Coping With A Pandemic

#digfordeets is a casual live chat session that WORQ has started in the month of May. Each week we will be inviting a guest entrepreneur to share with us their thoughts and experience on the given topic. This month our guests will be sharing about how they are coping with the pandemic. Get ready to be inspired by their stories!

Pushing boundaries

Johnny Ong – Head of Operations and Experience Design of Superdough (Founder of Breakout, Hauntu)

Coping With A Pandemic - Johnny Ong

Being innovative is one of the important traits that an entrepreneur has. Johnny, the founder and game designer behind Breakout and Hauntu shares with us the challenges that he faced.

“The biggest challenge we have is no income as we run physical storefront business.”

Even when they have ten franchises overseas as their second income stream, they could not depend on it as everyone is also affected by the pandemic. 

This drives the team to work harder to innovate. For a start, Johnny took this opportunity to review and improve their operations flow to increase efficiency. To keep the team’s spirit up and having a sense of involvement, Johnny starts involving his operation team members in R&D projects. He also keeps himself updated with what other game industry peers are doing, working on the idea to bring the Breakout online. 

Perseverance and hard work bear fruit. Johnny and his team successfully introduced The Enigma, a hot-selling customisable Gift Box with mini-puzzles that you and I can order online and gift it to a friend as a surprise. The team is also keeping their fans entertained with free puzzles on Breakout’s Facebook page and featuring horror stories shared by Hauntu fans on the Hauntu Instagram page. What excites Johnny and his team the most is the online version of their Breakout will soon to be launched!

Listen to the session here.

Breaking through with branding on social media

Ranukka Singham – Founder, Certified Image & Branding Consultant of Image Revamp Consultancy

Coping With A Pandemic - Ranukka Singham

Ranukka Singham, the Founder, certified image & branding consultant of Image Revamp Consultancy shares that the pandemic has forced many to pivot their businesses. Being in a consultancy and training industry, Ranukka constantly meets people face-to-face to conduct one-to-one image consulting, run workshops, training and talks for her clients. Due to the MCO, she has to pivot her services online because all physical training is put on hold.

“Version 1.0 is better than version none.”

Ranukka started her LinkedIn journey in January 2020 and is recently being included in the list of the Top 100 Most Influential LinkedIn Icon in Malaysia. She is glad that she has worked on it, the social presence on the business platform helps her a lot during the current situation to cope with the pandemic. 

As she grows her exposure on LinkedIn, she’s running virtual training sessions for clients in various countries on the same day, something that is not feasible before the MCO. 

“Be consistent. Be genuine. Be authentic.”

When asked how she does it, Ranukka stressed the importance of working on the personal brand and being consistent, genuine and authentic in how she portrays herself on these social media platforms. This is because it will also translate into how people view you and your brand. Being clear of one’s value and being consistent with it throughout is important. Create contents to help others and not take the opportunity out of the dire moment that we are in. She points out that posts that are opportunistic generally receive a lower response than posts that creates value. Faking it just for MCO will not help in the long run because people are able to sense it because when things are back to normal, you will need to know how to continue the story.  

Listen to Part 1 of the session here.

Listen to Part 2 of the session here.

To embrace the challenge

Reuban Kang – Director of Imagineers Film

Coping With A Pandemic - Reuban Kang

The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard as all filming activities including cinemas are not allowed even during relaxed MCO. Reuban Kang, director of Imagineers Film shares that many of his jobs are cancelled by his clients due to MCO. Many brands are also cutting their marketing budget with video contents being the least priority.

“As filmmakers, we are usually problem solvers. We have a saying in filmmaking: whatever that can go wrong will go wrong.”

It is normal that in the filmmaking industry, no matter how well planned you are, there’s always bound to have something going wrong. Filmmakers are trained to solve problems. However, this is the first time Reuban felt helpless and unable to turn things around. Coping with the pandemic is not easy. Without knowing when they are able to start filming activities, things also get complicated because of the fear and responsibility for the health and safety of his crews and talents. Social distancing is hard to practice during filming.   

“Embrace the challenge.”

A Raya project that Reuban and his team worked on earlier in the year for a client has to change last minute because the script is no longer relevant. The team pivoted and brainstormed immediately and came out with an alternative way. Instead of live-action filming, they decided to take the risk and do animation instead. It was a big risk as they are facing changes every day due to the unprecedented pandemic. Who knows if the script that they have revised will become irrelevant again with the changes. 

Click here to watch the Raya project Reuban did for his client.

Listen to the session here.

Riding the wave

Stephanie Ping – CEO & Co-founder of WORQ

Coping with a pandemic - Stephanie Ping

Closer to home, Stephanie – the CEO and co-founder of WORQ also shares about how WORQ is coping with the pandemic. She is a strong believer of community workstyle which is the reason why she and co-founder Andrew founded WORQ.  This translates into the vision of the company where people and community prosper by working together.

“You will be surprised at the power of community workstyle!” 

Rather than just being a workspace provider, WORQ differentiates itself by being a network orchestrator. Many times Stephanie has witnessed the power of community workstyle – either it’s herself or the people in the community. She has helped connect individuals to clients and collaboration opportunities and vice versa. It is the organic help from connections you make and people you know who just happen to be able to connect you with the person that has the solutions to your problem. With that, Stephanie and her team are currently working on a mobile application that brings the community network to the next level.

Apart from that, Stephanie and her team are also pivoting their strategy and focus on their Business Continuity Plan (BCP ) products. As many companies are either allowing their staffs to work from home or split their teams to different sites, a BCP solution is just what many companies can consider.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

To wrap it up for the #digfordeets May edition, it is inevitable that this unprecedented event has affected many. Businesses are being disrupted moreover with the implementation of movement control order to flatten the curve. Some businesses are able to pivot and bring their business online; but some businesses – due to its nature, are unable to do so. 

Nevertheless, we can identify values like integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance and discipline through the sharing of their stories. But what really keeps Stephanie, Johnny, Ranukka and Reuban going is their passion towards what they are doing. As Viktor Frankl (Neurologist, psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor) said:

“In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it.”

This passion is what gave them the meaning to survive and cope with this pandemic. 



About the Author

Camilla Chee
Camilla is part of the marketing team at WORQ Coworking Space. Prefers physical books over e-books, she finds them calming and soothes her mood on a bad day. When she is not working, she does modern calligraphy, dance, read and travel.
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