Episode 64 Transcript

Welcome to Episode 64 of the Business in
Morocco Podcast today we're going to be
talking about how businesses can recover
quickly host coronavirus once the
confinement ends which we hope and pray
happens on May 20th we have five points
to discuss today and the first one is
that every business needs to remember
that the customer is king Ryan what does
that mean to you that the customer is
king well businesses need to recognize
that without customers they have no
reason to exist and so the people who
want your your products and your
services and are willing to give you
money for it you need to respect them
even if you feel like you're the best
around or you have a monopoly things can
change and if you take it for granted or
you treat people poorly now us to come
in and replace you and so businesses
need to be humble in that way and
recognize that those who are offering
them their money need to be treated very
well and this brings to mind like I'm at
a real estate investor and so even in
the investment real estate I see the
people who are renting houses from me as
my customers and so I am offering them a
service which is a house to live in and
they're offering me their money and so I
want to make sure that they're they're
happy and satisfied with the place and
treat them treat them very well because
their rent check pays for my business so
a lot of customers don't have this
mentality and it's it's problematic yeah
I have two examples of this what it
means when you have customers King one
is Amazon in the United States people
may not know this but when when Jeff
Bezos and his leadership team when they
have meetings they always leave one seat
empty in their meetings and it's a
symbol for the customer right
leave the seat empty and so that
everyone in the room is reminded what
would the customer think about what
we're talking about right now and you
know the best example is if you have a
problem with a product they just let you
return it and they don't really ask you
a lot of questions if you say I never
got my product then they reach fund it
or they send you a new one and they
don't really ask a lot of questions now
if if it becomes a pattern of a problem
your keep on returning items or items or
lost or stolen then they will change the
way that they do business with you but
in general they just tend to believe you
that there is a problem they just want
to have the best customer service
possible so Amazon would probably be one
of the best examples in the world for
the customers King constantly trying to
do more for the customer make it a
better experience on the other hand you
have an example that that I'm going
through recently here in Morocco with my
daughter school and as everyone knows
since the confinement all of the schools
have been closed so we as parents have
been acting as the teacher as the
Guardian you know the daycare for the
children so we're taking care of the
kids we're watching them we're teaching
them we're doing all the homework
assignments with them and maybe like
once a week for half an hour they have a
soon call with their teacher so needless
to say the school is not exactly
providing the service that they have
provided and yet the leadership of the
school has decided that they're going to
charge the exact same tuition so I'm the
teacher I'm the school building I'm the
printer and I am the yard duty
watching the children as they play and
yet the school wants me to pay them the
same amount they're not even offering a
gesture like hey in solidarity with you
during this crisis we're going to reduce
the fees by 25
sent for this last trimester I think if
they did that they would have a lot less
complaining but as it stands right now
as far as I know there is a large group
of parents that are not going to pay the
tuition at all and we are in that camp
right now we are not paying the tuition
and we'll see what happens yeah as far
as I'm concerned it's a negotiation for
some reason they think that we are not a
customer and that they can they don't
need to do anything to encourage us to
stay customers yeah they're gonna find
out really quickly whether or not there
their plan is right and if their waiting
list is real I think post confinement
they're gonna find out that all these
people they had on a waiting list they
may just disappear you know yeah
especially when you talk to people that
are hurting financially and so there may
have been people pre lockdown that
thought yeah I want to send my kids here
to school I've got the funds but now
their their income has shifted or
decreased and they're not as likely to
invest so much into their kids education
and they just they just can't so
customers King is important at any time
but the reason why it's so crucial now
is because there's gonna be a shuffling
of market share and coming out of coming
out of this lockdown the businesses who
apply some of the principles we're about
to share have an opportunity to gain
more market share and so those
businesses that kind of just rest back
and think oh yeah they're confident in
their loyalty loyalty of their customers
I think they're gonna be really
surprised you know related to the school
anyone who is thinking about possibly
shifting their kid this is an
opportunity for them to say well forget
it I'm not gonna pay the third trimester
there's only a few weeks left in school
anyway I'll just put my kid into a new
school next year that this would be the
catalyst for them to to switch normally
you have the the cost of but when you
think about the savings you'd have
paying that third trimester it'll cover
that that Rhian scription fear that that
new student fee at the new school so I
think a lot of parents will
the Li and if there are some smart
school administrators out there they
would be doing advertising saying are
you unhappy with your school are you
thinking about a change we're gonna
waive the admissions three for the
September enrollment yeah that's a all
right let's talk so that's number one
the number one step to recovering well
post coronavirus is to remember that the
customers came number two is pivot your
business in terms of products and
services to meet the new economy Ryan do
you have an example of that yeah so you
think about what you have as a business
what are your assets you know what are
the the resources that you have what are
the skills that you have what are the
the knowledge that you have can those
resources be redistributed or redeployed
to offer either a new product or a new
service or a new delivery method can you
shift your business somehow to be
profitable in the shifting market
demands so you know Ryan you've you've
talked about the the masks you've got a
tailor that you're connected to who you
know normally repairs clothing and
produces clothing and now he's producing
masks you know two months ago there was
no market for this but here's a guy who
knows how to work with fabrics he knows
how to sew and there's a brand new
product that's in high demand and it's
probably only temporary eight months
from now he's probably not gonna be
selling a lot of masks but using his
skills using his fabric using his sewing
machine he's able to create a brand new
product and capitalize on this
there is factories in Morocco that are
now producing respirators that were
doing other products before there's I
saw a drone company that adjusted their
their structure so that they could do
sanitizing of public streets you know
they can fly over public areas and and
spray sanitizer
so these businesses are recognizing hey
this is a
new environment what are the resources
that we have how can my skills and
products be kind of redeployed to
capture new opportunities absolutely my
brother actually works for a large
manufacturing company in the United
States and in a matter of weeks they
started producing hand sanitizer which
is sort of amazing transformation
because they were making other liquids
bottled liquids industrial things and
overnight they just started making this
brand new product in mass quantities at
a very high quality specifically for the
target customer of large organizations
like hospitals health centers you know
big companies that want to buy this
stuff and have it at the doors and have
it available for people to maintain
health and you know that's an amazing
transition but they were able to do it
because they're a private company and
they have a lot of good employees so
pivoting to to meet demand in the new
economy I think you're gonna see a lot
more delivery you're gonna see a lot
more online Commerce you're gonna see a
lot more remote work you're not going to
see as many large gatherings
maybe retail space is not going to be as
needed in the future but in terms of
your business you just need to look at
the products and services that you're
offering and talk to customers and try
to meet their needs in new and
innovative ways yeah and we've given a
couple examples but you know it nicely
plays into to our step number three for
recovering during this crisis recovering
from this crisis which is digitized you
may need to pivot into the digital
market if you had a physical store or a
restaurant where you provided your
products or services you need to get
online it's just something you should
already be doing during this confinement
you probably
have anything else to do you should be
creating a website creating social media
footprints and you should be offering
your products or services either online
or you should be doing delivery at home
have you thought it much about this
digitizing yeah I think this has been
something that and all the resources all
the technology has been available for
years and years and years and I think
there's tons of companies and
entrepreneurs who have known
I really should you know that would be
good going but things have been working
things have been good enough and so
people haven't made the leap but this
has definitely provided the incentive
it's like a catalyst for a lot of
visuals to digital they may never go
back so you think about something like a
an educational institution whether it's
an you know language center or a full-on
university they're doing they're trying
to to offer courses via zoom keep their
students learning and paying and you
know this has been something that's been
around forever
but some have been just very slow to
embrace wow they recognize they have to
now when things open up again and we can
meet together and have classes in person
there's going to be a lot of a lot of
people that keep both options available
it's gonna have in-person classes and of
course there's advantages to that but by
also offering online courses they can
open up their their market they can have
people paying customers from all over
the place
Andy if you know if I say well I would
love to take an online class but or
sorry an in-person class but this
semester I'm just too busy I want to do
it on my own time and so I'm gonna just
do it remotely save myself the commute
save myself the time save myself the
hassle I'm willing to trade off the
quality that I would get
or there might be students who do a
combination of in-person and online
classes based on the subject you know
certain subjects require discussion
certain subjects you might need a lot
more help from your teacher and others
you're just basically listening and so
it doesn't make huge difference whether
you're seeing the person talking or just
watching them on a screen so I think
it's gonna be a combination same thing
with gyms you know my wife's gym is
offering classes now over zoom but it's
taken them seven weeks to pull the
trigger on this I haven't heard about
City Club who's the biggest gym in
Morocco offering online courses I
haven't heard anything about it even
though I'm a member there so you know at
what point are they gonna say look we
can't just keep our doors shut
indefinitely we need to offer this
online and then once that's an option
they can have both come in person if you
want or stay home and take an online
class yeah I think one of the things
that has not been fully grasped here in
Morocco is this idea of the inspired
buyer one of the reasons that Amazon is
so successful is because it offers a
customer immediate gratification they go
on Amazon they see a millions and
millions of products they add into a
cart they buy them and they're like okay
two days from now I'm going to get that
but it's like people are inspired in the
moment immediate gratification they make
the purchase and then it's done they
don't think about it anymore for example
I need a new car battery I would love to
just go on a website add it to a card
click it pay for it have it delivered to
my house and not have to deal with it
but places like brick Como and Brico
deco these none of these places offer
any of this and so now they're gonna
lose a sale you know I'm gonna go
locally and find it you know in calling
a store I don't I mean people just don't
like to call stores you know it's
difficult to say where you live and
the localization and so being able to
take advantage of people who are ready
to buy yeah is the future and I'm seeing
these ads on my Instagram feed for like
Marsha Express and super hanuta comm
where why not why can't I go on Mars on
a car for and basically have the same
experience on my phone like all the
products I added in my card I pay and
then I get it delivered like that day or
the next day mm-hmm that experience is
not yet here but it's happening and
smaller entrepreneurs are making it
happen and I think that that's one of
the ways that you're gonna see
digitizing these companies digitized and
and innovates you to meet customer
demand the other one that we have talked
about is is dhaba dock it's being able
to do a virtual medical appointment you
know which is great because I hate going
to the doctor Morocco because I have to
sit in this waiting room for two three
hours which is utterly ridiculous in a
waste of time but if I can have an
appointment at a time I don't have to
leave my house I could talk to the
doctor they can write a prescription and
send it to me digitally and then I go to
the pharmacy if that's what I need or if
I needed to have a follow on a in-person
appointment then great but there's a lot
of time that's wasted going to and from
the doctor sitting in a waiting room
completely inefficient and and that kind
of stuff needs to be out of the economy
you know going forward the type of
inefficiency and waste yet agreed and so
you think about the medical industry
going forward it should be a combination
of in-person and online
this is providing the catalyst and
probably has really occurring dabba doc
and now going forward some people might
say look I know what I've got I just
need a prescription so I'll just use
dabba doc or I'm not that sick I don't
want to risk going in in person to
expose myself to all the other sick
people in the waiting room or I don't
want to waste all my time sitting in the
waiting room but then there'll be other
times where it's like look this can't
really be done online the doctor needs
to touch this feel this really inspect
this or like swab this or whatever then
there's the in-person option so so many
businesses going forward are gonna have
this combination right so if we want to
succeed coming out of coronavirus many
of us need to think how do I offer a
digital version of my product or service
yeah and if you're one of our listeners
you're soon you're thinking well I don't
know in a business like I'm a student or
I'm an employee like how does this apply
to me
well you know I was actually listening
to a podcast the other day and there's a
website called free code camp org and
I'll put this link in the show notes you
can essentially get trained to code for
free now I'm not saying it's easy it's
like two or three thousand hours of
effort to really become a proficient
coder but you can get that for free from
your home on your computer and when you
come out on the other end you will be
able to work for almost any company in
the world from here in Morocco and so we
talked about digitize we're not just
talking about businesses digitizing
their products and services we're
talking about people going from employee
sitting in an office to an independent
contractor or an auto entrepreneur or an
employee who works remotely from their
home on their computer and coding is
going to be needed for a long time so
it's not going anywhere
free code camp dot org we will put it in
the show notes and if you're looking for
a job of the future that is going to be
sustainable that's going to be
profitable and you like computers and
you like building things and you're
interested in software it's definitely
something that you should look into
alright step number four to recovering
well post coronavirus is find new ways
of reaching and engaging customers and
Ryan you you mentioned something an
observation you had on the streets
recently can you talk a little bit about
that regarding advertisement right so
this this parallels well with with
digitized writing now if you've spent
any time in the major cities on the
streets you'll find billboards that are
empty so all this the streets are
covered with these billboard
advertisements but right now most of
them are empty meaning that the monthly
subscription or whatever has expired and
no new company has decided to invest in
putting up a new billboard because there
just isn't the number of eyeballs out
there there aren't enough people on the
streets walking or driving around so in
order to reach customers companies need
to think okay well how do we get their
they've got to go online they've got to
digitize so in the past people might
have noticed a billboard i I've always
questioned the effectiveness of much of
that type of advertising for many many
products but now a lot of businesses are
gonna make the leap with advertising to
create content and to try to target
customers where their attention is which
is on their smartphone so advertising on
the social media platforms and even
Google Google Ads to try to get
customers attention through the internet
that's going to be a huge shift another
thing that's really an undeveloped
market in Morocco is customer
relationship management talked about
this before that there's businesses
large companies that we frequent
regularly and they have no way of
contacting us so the companies have had
a very passive mindset which is kind of
we've got a we've got a brick and mortar
store and we expect customers to come in
to us we have no way of initiating the
interaction with the customer we have no
way of contacting them so you've you've
episode some of the the Brico lodge
stores these are huge multi-million
dollar companies and I've been multiple
times to some of these places and
they've never once asked for my details
they have no way of contacting me
they've never gathered any information
about me in terms of my my email address
or my phone number but also based on the
products I buy companies can learn of
those about me so if I buy if I buy like
a fireplace screen then they know that
I've got a fireplace or if I buy
something for a barbecue or if I buy a
gardening tool they know that I've got
some grass or I have some bushes which
means they can sell me buy something for
a pool they know I've got a pool they
can again sell me related products when
those seasons come up but I've I've
rarely seen this in Morocco and it's an
however I think more companies are now
going to start thinking about this when
they realized whoa customers aren't
coming in the door how do we put the
word out to our customers when we want
to offer a sale how do we let them know
they're gonna start collecting customers
information and initiating the
interactions even a business as small as
a single cafe they have their regular
customers that come every single day but
then they have other customers that come
occasionally and so just collecting
people's phone numbers you could fire
off of what's that message to say hey
we're gonna be showing the the rajah
we'd add match or you know catch the the
next Arsenal match we have a special on
you know these snacks or this appetizer
during the match these kinds of things
just a simple what's that message to get
customers attention coming out of
coronavirus if you had all of those
customers phone numbers you could say
hey we're doing a big welcome back party
offering a sale on on every missus or
hey we're open again
or we're offering delivery now if you
are craving like your favorite coffee
but can't get it call us you know we'll
bring it to your door most cafes have no
way of contacting their customers and I
think coming out of it they'll be
thinking wow that was
mistake we've made we need to rectify
that yeah for sure
we've talked about this in the past the
the importance of owning the customer
information and the relationship and
figuring out a ways to have their their
name their phone number their email
address so that we can have a personal
interaction with them and we've been
accumulating a list for some time now
and as of right now we're just updating
people and letting them know about new
content but one day that list could be
could be valuable in terms of reaching
new customers for some of our products
or services and you know I think you're
completely right about the the billboard
thing I don't know if it's going to come
back as strong as it was but if we got
some entrepreneurs in the audience they
should be thinking what are some new and
innovative ways to use this space you
know the billboards are empty I'll bet
you that if you call these companies
they're willing to talk to somebody has
some new ideas are you an entrepreneur
you want to get in the business of
advertising you got some great ideas
call up these companies and say hey look
I noticed that a lot of your billboards
are empty why don't you try this or why
don't you try supporting this new
customer and then get them up and
running and then you know maybe there'll
be a committed customer for you in the
future I don't have the answers but I do
know I see like you mentioned see an
opportunity you have retail space it's
empty yeah think of something new get
innovative try to reach new people yeah
so step number five to recovering well
from this coronavirus pandemic is cut
your expenses you've got to figure out
what is necessary what is unnecessary
this pandemic is a perfect time to
renegotiate your contracts do you have a
lease you have a rental agreement for
vehicles or equipment or for space
office based retail space then it's a
perfect time to renegotiate because it's
a problem
you're gonna try and stay in business
you need as long a runway as possible
looking for new suppliers there are new
businesses that are coming online right
now and they're offering new products
and services you got to look around now
I know loyalty and relationship is a big
important thing in Morocco but if it
means your business is going to die if
you keep the same suppliers then you
need to do something else and look for
new suppliers in your industry so now
there's definitely companies that
haven't followed that our first advice
which is customer is king and so if
you're a business and you feel like some
of your suppliers haven't been treating
you with the the respect or the
treatment that you deserve then maybe
now's the time to make a switch you look
for new businesses that have cropped up
or others that you knew existent but
maybe now is the chance to switch over
in order to reduce your expenses in
order to survive yeah and if you're a
business and you've had to lay off
people fire people during this pandemic
maybe as you're restarting you don't go
back hiring people full time but you you
try to use independent contractors as
much as possible use auto entrepreneurs
and independent contractors to provide
your products and services instead of
hiring full-time employees right away
nobody knows what's going to happen when
the economy opens how long it's going to
take for activity to resume for the
economy to grow you need to be cautious
you need to reduce your risks and
reducing your expenses is absolutely
vital to staying alive as a business and
taking advantage of opportunities that
come you know in the months ahead yeah I
think business traveled even once it's
open even once the airports and borders
are open again business travel will be
severely reduced because I think tons of
organizations and companies have
realized yes there's value in meeting
face-to-face we're humans we need
interaction there is relationship there
but we can also get a lot of the value
just from meeting online and so do we
need people to all fly to Dubai to
interact face-to-face do we have to have
these conferences in Singapore or in in
Johannesburg or in New York do we really
need to be spending all this money
bringing people together or can we
reduce that can we do shift a lot of
that to online can we meet face to face
only every other time I think business
travel is going to be severely reduced
because people recognize most of the
value can be gleaned from just an online
yeah and that goes right back to you
know pivoting if you are reliant on
business travellers if your business
services business travellers or tourism
you have got to pivot you've got to
change what you're doing because yes our
tour is going to come back to Morocco of
course but it could take a long time you
know my generation has never really
experienced well the last like three
generations had never really experienced
a very very severe down trend
economically since the 1930s you know
2008 was was bad but it really only
lasted you know 18 months or so and and
and the current economic situation is
already worse than it was you know eight
or even after 9/11 so resiliency
durability reduce your expenses reach
new customers offer new products and
services and remember that the customers
are King customers you got to keep them
even if it just means breaking even
you got to offer something to entice new
customers in so that you can take
advantage of those relationships in the
long run

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