After running its course, the original Call for Leaders – 3Q was completed successfully, achieving its intended purpose of bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of the Romanian business scene in the context of the current crisis. Now, Business Review followed up with some of Romania’s top professionals and entrepreneurs for #Call4Leaders part II – Back in Business, to see how they mapped out the long-awaited return to normality.
Current conversation: Laura Teposu, CEO Libris.ro
How do you define the new normal that everyone should submit to?
Normality is different in time, space and from person to person. We live in times of uncertainty and rapid change and here I am not just referring to the context of the pandemic, but also to the impact of technology adoption, both in our personal lives and work. In my opinion, the new normal is adaptability. The faster we develop our ability to cope with ambiguity and approach change as an opportunity, the better off we will be. So I would say that nowadays the boundaries of “normal” should be constantly redefined.
Has this crisis altered your optimism or hopes for your business plans in this calendar year?
No, our optimism is at a fairly high level. After a relatively short period of accommodation, when we focused mainly on sanitary measures and protection for the team and clients, we revised our short- and medium-term plans, put on hold some projects that no longer fit the context, and started new ones.
In spite of the general uncertainty, the context was somehow favorable for online businesses in general and online bookstores worldwide have seen an increase of the number of customers. People turned to books to relax and relieve anxiety provoked by the virus and chose online book ordering to get their reads. As an effect, our sales grew on average by 30-40% month on month, compared to last year’s similar time of year.
What’s next for the industry you are currently representing?
The book market faces difficulties caused by the temporary closure and then the decrease of sales in bookstores, in Romania, but also as a general trend, globally. The increase in online sales does not cover offline losses.
Looking ahead, I am still optimistic and I hope that more attention will be paid to education and especially to lifelong learning, where, as nation, we are deficient. According to Eurostat, Romania is the last of the European countries in terms of adult education and lifelong learning. We need educated people, able to adapt to the times we live and committed to investing in lifelong learning and continue self development. Knowledge and constant improvement as individuals are powerful tools in the game with uncertainty.