Call for Leaders – 3Q is a new category where Business Review features our 3 questions with some of Romania’s top business professionals, bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of their markets in the context of the current crisis.
Current conversation: Georgiana Dragomir, Managing Director at Grapefruit
What are the measures you took for your business during this period?
First of all, we did not wait for the government to send us home. We took preventive measures and started working from home, a week before the official announcement. This gave us time to work out all the bugs in the system and we were fully operational when the new regulations came.
From a financial standpoint, we were prepared, because we have a reserve fund that covers 3-months of our existing expenses. We also initiated a credit line in order to cover unforeseen expenses in the future. We constantly monitor the cash flow and we have a plan B and C to lower expenses and prolong our lifeline.
From a clients’ perspective, a good decision that we took in the past was to have a diversified portfolio of clients from different industries. In times of crisis, some products and services work better than others and having this ensures that we don’t take the full impact of the crisis at the same time.
I consider we are lucky to work in the digital industry as we don’t have to shut down or postpone our projects. We even had a sudden influx of clients that decided to migrate more of their marketing and operations to the digital medium.
What’s your advice for business leaders regarding this crisis?
Protect your employees and have a detailed plan regarding cash-flow with different scenarios for the future. Keep your employees informed constantly so they know what is at stake but at the same time, don’t put too much pressure on them or they will start to go down in productivity.
If you notice someone isn’t as productive as they used to be, talk to them, encourage them, we’re all going through tough times and communication is key during this time.
If possible, explore any way that you can pivot your business. I saw companies selling gift cards for future services or products, going towards full online delivery, creating digital educational products or creating gifts that people can buy to sustain their business. Any way that you can generate revenue will make it easier to go over this period. Any way that you can maintain the awareness and loyalty of your customers will help you bounce back faster when it will end.
What’s the most positive business news you’ve read today and want to share?
There are actually two positive news that caught my attention. One of them is the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to create a digital platform where big retail chains can communicate and work together with small local farmers. Retail chains can order vegetables from the small local farmers to make sure they still have them in stock and the farmers can still sell their products. It’s great because it’s a collaboration between all the actors of society, government, SMEs and big multinational retail chains.
Another one would be the proactive move that the healthcare industry made. Examples such as Medicover creating the “MediCall” where you can contact a doctor online and Regina Maria with its virtual clinic platform. I also heard there are collaborations between medics and pharmacies that make it possible now to get a prescription without going physically to the medic. It’s all heading in the right digital direction.