A couple of months ago, we were very excited to announce Full Suite’s new online platform for processing business permits in the Philippines. In essence, the idea was simple: to create a place where freelancers, entrepreneurs and business owners could go through the business registration process with minimal friction, giving them back control of their business.
Some of the main components of this transition were:
- Moving our sales process almost entirely online. This includes having our rates published, the ability to request and send quote through the website, including online payment options and even a bot on Facebook that can answer questions any time of day.
- Documenting and systematizing the entire registration process encompassing all the relevant government agencies and steps that one has to go through in order to come out successful — huffing and puffing — at the end of the day. This would allow us to offer our clients a clear view of where their project stood in the grand scheme of things.
- Enhancing the research experience on our blog. Although we currently receive thousands of visits a month, we know it can be a better resource for people minding their businesses in the Philippines.
It’s taken us about a year to put something in place and I’d say we’re about 50% of the way to our vision.
So what did we learn from all of this?
- Change is an uphill battle. And it takes a while, so be patient (with yourself, especially). Internally, it’s taken us a lot of getting used to new ways of doing things that we imposed on ourselves. But it’s been a great experience cutting out the fat and going back to the basics of our business. Externally, we’ve had to rethink the way we approach everything from our sales process to how we maintain paperwork. It also takes a lot of convincing for people to try out something new. But we know the proof is in the pudding.
- Communication (and feedback) is key. By explaining our process to clients and monitoring their reactions to the updates, we’ve been able to adjust quickly and have seen an improvement in the quantity and quality of inquiries coming in that convert to better sales numbers.
- Documentation and record-keeping are as important as ever. We believe that: “if it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.” Even in this fast-paced world, information can’t stay inside your head. We encourage everyone on the team to document how we do things so that anyone else can learn and execute. It also helps us coordinate better with our dev team at Spectres.Solutions because it’s easier to explain to them what we want to happen.
We know we’ve begun a monumental task of digitizing the business registration process but we really believe in what we’re doing. The reality of setting up a business in the Philippines includes long queues, lots of paperwork, and investigative-type research for anyone who tries to do it themselves so if there’s anything we can do to alleviate the situation, we’re happy to do it.