‘Bayanihan’ alive in community of small entrepreneurs
It began with an infrastructure—a Viber group that allowed over 100 acropolis homeowners to communicate about things of interest to the community. Eventually, homeowners started asking each other for referrals in that online community, leading to the offering and sharing of businesses among homeowners themselves.
Thus was the start of the acropolis marketplace.
Following the imposition of a community quarantine in Luzon, entrepreneurship in the acropolis marketplace became even more active.
I then observed seven interrelated marketing approaches:
1. Opportunity – Most sellers found their own unique white space as there was hardly any duplication of offerings.
2. Products – Most of the enterprising homeowners distributed essential products, foods that are easily consumed—fruits, vegetables, eggs, dimsum, and the like—all good quality at that.
3. App prebooking – The sellers post either a photo, a description, sometimes a short video, then ask anyone interested to order ahead. This not only lessens the risk of spoilage, it also enables the sellers to adjust their orders from their own suppliers before the items arrive.
4. Pick up – The pickup system requires less logistics for delivery. It also allows entrepreneurs who do not drive to be less reliant on additional manpower.
5. Cash – Terms are cash on pickup, and this lessens the burden of having enough capital and cash flow.
6. Order listing – This requires the names of the buyer, together with the quantity ordered, to be posted on the app one after another in a new thread. This “tangibility effect” has more unintended benefits—it actually enables people to see who already ordered and at what quantity, and the longer the thread, the more likely more people may want to order.
7. Recipe sharing – As part of customer bonding, members share recipes so there are always new ways to serve raw ingredients sold.
Indeed, our community is very fortunate to have this ecosystem going.
It felt good as well for our family to be able to support small entrepreneurs, which account for 99 percent of the Philippine economy, during this critical period.
We also felt more assured that the quality is better and inspected by neighbors before products are given to us, as the stakes selling to neighbors are somewhat different than selling to strangers.
And these enterprising homeowners have big hearts, too. Together with fellow homeowners, many of them volunteered to take turns to provide free meals to the guards, maintenance people and staff working inside the subdivision when the lockdown happened, and the community provided these front-liners with housing accommodations at the clubhouse.
Others donated money to provide extra funds for the families of the former, as well as to the poor people living nearby, courtesy of Christ The King Church, with homeowners helping others as much as they can with resources, or simply with information. —CONTRIBUTED
Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. Follow him in www.josiahgo.com