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Table 2 First-order analysis—analytical categories

From: Crisis challenges of small firms in Macao during the COVID-19 pandemic

Analytical categories Examples of direct quotations
Planning “Our existing crisis plan mostly focuses on dealing with HR and customer relations. Crisis planning in other areas are lacking” —A.
“We do have a comprehensive set of crisis plans as required by the regulators” —B, C and F.
“We do not have any structured crisis management plan as we do not think it is helpful. It would not make a big difference as COVID-19 is a pandemic, and the economic consequence is unavoidable” —D and E.
Testing “We perform periodic (annually or semi-annually) testing on our existing crisis plan” —B, C and F.
“We consider conducting periodic testing is important for our staff to react promptly and appropriately in crises” —C.
Signaling “Currently, we have a formal crisis signaling mechanism” —A, B, C and F.
Communication among employees “We have provided a formal crisis management manual to our staff” —B, C, E and F.
“We communicate verbally among employees regarding our crisis management strategies” —A.
“We update crisis management issues in our monthly staff meetings” —B and C.
Documentation “We document our crisis management strategies in paper form” —F.
“Crisis documents are stored in the electronic form mostly” —A, B, C and E.
Contingency plan “We do have a contingency plan as required by the regulators” —B, C and F.
Monitoring “We review our existing crisis management strategies every two years and amend them if needed” —B and C.
“We believe that periodic review of crisis management is important as the operation environment keeps changing” —C.
Closedown or shorten operation hours “In view of the rapid spread of the virus, we decide [d] to close down the shop in January and February” —E and F.
“The lockdown is for the benefit of our employees and customers” —A, B and F.
“In March, the number of infected has become stable, and we re-open our business but reduce the operation hours” —A, B and F.
Flexible HR policy and employees’ stress management “Having discussed with our employees, we give them the options of working at home and flexible working hours” —B, C and E.
“For employees residing in Chinese mainland, we ask them to stay in Macao or take no paid leave if they decide to stay in Chinese mainland” —C and F.
“We appoint a supervisor to be in charge of employees stress management. Employees who have difficulties during the outbreak can consult the supervisor for assistance” —B and C.
Cost cut “We significantly cut down our labor costs and other operational costs by using flexible HR policies and reducing operation hours” —C and F.
“We try to negotiate with our landlord and luckily he reduces our rental by 10% since March” —F.
Reducing inventory “We stop buying inventories since January as the customer flows have significantly dropped” —A.
Exploring new products “As the sports stadiums are locked down, the demand for badminton supplies drops dramatically. In view of this, we explore new products such as indoors sports equipment, massage machine, and towels. This helps maintain sales at 40% of the normal sales level and allows us to survive” —A.
Customer relation/advertising/discount promotion “We give an additional 15% discounts to our customers since March, and the strategy helps restore sales revenue by around 20%” —A and F.
“We give a significant discount for long-stay customers, which helps attract companies who need to accommodate their foreign workers. The discount policy is extremely helpful for our survival. Room sales are even higher than that before the outbreak” —C.
“We use e-channels such as Facebook and WeChat to advertise and promote our products since February or March, and we successfully draw the attention of our customers. We intend to rely more heavily on this new advertising and promotion channel in the future” —A and D.
Extending credit period with suppliers “The suppliers are very considerate and give us an additional one-month credit period since February” —A, C and F.
Timely communication among employees “We hold 30-min live chats twice a week since mid-January for our staff to communicate with the management” —E.
“We use Zoom, WeChat and WhatsApp to communicate with our employees on [a] timely basis during the outbreak” —B.
“Top management holds online meetings three times a week” —C.
Involvement of stakeholders in the decision-making process “When making decisions during the outbreak, we consult our staff at different levels. It is a group decision” —B, C and F.
“We also consult external stakeholders such as the regulators, customers, and suppliers in the decision process” —C and F.
Restoring public confidence “Restoring public confidence is most vital for recovery after the outbreak. Macao is famous for its gaming and tourism industries. Whether tourists find it safe to visit the city would have [a] significant impact on the recovery of the economy” —C.
“There is nothing much we can do to recover from the crisis. The market relies heavily on the recovery of public confidence” —D.
Industry diversification “In the long run, we intend to diversify the operating risk by entering new industries such as food and beverage, and arts and entertainment, which are not solely relied on tourist flows” —C.
“We are thinking of exploring new market sectors, such as providing professional coaching services for indoor training” —A.
“As many of our managers and lecturers are well trained in business and management areas, we have established a consulting firm in May to provide business consulting services for SMEs” —B.
Reforming HR policy “We decide [d] to reduce our reliance on foreign workers after the outbreak” —F.
“After the outbreak, we will focus more heavily on takeaway and food delivery. We may need to hire more part-time helpers and terminate some full-time staff. This can help cut down labor costs by around 20%” —F.
“In the future, we would like to hire employees who are well equipped with IT skills” —B and E.
“The outbreak has inspires us to adopt flexible working hours and allow employees to work at home as long as they can complete their tasks” —B, E and D.
“Our managers will keep closer communication with our staff using social platforms” —B, C and E.
Investing in learning on crisis management “We intend to invest in learning on crisis management after the outbreak, and hopefully, this may help reduce our loss in the next crisis” —B, C, E and F.
“We do not have an exact budget for the learning through” —E.
“We intend to invest around MOP10,000 (USD1,250) annually on strengthening crisis management” —B.
“Estimated budget of learning on crisis management is around MOP20,000 (USD2,500) annually” —F.
“Our hotel plans to increase investment in training for crisis management and stress management, with an estimated annual investment amounting to MOP200,000 (USD 25,000)” —C.
Investing in learning technology “During the outbreak, we conduct our management meetings through Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, and we find it highly efficient. We decide to go on with this even after the outbreak” —B, C and E.
“We switch our operation to online sales during the outbreak and find it helpful to maintain sales revenue. In the future, we will focus more on online sales mode. Our staff need to be trained in e-commerce and technology to cope with the change in our business model” —A and D.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly changed the business model, and we intend to invest in technology, such as to film our products and conduct more online live chats” —A and D.
“Because of the outbreak, we deliver some of our courses online through Zoom. This inspires us to develop our online course department in the long run so that students who live far away can easily join our online courses at their convenience” —B.
Investing in health and safety equipment “We renovate our safety equipment (fire alarm, etc.) during the outbreak when there is no customer” —B and C.
Redecoration “We redecorate our C in the early stage of the outbreak as there are fewer customers and the redecoration would not be too disturbing to them. We believe the renovation can enhance our competitiveness after the outbreak” —C.
Applying for SMEs loan from the government “We have applied for the special loan for SMEs from the Macao Economic Services. We intend to repay the loan within two or three years” —A and D.
“The SMEs loan may not be too helpful as it creates additional financial stress in the coming years” —C.