After taking time off to do some R&D in 2020, the Serani baker is fired up and ready to take on new challenges.
“When we were hit with the first MCO in March 2020, I saw an opportunity to cater to the daily needs of those who were stuck at home. I started testing different recipes for breads and was thankful those experiments worked out well. Over time, I realised the lockdowns were changing behaviours. People were cooking more and placing importance on eating a balanced and healthy diet. With bread flying off the shelves and many not being able to bake their own, I decided to add a small variety of breads to my repertoire”.
A forward thinker, over the years Fiona has explored topics relating to social media marketing, business, finance, economics and more.
“Running your own business is a steep but rewarding learning curve. When I first started out in 2009, I relied solely on social media and word of mouth. As time went on, my sister coached me on social media marketing strategies which we implemented with great success. Along the way, I picked up valuable skills such as copywriting, photography, and accounting which has helped me build my business in these last 12 years.”
Being a business owner means learning to make decisions fast. With businesses pivoting and digitalising due to Covid-19, Fiona has also had to make the most of a tough situation.
“Covid-19 took the world by surprise. Economically, we will be feeling the effects of the lockdowns for years to come. I believe now is the time for businesses and individuals to start thinking about how the lockdowns have changed behaviours, and what proactive steps we need to take for the next five to ten years.”
She continued, “There have been a lot of things happening in the world. It is almost impossible to keep up with the news. Inflation is becoming a hot topic because of governments bolstering the effects of the lockdowns with stimulus packages.”
Being knowledgeable in certain aspects of her life, Fiona is trying to stay ahead by being proactive in her business. With some insights into the economy and the digital transformation age, she is using this knowledge to steer her business towards success.
“2020 changed my perspective on many things and taught me that the most important thing is to keep trying new ways to tackle life’s problems. The landscape of business is evolving, and everything is already going digital. This is good and convenient, but what we need is to port over brick-and-mortar experiences and values into the digital world.”
“That’s why I’m exploring MORR as a solution. They are a homegrown business that understands the value of humanising the relationship between a business and its clients. What is important to me as a business owner is being able to maintain strong relationships with my clients, and MORR allows me to do this digitally, using rewards. It’s a win-win since my clients get rewarded and also benefit from a personalised feel,” she added.
She believes we will eventually learn to live with the virus and the economic wheel will start moving again. Her immediate concern is whether businesses are ready for what is coming.
“In 2009, not many home bakers were on social media. I would have never taught in 2021, we would all be relying heavily on digital solutions to keep the economy running. What got me seriously thinking about enhancing my client’s experience was their unwavering support during one of the most unpredictable years on record.”
“Once things begin to ease up, we need to ask ourselves how consumer behaviours have changed. Have they been conditioned to buy online, or do they still prefer brick-and-mortar stores? Have clients preferences changed? How can you improve your relationship with them? Do you want to reward your loyal clients? If so, how do you show it?”
She says “To do that, we need to know our business and clients well. If you know your clients, you will build a relationship with them. If you treasure their patronage, you will reward their loyalty. If you love your business, you will give it as much exposure to the world as you can”.
“In 2020, I received a number of repeat orders from international clients who could not return to Malaysia to visit family and friends due to travel restrictions. They wanted their loved ones to feel special and remembered, so I arranged surprise deliveries, and caught the recepients reactions on video for my clients to enjoy. These are the small things that make what I do worthwhile.”
“Going digital bridges the gap between businesses and individuals and it is time we think about the business-to-consumer (B2C) experience. This is what I mean by humanizing the digital aspect of a business”.
Covid-19 pushed us towards a more digitalised world. But how we go about creating new customer experiences will shape the way we do business. With the rise of contactless shopping and digital wallets, businesses are forced to rethink how they operate and execute future endeavours, all while maintaining or elevating the customer experience.