Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have emerged as key drivers of economic growth and employment in the Philippines; and while the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has slowed down our economy and put many MSMEs at their most vulnerable, they remain as resilient and agile as ever.
There is no perfect formula when starting a small business. It is a learn-as-you-go process that is why companies like Mekeni Food Corporation are committed to mentoring and helping micro-entrepreneurs cope with the situation.
Mekeni, as one of the leading food manufacturers in Central Luzon, is empowering micro-entrepreneurs through their Mekeni Home2Home Partners Program where it is tapping external distributors to expand the brand’s reach and at the same time, provide income for starting businessmen. Together with Mekeni, these Home2Home (H2H) partners are sharing effective business tips that can guide aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Find your niche
Starting a venture will make you want to do all things at once. However, spreading yourself too thin will make you miss opportunities to capture your target market. Find your niche and focus on it just like what Mekeni H2H Partner Mich did. Affected by the mall closure due to the pandemic, she had to put on hold her business and find other ways to earn a living for her family. “I went to several groceries near my place looking for Mekeni products and I found none. This prompted me to put up an online frozen food store and started selling last June 2020,” she shared. One month in operation and Mich has already five resellers. Finding a unique product has helped her differentiate her business from the competition and allowed her to excel in the market.
- Utilize available resources
Businesses have learned to adapt by utilizing available resources due to the COVID-19 crisis. Mich used her social media accounts to post advertisements which helped her gain more customers. Mekeni, too, has to remain agile and resilient even though they are a big corporation. They immediately launched the Mekeni Home2Home online delivery via Facebook and Viber and later on launched the reseller program. This allowed more Filipinos to own a business in the comfort of their homes with just a small capital.
“We’re seeing a lot of micro and small businesses opening these days and a lot of them are using the Internet to expand their ventures. I believe that being resourceful is important these days. This, as well as offering high-quality products, and putting the customers’ welfare as their priority, will help them succeed,” said Prudencio Garcia, president of Mekeni.
- Be specific with your goals
For Mekeni H2H partner Jocel E-Oy, all she wanted was to own a business so that she can help her family. “Mahirap ang buhay namin sa Davao kaya’t naisipan kong mag-business at sakto tinulungan ako ng Mekeni through Mekeni Home2Home Partners Program (Life is really hard here in Davao that is why I thought of starting my own business. Good thing, Mekeni was able to help me through the Mekeni Home2Home Partner Program),” she shared. Her usual net income is P2,000 per day, which doubled when the pandemic started, or more or less P120,000 if she has sales every day for 30 days.
Through her online business, Jocel shared that she was also able to help her resellers achieve their goals. “Ito na ang naging livelihood nila at nakakatuwa na nakakabili na ulit sila ngayon ng diaper at pang gatas ng anak nila. Kaya nagpapasalamat kami sa Mekeni (This has also become their [resellers] livelihood and I am so glad that they’re able to buy diapers and formula milk for their kids. This is why we are so grateful to Mekeni),” she added.
Having specific goals will help you in getting your business off the ground. These goals should be realistic, quantifiable, and achievable.
- Stay connected to a strong business community
Not only that it will expand your horizons but having a strong business community who will mentor you can greatly contribute to your success. For Mekeni, sharing their experiences with micro-entrepreneurs as well as creating products that are geared towards them can help them weather any storm. “Our Bayani products are meant to help our micro-entrepreneurs. This line of products is priced affordably, which is perfect for entrepreneurs with small capital but looking for quality products. Our Bayani products are also highly profitable as these are street snacks loved by most Filipinos,” said Garcia.
Shiela Alfons, a reseller in Davao, shared that with Mekeni’s wide product range, they were able to expand their business amid during the pandemic and “even served those who temporarily lost their jobs by giving them an alternative source of income.”
With this, their communities are assured that they have a strong support system like Mekeni that will help their business grow.
- Start today
If you really want to succeed in your business, stop making excuses and start today. Do not let it hold you back because you will never know how many lives you are going to change with the product or service that you are going to sell. As Mekeni H2H partner Jocel puts it, “Magsimula na po tayong mag-online selling habang may opportunity. Diskarte lang talaga. Sabayan ng sipag at maraming dasal. (Let’s grab the opportunity and start online selling. You just have to be clever. Accompany it with hardwork and lots of prayers.)
The crisis is challenging the survival of micro-enterprises and limiting their growth. But, with the help of companies such as Mekeni, many micro-entrepreneurs are allowed to get back on their feet and uplift the lives of their loved ones.
If you are interested to be a Mekeni Home2Home Partner, you can send a message through Mekeni’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mekeniph.