Written by John Carlo Tria

That’s the rallying call as we approach the end of the year and are engaging business plans for 2021. With forecasts of a strong rebound next year, the challenge, and opportunity is how to take advantage and “ride up the rebound” by building resilience to address future disruptions and deal with uncertainties. Resilience makes us stronger, to bounce back better.

One interesting news item in the last two weeks reveals vital information that paves the way to resilience is the 2020 Asia Pacific SMB Digital Maturity Study of the International Data Corporation (IDC). Commissioned by Cisco, the study notes that digitalizing small and medium businesses in the Philippines can add $26 to $28 billion to our economy by 2024. (https://mb.com.ph/2020/10/15/cisco-digitalizing-ph-smbs-could-add-p1-36-t-to-economy/)

Small and medium businesses, as the backbone of our local economies being almost 40% of GDP at 99% can deliver more growth if they are digitally resilient in the face of disruptions.

At the enterprise level, this resilience not only protects their business, but encourages expansion in the new normal. Thankfully, openess to engage the digital world is growing. The recent surge in new online business registrations attests to this. Digitalization is happening with the accelerated adoption of tech in their business models, such as marketing, payments, and even operations monitoring of remote employees.

Engaging the digital space is a safe alternative to face to face transactions, and can be engaged even under strict quarantine protocols, and will be among the first to be restored during calamities. This makes it an imperative for resilience. We have seen how BPOs and digital businesses continued to operate even under the toughest restrictions. We should encourage our friends to adopt digital transactions and digital marketing strategies in a safe manner, and patronize their products.

Strengthening countryside businesses through digitalization is a clear imperative for our future growth and resilience. This is especially critical when you look at MSMEs in the countryside, in the Visayas and Mindanao area. When local vismin businesses expand, there is more opportunity for returning residents and OFWs and those who want to transfer from Metro Manila. As I have written before, boosting local manufacturing can also create a good market for MSMEs for them to supply goods and services in a sustained manner, as local manufacturing can go a long way in helping many ancillary businesses thrive.

Cover image by Ian Panelo from Pexels.

Article first appeared in the Manila Bulletin website last October 26, 2020.