outdoor & indoor products, games, and sports equipment.
The shifting behavior of people that prioritize online shopping must be followed by the adaptation of MSME actors who go into the online market. Jony revealed several things that need to be highlighted in carrying out this online business. The first is the optimization of social media.
“With online business, our market is unlimited,” Jony said. Furthermore, product catalogs become important, as a source of information on products sold. Jony also mentioned that the potential of collaboration needs to be considered to develop a business.
He said selling online requires consistent communication, regardless of the platform that is being used. Whether it is through advertising or other creative posts. There is no doubt that online business requires special attention, therefore, it might require a special team to manage online sales.
In the new normal era, digitalization is the main solution to increase productivity and sales. From this pandemic, MSME players learn to have an exploration mindset and agility to find new opportunities in the midst of a crisis.