By Jay Ledesma

Future proofing 

September 16, 2020, 4:24 pm

“IN a time of rapid change, standing still is the most dangerous course of action.” –- Brian Tracy

We are living in a world where changes are happening fast, simultaneous, and constant. The way we live, the way we work, the way we do things, and even the people we deal with and work for have changed over a short period of time.

To ignore these changes is not an option. To thrive, we need to acknowledge, adapt, and adjust to the forces that are reshaping and will continue to reshape the market and our business.

There are 4 major external forces that we need to understand and consider in order to maximize their benefits and future proof our business.

1. Increasing younger population

 More than 50% of the Philippine population is 36 years old and below. They are what we call the Gen Ys (Millennials) and Gen Zs.

The Philippines is considered a sweet spot as our young population will definitely have a positive impact on the economy. Unlike countries with an aging population, we have a more stable pool of workers and a much larger labor force, which can help in the growth of various industries.

They are the future managers, business owners, and decision-makers, the next holder of the purse strings, the next major consumers, the major segment of the market. Therefore, the earlier that we have them as our customers or as business partners, the longer will be our relationship with them, and the better it is for our business.

The question... Is your business already into this market? Is it already set up to cater to the needs and wants of this generation?

2. Growing middle market

Over the last two decades, the proportion of middle-class Filipinos has increased from 28.5% to 40.8%. A family of five is considered middle class if the household earns anywhere between ₱25,000/month and P150,000/month (using 2020 prices, per Albay Representative Joey Salceda).

It has been observed that countries with a large number of the middle class tend to grow faster.  The middle class plays a vital role in the economy because of their investment and consumption behavior. They make large investments in education and health care, and help improve public services.

Even during this pandemic, the middle class continues to drive our economy. They are the front-liners, the start-up online sellers, the owners of the neighborhood convenience store, bakery, hardware store, parlor or pharmacy, the market vendors, etc. While big companies have ceased or scaled down their operations during the hard times, these small and medium scale entrepreneurs, who are mostly middle class, continue to thrive.

This allows them to continue, if not even expand, their purchasing, and spending power. It enables them to provide more jobs thus adding to our pool of middle class. 

The question...Is your product or service top of mind when they think of spending? How do you get a share of that additional peso they are willing to spend?

 3. Accelerating technology advancement

The pandemic not only highlighted the importance but fast-tracked the migration of many to the online platforms. 

Prior to Covid-19, we already saw a number of products, services, and systems that have been automated or digitalized, that required no human interaction or intervention. We have online banking, online selling and shopping, and teleconference. However, while these offer convenience, a number still refused to adopt and preferred the face to face transaction. 

Enter Covid-19, the majority Is now making use of the online platforms. We now do online medical and legal consultation, we attend webinars,  we do staff meetings via zoom or google meet, students are now into online schooling, and we even hear virtual mass celebration.  You can also purchase insurance without needing the physical presence of your advisor. Almost all activities are now done In the digital space. 

And because we have a young population that is practically born in the digital era, we will find more and more products and services pushed in this platform. 

The question...Is your product or service already in the digital platform? How have you maximized the benefits and convenience of this platform to better serve your clients? 

4. Rising awareness of health and wellness

There is no doubt that health and wellness have become a priority for Filipinos. More people are going for healthy food, enrolling in fitness gyms, frequenting wellness spa, and including R&R in their busy schedules. 

Meanwhile, as an essential part of their mission and values, more companies are promoting health and a balanced lifestyle among their employees and the community they serve. My former company even launched a program that not only promotes but rewards clients who observe a healthy lifestyle. 

As Covid-19 is basically a health crisis, it made more and more people appreciate even better the importance of physical fitness and mental wellness. Something that medical experts believe will continue long after the pandemic is gone. 

The question... Is your product or service perceived to be promoting health and wellness? If not yet, what steps have you undertaken to make this happen? 

There’s no escaping these 4 external forces. Whether we like it or not, they are already happening, and rapidly!

If we want to future proof ourselves and our businesses, we better have some serious answers to those questions. We can not do anything. Let’s be mindful that changes will happen whether we are ready or not! 


About the Columnist

Image of Jay Ledesma

Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.