The Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses – Corner Shop Myanmar – Part 1

Name: Daw Aye Aye Maw

Business Type: Retailing vegetables

Business Started: 2017

The small business owner is called Daw Aye Aye Maw who runs a retail vegetable shop at her house. She started her retail shop in 2017 and this is the main income source for her family. She is divorced and has a 2 years old son, and stays together with four family members at her mother’s house. The rest of the family earns and spends their own money, they do not take any of Daw Aye Aye Maw’s share.  

First, she was required to work to make a living and chose this business for the sake of convenience for her family, since she had no other choice due to not having the money. This small retail shop started with a loan taken (200,000 MMK) from the local lender. The loan interest rate was 3% per day and she needed to pay daily (6,000 MMK) until she paid the total loan amount. She took a risk on this retail shop with a high-interest rate, therefore she needed to pay attention to it and she put a lot of effort into repaying the daily interest rate on time and the loan capital she repaid in small parts. She finally paid off her loan within 6 months and has been able to continue with her own fund since then. This business investment loan was the first loan that she borrowed and she still hasn’t taken another loan.

She has struggled on her own since the start of her business to manage her traveling for supplies and the business investment. There are a few competitors around her area. She was also the one who purchased from them and knew the different sales prices before she started her business. So, she offers a better price to the customers, by reducing the price, that way the sales volume increases compared to other shops. For instance, the other shops sell a bundle of roselle for 100 MMK, but she sells two bundles of roselle for 150 MMK. Moreover, she buys more supplies based on customers’ most recent purchases and slowly increased the number of sales of different supplies to customers. She does not sell to customers on credit, because she has previous experience of customers not repaying their loans.  She believes that she can earn more when she is able to invest in buying more and different inventory. However, she is still limited in buying other inventory, because of a lack of cash flow. Besides retailing vegetables, she plans to add fruits, but she cannot afford to invest in them yet. The cash is now mainly contributed to the vegetables, her plan would take time. Because of the pandemic, running a business is more difficult, it is difficult to get the supplies. As a result, her shop’s demand rate is lower. However, she has plenty of energy to continue working hard for her family.

She had not kept any business records since she started her business, not even for the loan details, which she had memorized. She had also never used any Apps for bookkeeping.  She thinks it has no effect on her little business. This is her first try at recording business transactions in the notebook and uploading data reporting into the FINBIT application. In the beginning, she felt confused and that it was very difficult and did not want to record. Because she had never tried this before. However, she kept following along in order to better understand her business, and then, as a result, she became aware of her income and expenses when they were recorded in the notebook. This is the first step in getting an understanding by seeing her recording. She is especially aware of how much she spent on personal and business expenses by comparing (calculation by herself) to her income over a number of days. Currently, she is confident to use FINBIT for only reporting Incomes and Expenses, but she is unable to read her data results in FINBIT yet. She is more focused on knowing her expenses, income, and profit. She needs to take more time to read the data results, she mentioned she would like to see a simple profit and loss statement in FINBIT.

In addition, she was dealing with the issue of not having enough internet. Therefore, her FINBIT data was not linked to the FINBIT server, and reading data in the FINBIT application was delayed.

After all, she was strong enough to overcome all challenges and problems, and she was also able to transform into a digital environment.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses – Corner Shop Myanmar – Part 1

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