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Should Businesses in the Philippines Go Digital?

Question from Richard. As a company that provides SEO services, how do you envision the digital roadmap in the Philippines? What do you think of small and big companies that lack digital presence?

I think that a lot of companies right now are looking to go digital when they have the funds. Because right now a lot of them don’t have the funds for it, or are not prepared to fund their digital because it’s not really cheap. It’s not cheap to build a website, do the SEO right. It could be cheap, but if you do it cheap, you might have to do it again. Cause you did it cheap the first time, you get penalized, you have a lot of wrong things, pangit ang coding, pangit ang design, ang branding mo nasira. So you have all of these wrong things that can go on when you do it cheap.

So companies who are smart will do it right the first time and get the best providers that they can find. I think that that’s going to be the roadmap for the Philippines, that kung kaya na ng mga companies, they have funds for it, the economy is recovering or is getting better, I think that they’re going to go digital, a lot of them. Because we know, we know that the traffic is bad. Even way before the pandemic, we know the traffic is bad and it’s getting worse. And how that gets solved is, don’t waste your life on traffic, just order from e-commerce. And a lot of people right now are used to ordering e-commerce, are used to ordering their groceries online where it’s normal for us. We do our meetings online. Zoom na lang. So we’re used to this now, even post pandemic, we’re still going to be used to a lot of these things. And so going digital is one of the best things that a company can do. One of the wisest things that companies can do.

Small and big companies that lacks digital presence, I think that they’re missing out a lot. They’re leaving money on the table. Sayang. Sayang yung kikitain mo sana if you don’t go digital, because honestly what’s the first thing you pick up in the morning. I don’t think it is your coffee mug. I don’t think it’s your toothbrush. I don’t think people brush their teeth first thing in the morning. I think people check their smartphone, whether sabihin nila, “hindi Sean, tinurn off ko lang yung alarm.” Sure, but you probably check also some notifications there, whether it’s Facebook or email, whatever. Right?

So if the first thing you pick up is your smartphone and the last thing you put down is also your smartphone, what does that tell you about the world today? What does that tell you about human behavior? What does that tell you about your business not being on digital? That’s something very important that you have to think about.

I watched this documentary on Netflix, The Social Dilemma, and one of the venture capitalists there says, “it’s no longer a question of whether you pick up your phone or not. The question is whether you do it before you pee or while you’re peeing in the morning.” So I find that funny, but it’s the truth, right? 

From Jaz. I’m running an online cafe because I don’t have enough capital for an actual shop yet. Last time, you said that the economy needs more SMEs right now. Do you think it’s safe to put up an actual shop in the economic situation right now? Or should I stay online?

Jaz, in my opinion, if you’re in Metro Manila, maybe as a friend, right? This is my advice for you. My advice for you is don’t expose yourself. And if you open a physical cafe, it’s going to be tough because you’re exposing yourself to people who will come and go. You’ll know it’s not worth it to get the virus. It is not worth it. We’ve had, we’ve had friends who passed away. Friends, personal friends. I’ve had personal friends who passed away from COVID and the hospital bills and the burial is just not pretty.

And so this is why we decided SEO Hacker to work from home. We’re not going to ask people to go to the office until this entire thing is over. And when I say over, meaning it’s zero. It’s over. It is not worth it. So as a friend, my advice is you stay online. I also don’t think if you open it up now, that is gonna make as much money or as much revenue as it would given, for example, before the pandemic or when the pandemic is over. So you might be excited about it because it’s a startup, it’s an idea. And you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a visionary, but sometimes waiting is the best thing to do. And in your case, I think if you have something going on for you, in the digital world, having an online cafe, that is something that is good. You can sustain it. More opportunities will open up there. And by waiting, you have capital that you can re-invest somewhere or you can invest it somewhere right now that would make money. And it doesn’t have to be stuck in a physical asset or a physical structure, like a physical cafe. Right?

Next question from Patrick. What do you think about the present situation about COVID-19? Do you think we will have a vaccine at the end of the year?

So I think the present situation about COVID-19 is not that good. Okay. This is just my opinion. I’m not saying this is the truth. This is not data driven. Nag di-disclaimer na ako, wala akong pinaghugutan nitong data na ito na concrete or solid. But based on my gut, based on my gut as an entrepreneur, I think that we will be able to recover from the health issues of COVID by the end of 2021, December. Health ‘yon. Even if there was a vaccine. End of 2021.That’s what I think.

Economically speaking, for our entire nation, I think we can recover or we will see some recovery three years from now. Two to three years, three years safe. So 2023 might be when we finally see that the recession is done. Tapos na ang pagbagsak ng market natin. Ang unemployment rate natin bababa na nang bababa by then. Hindi na siya aangat ulit for a long time. So yeah, I think around three years. Again, this is my opinion. Gut feel. Don’t take my word for it. Don’t chop this video and just put it in the news that that’s my prediction. This is a gut feel. This is my opinion.

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