By YVONNE KAMBIBEL
JOLLANDA Salitha Mencindimi, 31, from Bogia, Madang, is the managing director of Kool KonXion, a locally-owned Port Moresby-based car dealer specialising in importing new and used cars from Japan for sale.
Her business also provides corporate clients with hire car services and customs clearance.
Mencindimi started her business two years ago, with an initial importation of two vehicles to resell and has grown from one vehicle per month to three and with current demand from corporate clients, the number is expected to increase to between five to 10 vehicles a month.
With the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic having an adverse effect on many small businesses in the country, Mencindimi has digitalised her business thereby improving its ability to stay profitable and cost effective.
“With the digital aspect of the business, the Covid-19 has almost no effect on my business,” she said.
“My team and I communicate with our customers through emails, phone calls, WhatsApp, by word of mouth and Facebook. Facebook is predominantly the point of initial contact with our customers.”
The business under its name KooL KonXion, has a Facebook page containing pictures and testimonies of satisfied customers with over 700 followers.
Digitalising a small business in PNG is financially manageable by its owner and more accessible by both the owner and customers during the pandemic.
The only challenge would be the internet connectivity at times which tends to be slow and disrupt the functions of a business.
“In other countries, everything can be done electronically whereas in PNG, we are still behind.
“Due to that, we have to visit our customers in person when striking a deal while maintaining the ‘new normal’ otherwise, the only time we visit a customer in person is during payments and car deliveries.”
A successful businesswomen who also has a full-time job as a flight attendant with Air Niugini, Mencindimi said her advice to other local business owners was to take one step at a time despite setbacks.
“Too many businesses, large and small, have failed because they stopped caring about their customers and tried to skip processes that are in place just to increase their profits.”
She has seen her business grow in the online space and is appealing to local businesses operating offline to consider going online.
“I don’t have a registered business website but I’ve been using social media for advertising and communication and the only cost involved is the purchase of data to access my business online.”
Her strong emphasis on small business owners is to utilise the internet and social media platforms that are available at the fingertips to promote their businesses and sell their products.
By YVONNE KAMBIBEL