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Product Marketing Amidst Covid-19

Marketing Strategies In The “New Normal”

Recently, I attended the TechInAsia PDC ‘20 virtual Product Development Conference.  This four-day virtual conference took place on July 1-2nd (Indonesia Series) and the 8-9th (Regional Series) via Asia/Singapore timezone.  The event focused on “How to build, scale, and pivot your product amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.   

There were three webinars I want to share with everyone that I believe applies to travel, tech, and product development.  These key takeaways are useful for startups and small businesses as we adapt to the current economy.  

Related Article: Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

The first webinar is from AirAsia who post Covid-19 was known as a low-cost airline offering domestic and international flights.        

AirAsia’s Tech Pivot

AirAsia is the largest international airline in China and Indonesia, they have over 275 aircraft in 8 airlines and provide over 11,000 flights every week.  They offer more than 17+ products on their platform that include flights, hotels, and travel insurance.  Their vision is to become the one-stop-shop for consumers to be able to fly, stay, eat, shop, and chat all on one platform.

Consumers Purchase More 

  • Personal Hygiene
  • Health Nutrition 
  • Home Cleaning

Consumers Purchase Less

  • Alcohol and Beverages
  • Meat/Seafood
  • Luxury Items

Products they launch immediately after lockdown orders went into place where OurFresh and OurFood.  Using their airline they pivoted from cargo to parcel services.  Their product OurFresh focused on offering fresh produce using the B2C and B2B (OURFARM) business model.  While OurFood focused on food delivery services.      

Key Takeaways

  • 65% of Travelers Expect to Travel International Much Less
  • Travel Decrease Expected for the Next Year
  • Consumers Looking to Local Government for Safety and Efficiency 

To learn more about AirAsia products and services visit

If you’ve asked yourself how are companies who sole business depended on travel prepandemic then you will want to read about the next two informational sessions.

RedDoorz ~ Managing A Travel Product

RedDoorz is a tech-enabled hotel brand that focuses on budget-friendly hotels across Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, and Vietnam. 

Some of the key travel trends that have been impacted by the pandemic are meetings have been re-invented, and new or substitute destinations are being chosen.   

Their focus is to reimagine the customer and guest experience and to increase the variety of consumer interactions.

Key Takeaways (priorities shifted)

  • Comfort – Cleanliness
  • Non-contact Alternatives
  • Flexible Policies (check-in/out, loyalty programs, and cancelation)

Their focus in the future will aim towards going beyond short stay booking to longer hotel visits.  In addition, they plan on offering built-in video conferencing features, thermal scanners, and end-to-end contactless check-in.  

To learn more about RedDoorz products and services visit RedDoorz.

Grab’s Best Practices ~ Product Marketing 

Grab is a technology-based company located in Singapore that offers ride-hailing transport services, food delivery, and payment services. 

What they’ve noticed is that human mobility has lessened from January to April of this year.  The businesses that got hit the hardest were businesses that depended on foot traffic.

People turned to online shopping and delivery for their needs.  How they responded:

  • Partnered with New Merchants (hospitals, drivers, local community)
  • Hired New Drivers 
  • 100 Initiatives Launched in the First 2 Months of Pandemic 

Some of the ways that they transformed their products were from reading headlines.  A lot of healthcare workers were frustrated because of the response from taxis, and people’s fear in the community.  Grab learned about this frustration and used it to launch GrabCare.

GrabCare Product Development

Within one week they launched ride opportunities for frontline hospital workers to get to and from work.  They reached out to local hospitals, and created healthcare signup and partnered with local drivers.  Their belief that every opportunity stems from a need or gain helped them pivot their business to innovate new products/services during the pandemic.  Since their initial launch back in February they’ve expanded their medical partnerships in Singapore, Jakarta, and Manila.

GrabMart (Pivot Service)

As part of their reprioritizing efforts, they noticed shopping online increased significantly after people started staying at home.  Before the pandemic, their mart service on their mobile app offered on-demand convenience shopping.  This essentially allowed customers to purchase items from a mart and have it delivered to your doorstep.  After the pandemic, they changed their focus to deliver anything within 30 minutes.  

Related Article: E-commerce Tips

Their focus on their customer needs and keeping their workers safe created new health and hygiene guidelines and allowed them to expand a service they were already offering.    

Key Takeaways

  • Encourage everyone who is a part of your team to come up with ideas
  • Use products already launched or can pivot easily without writing new code
  • Throw out the rule book and focus on customers needs
  • Don’t have it all worked out before launching a product

Learn more about Grab products and its future relief efforts at Grab.    

Final Thoughts

While attendees may not be able to attend the conference in person, being a vitural attendee is the next best thing. It was insightful to being able to see how each company is tackling the current crisis.

If you want to learn more about TechInAsia upcoming conferences visit

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Minority Business Opportunity Day Conference Overview

Minority Business Opportunity Day Conference

Conference Overview

Recently, I attended the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council (SCMSDC) event.  The Minority Business Opportunity Day Conference was held at the Pasadena Convention Center.

The conference connects corporate members with minority business entrepreneurs.  Their corporate members include companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft Corporation, and Johnson & Johnson.

*Full Disclosure – I was invited to attend the Minority Business Opportunity Day Conference in Pasadena, California, but all opinions will remain my own!*


The SCMSDC is a regional council of the larger organization the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.  The organization has over 24 affiliate regional councils across the United States and offer business owners access to corporate members.

Here are some of the highlights of the Minority Business Opportunity Day Conference.


The welcome breakfast began with The Honorable Mayor Terry Tornek.  After welcoming the members and attendees he gave a brief history of the City Of Pasadena.  *Fun fact (according to the Los Angeles Times) there are more restaurants per capita in the City Of Pasadena than in New York City.

Mayor Terry Tornek than introduced the keynote speaker Charmaine McClaire.  Charmaine McClaire is a senior executive coach whose value statement (more on that in a moment) includes: “98% of her clients are given more responsibilities within 18 months of her coaching sessions.”

She began the keynote address discussing how to communicate your value, and brand as a business.  Here are the three (A’s) takeaways that she wanted every business owners in attendance to demonstrate:

Access:  We were allowed access to other business who were in attendance.  Maximize the opportunity and network with everyone in attendance.

Agile: Businesses need to be able to be flexible, and willing to change.

Alive: Businesses that are successful are alive.  They show up in a big, bad and bold way.

Next, she told us a story about perceptions, she suggested that it’s not what you say, but how you’re heard.  She went over her key factors of Executive Success Principles.

The key (ESP) factors include but not limited to:

Speak in headlines
She suggested that we read the newspaper every day and write down what headlines stand out.  Ask yourself why did those headlines stand out and how you can create similar headlines that align with your business.

The three must-make points are:

  • Why should I listen?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • What do you want me to do about it?
Create Witnesses

Who is speaking for you when you’re not in the room?  Whoever you meet and discuss your business services may not be able to help you with your B2B, however, they are able to tell others they meet about your business and your brand.

Don’t audition for the part
Own your narrative, be able to clearly state: who you’re, what you bring to the table, and what do you want your audience to know.

Perception vs Reality

In business interactions, there’s the perceived perception that you believe you’re portraying to your clients, employees, and peers and then there’s the reality.  The three main takeaways to recognize:

  • What image do you have of yourself?  Use a list of adjectives to describe yourself and your business.
  • What image do others have of you in the workplace?
  • What image do you want others to have of you?

Business Tip: Create a value statements that can be expressed in sixty seconds.  Additionally, you should be able to shift your value statement depending on your audience.  The value statement should not include your job title, but what do you bring to the table and if possible statistics of recent accomplishments.

The last take away from Charmaine McClaire keynote address was what you should you do before you make a business call.  Her tips include:

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Take deep breaths.  As you exhale let out a deep sigh.  This will calm you and lower your voice to take out any nervousness.
  • Leave A Message.
    Within your message, you should include your name, 3 must-makes points, and your value statement.

If you would like to find out more information about Charmaine McClaire check out her website at McClarie Group

SCMSDC Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
SCMSDC Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Next, on the agenda attendees participated in the exhibitor fair.  The exhibitor fair provided minority business owners access to meet with corporate sponsored members.

Exhibitor Fair

There were several companies who were on the exhibition floor.  One of the programs that I would like to highlight is the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative.   Their mission “To Unlock Economic Growth and Job-Creation for small businesses, across the United States.

There are two locations in California that are delivered at the Long Beach City College and the Los Angeles City College.  The programs help businesses to grow by providing business deductions, financial capital, and business support services.

Overview of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative:
  • The scholarship covers tuition/ program materials
  • Develop a personalized business plan
  • Graduates have access to local and national members and receive further support for their future business endeavors.
Top 5 Reasons To Apply To The Program (pamphlet provided material)
  • You’ll learn from experts in business courses that cover contract negotiations, finance, and people management skills.
  • You’ll invest in yourself.
  • You’ll get customized business assistance.
  • You’ll make connections
  • You’ll be poised to grow your business.
3 Month Program Syllabus includes:

Orientation and Module 1: You and Your Business
Module 2: Growth Opportunities
Module 3: Money and metrics
Module 4:  In this module, you will obtain a path to become a strategic and effective leader in your business.
Module 5:: This course covers the decision-making skills of hiring, developing and retaining talented individuals to expand your business.

Module 6: Marketing and selling
Module 7: Operation and processes
Module 8: Being Bankable.  Gain access to local bankers and financial service providers.  Discuss ways to obtain capital for your business.
Module 9A: Action for Growth, Part 1
Module 9B: Action for Growth, Part II.  Receive feedback from advisors and class participants on your completed business plans.

To find out more information on the small business requirements and how to apply check out their website at or call (888) 99-10KSB.

Additional, booths I visited were the Asian Business Association.  I learned about the organization has been in business for over forty-two years and their main objectives are:

Asian Business Association

Pros of joining the association according to the ABA’s pamphlet:

  • Connects business owners with other business owners to internetwork with each other to serve each businesses needs and services.
  • Inform small business of programs that offer assistance to small business owners.
  • To promote workshops, events, and mixers to improve business success.
  • Attend workshops that cover key business skills to effectively grow your business.
  • The association advocates for California businesses at the state level.


If you would like more information about the Asian Business Association to check out their website at or follow them on social media @ABALosAngeles or on Facebook.

Another organization that I would like to highlight is one geared specifically towards women entrepreneurs.

National Association Women Business Owners (NAWBO)

NAWBO empowers women to utilize their network of women business owners to help you succeed in business development.

Pros of joining the National Association Women Business Owners

  • Thy power your business, lifestyle, and community.
  • They foster connections with other women business owners
  • Learning sessions provided through webinars, development training and so much more.
  • Access to resources and connections to assist you with the implantation of your business growth.

To find out more information about NAWBOLA and to join, visit: or follow them on Twitter or on Facebook.

Final Thoughts

Later the conference reconvened for lunch and we listened to the afternoon keynote address given by Neal Sales-Griffin.  Mr. Griffin is the CEO of CodeNow and is a candidate to be the next Mayor of Chicago. He discussed his experience as an entrepreneur and asked business owners to answer the question: “Who am I in the best position to serve and what can I offer right now?”

To find out more about CodeNow check out their website at or follow Mr. Griffin on Twitter @nealsales

Overall, the event was very well organized, and encouraging for emerging and existing business owners.  I would like to thank the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council staff and volunteers for extending an invitation and allowing me to attend the conference.

If you would like more information about SCMSDC and the conference check out their website here.

If you like this blog post check out similar business posts:

  1. Small Business Interview: Brandon Walcutt
  2. Kohsi Design Centre 
  3. Path To Obtaining A Startup Visa In South Korea.

Let’s stay in touch!  Don’t forget to like this post and follow Korean Convenience on your social media accounts.

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A List Of Websites Great For Conducting Research

A List Of Websites Great For Conducting Research

Are You Looking For Stats, Maps & Information?

Whether you’re writing a small business grant, business plan, or angel investor pitch at some point you will need to check facts, and gather statistical data because let’s face it you can’t rely on community forums as your go-to for citation documentation.

While attending classes at California State University Northridge I often found myself in the library halls searching rows of books.  Here are some of the resources I compiled to assist with anything from business proposals to blog posts.

Public Libraries

Check out your local public library, I know that in California with your library card, you can gain access to free Lynda Courses.  In the past, I’ve taken refresher courses in Excel or Powerpoint, however since starting my blog their courses on how to start a WordPress website, SEO Integration, and Marketing have proven to be the step-by-step guidance I needed to become successful with launching my blog.

Additionally, there are two national libraries you might want to check out.  The first is the World Digital Library, the library has close to 20,000 items to explore from over 190+  countries.  The second library is the Library of Congress it has legislation decisions, maps, and research and reference services.

Historical Societies

If you need information on the history, language, religions, and cultures then the historical societies’ ebooks are one of the resources that you can access.  The Royal Asiatic Society has locations in Korea, China, Japan, and Sri Lanka just to name a few.

The Korean Law Blog

If you’re looking to stay up to date with the laws of South Korea that pertain to franchise agreements, taxes, real estate, patent laws, and startup Visas then this blog is worth checking out.  It’s created and frequently updated by Sean Hayes who’s a New York attorney who was once employed by the Korean Courts.

Chamber of Commerce

One of the mentors who presented during my first business class mentioned that he was a part of the American Chamber of Commerce Korea.  It was then, that I realized this was a great way of networking with other business organizations in South Korea. To view a listing of International Chambers of Commerce check out the linked Entrepreneur article.

University Alumni Interviews

While I lived abroad I was surprised to see in my inbox an alumni networking event being held in South Korea by California State University Northridge.  Before I received the message I never thought to research if there were other alumni living in South Korea.  A great resource that I have used to find past alumni is Linkedin.

Google Books & Google Scholar

Searching for information on a specific country, person, or landmark Google Books (full-text books) and Google Scholar (articles & case law) are great online archives.  The ability to access magazines and books anywhere in the world warrants a mention of this online resource. If you’re looking for Korean magazines that have been translated into English you can read Korea Magazine.  Additionally, a book that I have found helpful is the Korean Way In Business: Understanding and Dealing with South Koreans in Business.

If you liked this post don’t forget to check out my other posts discussing Path To Obtaining A Startup Visa In South Korea  and Black Business Owner In Korea Interview

Get the Korean Convenience mobile app on the Google Play Store | App Store.  Follow Korean Convenience on Twitter   Join Korean Convenience on Facebook for startup and business events, and other information not posted here.

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Tips For Bloggers And Entrepreneurs

Tips For Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

Bloggers And Entrepreneurs

The learning curve of starting a small business has been a steep and steady incline. The age-old adage one step forward, two steps back swirls around in my head. Whether it has been learning new social sharing applications like Pinterest or trying to articulate business goals while writing a business plan.  You don’t know, what you don’t know until you know it.

Research.  I love to do research on any topic that I am tackling because it provides a firmer grasp on any issues I may encounter.  The only problem with research, there’s so much advice given on blogs, YouTube videos, and podcasts that being a first-time small business owner can be overwhelming.

I wanted to share tips I have learned so far with blogging and entrepreneurship.

Time. Time. Time.

It takes time to build an audience and to learn new software.  Initially, I believed that I could set up my online business within three months.  Imagine my shock when I met with a Small Business Administration mentor and he told me to do six months of research before I moved forward to determine the profitability of my concept.  Avoid the belief that you will be making $10,000 within your first three months.  The recent requirements in the YouTube Partnership Program is a lesson for everyone, one thing that’s constant for any successful business is change.

Day-To-Day Tasks

Picking a blogging platform to host my blog was an easy decision.  Learning how to add backlinks, SEO, Marketing, writing effective Headlines and Sub-headings and structuring content has been an uphill climb.  Fact: You need all of these tools if you want to have a successful blog or startup, but you don’t need to understand everything 100% to get started.

Everyone Loves A Winner

The term overnight success has been used time and time again.  Why, because the life of a struggling writer, director, actor/actress, etc. doesn’t sellout movie theaters.  Don’t expect professionals or organizations to jump on the bandwagon when you’re in the early startup stages.  They receive dozens of request every day, and their time is also precious.


While I do believe that having a mentor is necessary for moral support and tapping into monetary resources, don’t be afraid to have more than one.  I have learned that one mentor may be great at writing a business plan and another mentor may be great at connecting you with angel investors.  Diversifying your mentors ensures that you will get the best advice without overusing your mentor’s capabilities.

Like Minded People

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people equates to cheerleaders cheering in a packed stadium.  It’s nothing worse than explaining your concept to an individual, and the person is negative or discouraging about your future plans.  Getting advice from other bloggers/entrepreneurs will always resonate.   

Free Resources


Their slogan states “Collaborate, & Create Graphic Designs for Free.  This graphic design tool website is very easy to use and is great for creating social media posts, blogs & ebook covers, marketing material and advertisements.  I used to it create my Media Kit and I am happy with the easy of instructions and being able to get started with a simple drag and drop method.


If you’re a food blogger who wants to use mouthwatering pictures than you have your choice of hundreds of food photos to choose.  Additionally, if you like to cook your own recipes consider the website a great place to share your photos and network with a community who are actively searching for food pictures.


A website that can be accessed anywhere in the world gives you access to thousands of free images and photos.  *Tip – Try to use photos that are not commonly used because there’s nothing like posting your latest blog posts and scrolling through your timeline and seeing the same image someone else is using for their latest blog posts.


A headline analyzer, their slogan states: “Write headlines that drive traffic, share, and search results.”  Whether you consider this an additional step, to the other rules you already follow when creating a headline (35 to 60-word count, long tail keywords, etc.) it’s a great tool to gauge your headline’s effectiveness.

If you want more information about starting a small business check out my post:

Do you have a blog or startup business and received great advice?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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Startup Assistance in Seoul

Startup Assistance In Seoul

Startup Competitions and Meetup Groups in South Korea

Obtaining positive reviews from consumers is crucial to any business future success.  The term “Word-Of-Mouth” is one of the words that perfectly describe South Korea’s business culture.  If you’re interested in the startup scene in South Korea check out these resources to assist foreigners with business development.

K-Startup Grand Challenge

The “K-Startup Grand Challenge” is administered by the Korean Government and the competition slogan states “Accelerate Your Startup In Korea.”  Their mission is to help 50 entrepreneurs with setting up their business in South Korea.  They offer access to meet and possibly collaborate with major Korean companies such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai Motors.  The competition is held once a year and the application period begins in early March.

Competition highlights include:

  • 4 Month Accelerating Program held in South Korea
  • Free Office Space with One on One Mentoring
  • Coaching on Asian Business Culture
  • Business necessities – Tax Laws, Patents and Accounting Regulations
  • Financial incentives – Audition Prize, Demo Day, Living Expenses and Grants

Google Campus Seoul

The program aims to offer “Resources, Classes and Connections” where you can learn from the best that Google has to offer.  The program offers a cafe on sight to enjoy coffee and free wi-fi, event space to host an event and a free six-month workspace residency at Google headquarters.

Program highlights include:

  • Campus Meetup – Connect with Like-Minded People
  • Campus Mentoring  – Access to Experienced Entrepreneurs
  • Campus Presents – Extinguished Presenters Presents Relevant Business Topics
  • Campus Startup School – Hands-on Training in UX design, Venture Capital Meetings, and Product Management
  • Campus Connections – Meet with Investors and Large Corporations
  • Campus Exchange – Network with Entrepreneurs from Google Campuses in London, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, and Warsaw

Oasis 3 – Idea Right Competition Support

The program is organized by the Korea Invention Promotion Association and the Seoul Global Center.  The program is targeted towards foreigners who are interested in forming a startup within South Korea.  The competition is a part of the larger Oasis Assistance for Startup Immigration courses.  To find out more information about the Oasis courses and dates available check out OASIS Startup Visa.

Startup Meetup Groups

Startup Weekend Seoul

This three-day meetup offers designers, developers, and entrepreneurs the chance to connect with one another.  Once an alliance is formed teams will be able to build a successful business portfolio with the help of mentors, coaches, and fellow entrepreneurs.  Find more information on their Facebook Group or email their meetup group at

Startup Alliance

This meetup is presented by the Navar Corporation.  The Startup Alliance offers meetup, seminars, and conferences to connect entrepreneurs in launching their business through Global Expansion.  Additionally, they offer pro-bono legal advice and accounting counseling to facilitate a better startup ecosystem.

Recent startups occurring throughout Asia include E-wallets, ridesharing, and staff-less store chains.  After participating in the Oasis program run by the Seoul Global Center I am left with this quote from David Karp, Tumbler founder, “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and wants to create.”

If you’re looking for more resources about starting a business in South Korea check out my posts on:

  1. Free Korean Language Classes Online
  2. Starting A Business In Korea
  3. A Platform For Entrepreneurs: Seoul Startups
  4. Non-Teaching Jobs: South Korea
  5. Entrepreneur Korea Interview
  6. Digital Marketing: Small Business Strategy​
  7. Small Business Interview: Brandon Walcutt, Kohsi Design Centre