How to build a resilient business in a technical recession
Our economy is in the midst of a technical recession and business owners are wondering how to weather this economic storm. What does it take for a business to stay afloat in these trying times? The answer is simple – resilience, curiosity and determination.
Pavlo Phitidis talks to three business owners who are thriving in a slow-growth environment. They share their thoughts on how to build a resilient business in this depressed economy.
It takes determination and technical knowledge
A business of many firsts, Art Lab pioneered the specialist function of digital textile printing, but creating and accelerating the demand for the service meant educating the market and soldiering on through tough times to keep its reputation intact.
Craig Whyte of Art Lab says: “Even though I’ve been in the game for three decades, we never stopped the voyage of discovery. We were always looking out for what was going on in the industry, keeping up with trends and magazines and watching what was happening on the web.
“How do we stay ahead? Basically, it’s customer service, it’s understanding what the market requires.”
KEY INSIGHT FROM PAVLO – Being a business of firsts meant leveraging the internet, researching the latest technology and investing in machinery to stay ahead of competitors. As with most businesses, reputation and trust are of utmost importance. Do what you say you’re going to do, do it on time, do it right and when things go wrong, let people know. Be honest, upfront and straight in terms of what went wrong and how you intend to fix it.
Building a resilient business through data
The mining sector is plagued by social and political pressures. Sean Cooley found resilience in data and converted it into quantifiable savings that allowed Atomic Oil to thrive in a depleted investment environment.
Breaking into the old, traditional mining sector was tough. Atomic Oil’s attempts to convince major players to change their mindsets about on-site oil analysis seemed like an insurmountable task.
“So when word got out, Atomic Oil was afforded access to the historical data of receptive mines’ offsite oil analysis. This allowed the team to create case studies to further drive and cement the importance of installing on-site labs as a cost-effective alternative,” says Sean.
“There was a very big resistance … but now those big, major players are actually becoming my clients. They’ve adopted a strategy where they would rather put on-site labs at some of their clients to prevent them moving away or losing that business forever.”
KEY INSIGHT FROM PAVLO – Clients are only convinced to try a different approach when a relationship of trust has already been established – a trust which originates from a proven track record of reliable, transparent and honest service delivery. When a relationship of trust is built, leverage the relationship with the client and build an offering that quantifies the savings in rands and cents.
Building a resilient business through service standards
Sizwe Tshabalala started out cleaning offices in a factory and now operates his own business with extended services that include cleaning and mining the air.
Precious Ties saw a problem and developed a solution – to suppress the dust and extract the lead from the air. He put the idea to his client and positioned his business as an authority in the field.
“It had become an opportunity to bring all that I have gone through in the past. I coupled that with a little innovation and gave it a go on a trial basis,” says Sizwe.
“If you are not resilient and determined to ensure that you know what you’re doing and can do it … any client can tolerate glitches for a certain period of time but what allows them to give you an opportunity is to prove that you have stealth and staying power ... it’s your resilience,” he says.
KEY INSIGHT FROM PAVLO – In this case, resilience is about the consistency of service and standards that earned Precious Ties a relationship of trust and afforded it the platform to engage the client around solutions for other problems beyond the services it was offering at the time. The next step is to be willing to go the extra mile to solve the problem, keeping the client updated when glitches occur and reassuring them that it is being addressed.
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Tags: Building your Business