The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the survival of many micro and small businesses. As entrepreneurs grapple with how to meet shifting demands, reach their customers, manage staffing challenges and secure their finances, the prospects for these businesses seem bleak.
Nevertheless, it is essential they survive. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of emerging economies. In Malaysia for example, SMEs make up 98.5 per cent of all companies spurring the south-east Asian nation’s economic growth.
Across numerous industries, these businesses are struggling. Now, more than ever, they need first-class mentorship programs to learn the tools and skills they need to navigate unprecedented change.
This is where Richworks International comes in.
Studies have shown that people recognize the importance of mentorship, yet only 37 per cent of those surveyed have one. When the pandemic hit, Richworks International invested heavily in a virtual mentoring format, allowing it to support business owners without missing a day of service.
Richworks International, founded by Azizan Osman, established a number of public mentoring programmes to help business owners sustain and transform their operations throughout the pandemic.
Participants in the RichWorks Mentoring Program – 777 SME entrepreneurs from various nations – generated more than AU$533 million in 2020.
Azizan has mentored more than 10,000 enterprises since 2008, drawing 700,000 people to 1,500 live events and seminars. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, Richworks has aided more than 400,000 businesses through free virtual entrepreneurship programmes.
Real success stories
When the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented in Malaysia in March 2020, Muizzuddin, a member of Richworks Titanium Circle group and the founder of Muiz Hot Chicken, a street stall outlet, began focusing on internet marketing.
“While I opted to close my business, I couldn’t help but marvel how other Titanium Circle members managed to double their sales during the MCO time,” he said.
This inspired Muizzuddin to redouble his efforts.
“I began focusing more on my coaching sessions with Azizan and increased my digital marketing efforts,” he explains. “My business grew rapidly in 2021, and in just 18 months I had 85 outlets.”
Another Richworks Mentoring Program acolyte is Nazarul, who pivoted from wedding planning to selling organic agricultural fertilizers in order to keep the company sustainable during the pandemic. In 2020, Nazarul’s company turned over a record AU$503k.
And Laila Alway, another of Azizan’s mentees, increased the sales of her furniture factory by AU$431k as a result of her determination to discover solutions and implement strategies in difficult times.
For many businesses, the future will be both daunting and exciting. Strong coaching on business leadership can help entrepreneurs recover from the pandemic and prepare for 2022.
Richworks has successfully walked SMEs owners through its Mentoring Program, and provided valuable advice on pivoting operations, adapting marketing strategies and making critical decisions about employees.
Through its “Inspire, Educate and Add Value” vision, Richworks’ goal is to become the Netflix of entrepreneurial education by 2025, and help 10,000 entrepreneurs boost their annual turnovers.