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Franchise Highlight

2020 has taught SMEs business resiliency

4th January 2021,

THE year 2020 was a rollercoaster year and for many business owners, it was full of hard lessons.

Below are seven small and medium enterprise (SME) leaders who revealed what the year has taught them and their hope for 2021.

Loob Holding Sdn Bhd CEO Bryan Loo

This is a very unique time where our confidence, patience and perseverance were put to the test. It was not easy to go from 200 over store expansions two years earlier, and still able to push for 100 store expansions last year (2020).

Joy, fulfilment, wisdom, mindset change, self-confidence, skill set and love of life; all these take time. We’ve spent eight months searching for all these values and relearn them, said the CEO.

We developed our new vision which is to be the largest drink operator in this region. We are determined to go beyond our bubble tea origin, with our future vision to expand our offerings beyond just bubble tea, into coffee, juice, yogurt and everything that have got to do with drinking experiences.

According to Loo, the group’s goal is also to drive market penetration through physical and virtual store expansion over the next three years and to reach 1,000 stores by the end of 2022.

Marrybrown Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Joshua Liew

“We learned a lot about the adjustments we need to make on a go-forward basis, starting with the remodelling of the systems and also our new restaurant design for the future.

“Despite the pandemic, Marrybrown had successfully opened 25 new restaurants in 2020.

“This is because our team had been able to quickly and successfully adapt to the new normal, efficiently amending and redesigning our restaurants’ structure.

“We are also fortunate that none of our franchise partners closed nor were there any retrenchments made to our team.

“I am also pleased to say that Marrybrown was nominated as the Franchise of the Year 2020 by the government. In the coming year, we have identified 40 new locations to expand our footprints.

“This will be in conjunction with Marrybrown celebrating 40 years of serving ‘something different’ to our ‘memang best’ fans since we first started in 1981,” said Liew.

Adzim Halim of Ninja Van Malaysia

“2020 taught me about business resilience. We operate in a volatile environment and need to be able to embrace changes and adapt quickly in a short period of time.

“Simply put, businesses need to be flexible and act fast.

“We were able to do this by developing new technology to support contactless deliveries, as well as scaling up our resources to ensure that all of the different parts of our company receive the support they need to operate.

“Businesses need to reinvent to keep up with customers — with 2020 being the year of people staying home, everything and everyone are also moving online. “We did this by introducing

Ninja Chat, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered social messaging system, which provides shipping customers with a suite of tools for direct management and monitoring of deliveries and orders, as well as our Live Chat that functions to communicate with our customers in real time,” noted Adzim, the group’s country head.


Anabelle Co-Martinent of La Juiceria Superfoods

According to the founder and MD of the group: “2020 was about ensuring that we learn to adjust to the situation, reviewing what was really needed within the company, reflecting on how we can operate better within the circumstances.

“It’s a humbling year that made us stop and think why we do what we do, and how we can ensure customers keep choosing our brands.

“(We are) grateful for our employees, partners, suppliers, landlords, and most importantly, our customers,” says Co-Martinent.

Gigworks CEO, Founder Glenn Tay

“With remote working on the rise in 2020, we are glad our platform has helped businesses and individuals tide through tough times by providing them with a platform to outsource at cost-effective rates and finding freelance projects as a new means of earning.

“We will continue to work relentlessly to make the idea of freelancing conventional and make remote working happen seamlessly in this new era.

“We hope to see our platform expand to other Asian countries such as Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and the Greater China as part of our milestones set for 2021.

“We aim to grow our community to more than 100,000 members in 2021.

“Being a technological platform, we have planned to adopt AI and machine learning technology to bridge communication between members of different countries, and make use of big data coupled with analytical tools to provide insights for our sellers,” said Tay.

TC Acoustic Sdn Bhd CEO Christian Honegger

“Like almost every business this season, TC Acoustic experienced a drop in business revenues during Covid-19. When Singapore and Malaysia started having lockdowns, it caused a huge hit on our retail revenue.

“At that point in time, we were still heavily reliant on physical retail outlets as sales channels, thus we needed to pivot to online very urgently as consumers started turning to e-commerce to shop,” said Honegger.

TC Acoustic Pte Ltd is the exclusive regional distributor for Sonos, Klipsch, Marshall and Adidas audio products, and has been the leading player in audio distribution since 1966.

“We had to undergo a digital transformation to restructure our operations and marketing activities. Staff from various different departments, such as resident designers and those managing retail sales, had to take on new and unfamiliar roles and responsibilities to drive online sales of our products.

“They had to be redeployed and reskilled to learn how to manoeuvre new online platforms and digital marketing strategies,” the CEO added.

Christy Ng Sdn Bhd founder Christy Ng

“2020 has taught me that change is constant. One needs to be able to pivot, adapt and evolve to remain relevant. My hopes for 2021 are for the world to be Covid-19 free,” expressed the founder.


Source: The Malaysian Reserve

Full Article: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/01/04/2020-has-taught-smes-business-resiliency/

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