The specifics of our business and the main credo in a crisis. GK Clever bros. is a Russian integrator specializing in providing services for businesses in the field of IT and printing. The credo of our business is a high-level service that is in demand at all times. Although we have been in this business for over 20 years, our industry is still evolving. It is considered young and rapidly developing in comparison with animal husbandry, engineering, or mining. All this time, certain rules of survival have been formed in the industry, primarily due to crises that are cyclical and repeat themselves in the modern world with enviable regularity.
In the history of our company, there have already been 4 crises, each of them I would characterize with the well-known expression: “Everything that does not kill us makes us stronger!”
The minimum task in a crisis is to survive, the maximum task is to concentrate and rise to a new level. A crisis is a time when not only threats appear, but also opportunities open up. Free Fire Redeem Code 22 November 2021 today
The experience of the first two crises
The Veneta System company (part of the Clever bros. group of companies) was founded in 2001. The first crisis caught us in 2008 when the world began a period that economists called the “great stagnation”.
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Our customers then asked themselves: how to quickly reduce their costs? Cartridge restoration service has become more popular. Since we specialize in optimizing printing processes, people began to contact us. In 2008, new opportunities opened up for us, we took advantage of them: we opened new branches, launched new products, and introduced our own software.
The second crisis occurred in 2014 after the events of the Crimean Spring. At the same time, a period of reforms began in the banking sector. We have seen banks disappear one by one, our key clients. Changes in the system industry were reflected in other industries, the era of rapid business development is a thing of the past.
It was difficult to recognize the opportunities then, but the accumulated experience of the company and the competencies of the employees were quite strong. We began to think about where in these new conditions we can apply them. We decided to focus not so much on the growth of the client base, but on expanding the product portfolio, the prospect of services in IT was rapidly gaining momentum. This is how the new brand Clever bros. appeared, new products Clever Print, the corporate program CBA (Clever Bros. Assistant), and software for monitoring printing devices CPKey, the first thoughts about building a partner network in the direction of Clever IT were born. As a result, we emerged from the crisis with a new advantage and powerful potential.
The crisis is not painless
It cannot be said that every crisis passes without losses for the company. Along with the reduction of resources, the business loses opportunities for intensive growth. Reduced margin of safety. A lot of energy from the organization goes to work out the negative consequences.
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In a crisis, it is important to properly allocate resources and assess risks and prospects. The most important task for me always remains the preservation of the main value of the organization – its employees. Financial problems, leaving clients – everything affects the psychological climate in the team. It is during these periods that your team needs to be supported and protected.
What to do with production in a crisis
Production must quickly adapt to the volume of customer needs, the flow of orders, and the capabilities of sales departments. During the first crisis in 2008, we were growing, we needed to quickly increase our capacities, recruiting highly qualified specialists, providing training for them, and quickly involving them in the work process.
In 2014, the volume of orders in production began to decrease and it was necessary to redistribute the load, including reducing the staff. Our production is always focused on the volume of orders and quickly changes its production capacity under load. Some of our technicians were sent to other tasks and directions. The main thing in the service is flexibility, not only in services for clients but also within the company.
What to do with marketing
In all 4 crises, I observe the same situation around: managers, first of all, lay off marketing specialists – a very expensive asset with unobvious utility for many. For me, it’s like being shot in the leg. I understand why this is happening. Not all organizations can measure the effectiveness of the marketing department and its value to the organization in real terms.
If in 2008 we, as an independent division, did not have a marketing department in the company, then following the results of the second crisis in 2014, we just came to the conclusion that the effectiveness of marketing for business is obvious, but we need to evaluate its usefulness in terms of indicators. This was one of the most important tasks for the organization, which was achieved. That is why we did not reduce the marketing department but reduced the cost of advertising campaigns and PR activities.
Crises of 2020 and 2022
In the last two crises (the pandemic and the start of Russia’s military special operation), we primarily cut all costs, including the wage fund, which is always painful for people. “War is war, but you always want to eat.” Employees, of course, first of all, think about themselves and their families.
I am grateful to those employees who not only stayed with the company, but also work during the crisis with full dedication, and sometimes even with an even greater workload while reducing wages.
I would also like to pay tribute to the Russian government, which has worked diligently to make it easier for businesses to survive: loans, support programs, and moratoriums on inspections. We were able to take advantage of the help and thanks to this, we retained most of the team.
Our customers’ printing processes and IT infrastructure have been running smoothly during the 2020 pandemic and during a period of skyrocketing prices and shortages in the spring of 2022. I know that customers appreciated our efforts. It will return to us a hundredfold, especially since at this time we are one of the few who have not changed their price, taking advantage of the moment.
Without a strategy, a company has no future
There was a joke on the Internet at the end of February 2022: “If you wrote a strategy last year, you can throw it in the trash.” I strongly disagree with this. A well-designed and adopted strategy should take into account all risk factors, so there is no need to rush to burn it or throw it away. Perhaps you need to make adjustments to the strategy and make plans more flexible.
The strategy is not always framed as a document, but there are always maximum and minimum tasks, long-term and short-term, which the business must clearly and responsibly fulfill. Without a strategy, a company has no future.
Who is the strategy for? For the leadership of the organization. Ordinary employees may know the goals, but they must first all know the mission and values, clearly understand their tasks, and fulfill their duties conscientiously.
Recommendations for cost optimization
Before moving on to recommendations, I want to note that a crisis is not always about cuts, difficulties, and optimization. When new opportunities open up before the company, leaders think not about expenses, but about future income. This is a growth strategy! Xiaomi cancels MIUI 12.5 Enhanced Edition in these 7 phones
It is always necessary to optimize costs, regardless of whether the crisis is now or rapid development. To do this, you need to implement an accounting system, set up regular cost analysis, develop optimization rules in a timely manner and apply them. How To Give Birth To A Child – A Psychological Guide For Pregnant Women
Everything that will not bring profit to the company today or in the future must be disposed of in a timely manner. It is also necessary to quickly abandon the unpromising development program. It is hardly possible to do this if there is no systematic approach, planning system, and strategy.
For example, Sberbank immediately stopped all of its major investment projects in IT. It is clear that they cannot be implemented without foreign equipment and competent specialists. SEO Guide: Everything a Beginner Needs to Know in 2022
What actions did we take at Clever bros?
I will give a few examples.
In a situation with a sharp increase in paper prices and its shortage, we switched to an economical printing mode. Convinced employees not to print the document unless required, and to use duplex printing where possible. Within two months, we transferred 10% of our customers to electronic document management (EDM). As a result, our paper costs remained at pre-crisis levels.
Further, we abandoned the premises, which were rented for the active development of one of the directions. We estimated that during the crisis, rapid growth in this area is not expected, so it is necessary to concentrate on other services in demand.
We reviewed the contracts with the contractor by telephony: we chose another service provider, which has more favorable conditions and also refused extra numbers. OIC Summit Pakistan: Pakistan demands OIC framework for tackling Islamophobia
We have accelerated the implementation of a systematic approach to assessing the effectiveness of each customer, supplier, partner, employee, department, process, and project. It is important to do this at any point in the life cycle of an organization. If, in a crisis, an entrepreneur cannot assess who and what really brings usefulness to the organization, then he will not know who to keep, who to say goodbye to, what needs to be closed and what to develop. How to Hire a Marketing Agency for Your Business?
Our performance evaluation system works in our own information system CBA (Clever Bros Assistant). Thanks to a single system, it is convenient to collect and process all information about orders, customers, suppliers, and even competitors. We see the full potential of the organization in real-time and the know-how to use it effectively. 10 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Is So Important?