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The COVID-19 pandemic has hit both the government and the business world in an unprecedented scale and spread. It has caused multiple closures of businesses, along with factory outputs, manufacturing industries and the redistribution of goods.
In my interview with Mr. Anthony Leuterio for the VirtualPreneur Summit 2020, we invited our real estate expert broker in sharing insights and outlook on the question: “How small and local businesses can better reposition themselves in the era after the COVID 19 quarantine.
The Speaker: Anthony “Boss Ton” Leuterio Jr
Mr. Anthony “Boss Ton” Leuterio is a multi-awarded licensed real estate broker. He is well known as the first E-Pro Realtor in the Philippines. He has also pioneered the extensive use of Digital Marketing in selling real estate properties for over a decade.
Mr. Leuterio also received multiple real estate awards along with certificates from the Disruptive Marketing Strategies from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Sloan School of Management in the U.S and the University of Oxford in U.K.
He is currently the CEO of FilipinoHomes.com, Rent.PH and the likes.
BOSS TON: “We’re Prepared.”
Mr. Leuterio opened up on how he and his team, prepared multiple scenarios that would disrupt his business five years ago. And one of those scenarios was a “possible” pandemic.
“In real estate, or for any business, we really need to be prepared for any disruptions of our operations,” says Leuterio.
The licensed real estate expert mentioned that COVID 19 has indeed reduced their sales. Mainly because selling a house or property needs a physical meeting and not a virtual one.
So about five years ago, Leuterio thought of preparing for the circumstances that could disrupt his business and he had to find solutions for those problems.
Today, his well-prepared team is coping up with the pandemic by having skeleton staff. They also immediately rolled-out a social distancing mechanism for urgent requests and sales.
However, their preparation wasn’t about an epiphany but rather an awareness of the business cycle.
Leuterio asserts, “Your business will never be the same as it was five years ago.”
He further explained bringing up an example that restaurants can’t have the same menus for five years without continuous improvements on taste, decors and offers. The same with transportations and digital designs and styles. They can be disrupted or altered by a lot of factors. One could be a pandemic, it could be a typhoon, or earthquakes or a simple improvement or innovation in technology.
“You must have a plan B. In my real estate business, my plan B was if we can’t sell we divert our focus on the rentals,” said Leuterio. Leuterio is also the technopreneur behind Rent.PH.
He mentioned the importance of looking at alternatives and balance. From rentals to project selling and more.
Constant Training Helps To Be Prepared
“One thing special about Philippines Homes is that we put value in training our people,” says Leuterio.
The multi-awarded real estate agent mentioned that training your people isn’t limited to the physical aspects of the business.
They started off with questions and together they formulate solutions.
What if you don’t have a client? What if your sales are down? Plenty of “what ifs” were thrown to the employees for brain-storming.
Ultimately, Luterio wanted to let his people know what their actions should be and help them take advantage of the changes they’ve encountered.
“If you are not ready for change and believe me your company will never last long.” Leuterio emphasize.
Suggested Action Plans and Strategies for Local Business Owners Affected By COVID-19
Boss Ton also shared his suggested action plan for fellow small businesses and stores that were really affected by the COVID 19 outbreak.
He stated the same things he shared to his friends who are also businessmen who are not in real estate.
The future of business is online. He believes that businesses who won’t go digital doesn’t have any future.
He projected that in the next three years, businesses will be in a platform war. And social media platforms are where customers or consumers usually check reviews, engage and look for questions that they may have for your brand.
Save Your Money
With the recent extension of the Enhance Community Quarantine, your money must be redirected to the crucial departments of your business.
This is an advice to both business owners and employees alike. Regardless of your job, you must have at least three months worth of expenses saved.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much one should have in savings. However, this amount of money is personally something you can quickly access in order to feel comfortable.
Study and Remaster
Although it may be tempting to just binge and watch movie series, it would be worthwhile that entrepreneurs should catch up on learning new skills and strategies specially related to the “new normal” – digital transformation.
Also, this might also be the best time to actually lay out a plan or strategy to anticipate a different circumstance that’ll affect your business in the future.
Build a Network
One secret to success in business is about knowing how to create a network. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have or in the real estate field how many buyers you have. If you don’t have any properties to sell, you can never grow.
Encourage Your Team
Although you have placed the proper team-building strategy. You must never forget to encourage and communicate with your team.
Build a Training Program
After services have resumed during the COVID 19 pandemic, it is time to train your staff. This isn’t just about the recent situation but on how to cope after this pandemic.
There will be some changes to the current strategies and situations your business was in the past and a training program can help your employees face the changes and make it the new norm.
Exercise and De-stress
Lastly, if you really have nothing else to do, just exercise! It is easy to fall into depression and anxiety during the quarantine. This is why exercising and keeping your body and mind in shape is crucial especially once you come back after the quarantine.
My Other Takeaways
Lastly, businesses should be made to help lift others up. Today, should be about helping others and learning from our peers and colleagues best practices and applying those to your business model.
Don’t Forget Your Employees.
Leuterio also advised everyone that this is the time to help others. Most entrepreneurs who became rich tend to forget their employees and top-level management. A time like this should remind entrepreneurs of the people that helped them achieve their goals.
Let’s Lift Each Other.
Businesses will always have ups and downs. All of us are victims and all we need to do is create a new strategy to anticipate the actions we will take for tomorrow. Despite the challenges, it is not a time to blame. It is a time to help and pillar of hope for those in need. (A. Menchavez)