Dealing with Disruption: Are SMEs Business Ready?

By John Peterson | October 27, 2020

Building agility and resilience should be part of any organizational culture. Is your business ready to transform for tomorrow?

How are small and medium businesses adapting to the ongoing disruption brought on by the pandemic? Among the attendees of the EntrepreKNOW webinar held recently, almost 70% of business owners and decision-makers reported switching to using social media as sales channels. 44% also created a new product or service to adapt to customer demands in the new normal. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) started exporting to other markets to expand their reach, and 19% participated in an eCommerce platform to enhance business knowledge.

At FedEx, we know how hard small and medium businesses have been hit. So, here are five ways SMEs can connect to more possibilities in this global crisis:

1. Celebrate systemic, small wins

In the face of a crisis, organizational theorists advocate a gradual, improvisational, quietly persistent approach to change, rather than drastic adjustments.

One tip is to break down big goals into smaller, more manageable tasks and commend team members’ completion of small milestones.

This approach motivates colleagues without overwhelming their resolve, increases creativity and effectiveness, and helps employees manage risks.

2. Take stock of available resources

During a crisis, it can be easy to lose sight of the resources already at our disposal. Ask your service provider about tools and services that can help your business continue to run efficiently, such as:

  • Pay attention to fees. Find out in advance which fees and surcharges apply to your shipments and deliveries to plan expenses.

  • Pack your shipments correctly. The amount of space your package occupies can affect the cost of shipping. Measure and weigh your shipments to find the best, most space-efficient packaging. This also ensures that your products are delivered safely.

  • Automate where possible. Using an automated system for eCommerce to book orders, track deliveries, notify and allow your customers to change delivery details at no extra cost – all these features can save you time and resources and win over customers. The FedEx Delivery Manager International (FDMI) is an example of a tool that can improve customer satisfaction.

No two businesses are alike. That’s why learning about customizable tools is important. Who knows, the solution you need to scale up your operations may be just a click away.

3. Ensure business continuity by rethinking growth

In uncertain times, it is helpful to build resilience and grow beyond the bottom line:

  • Retain. To remain your customers’ brand of choice, you can:
    • Meet customers where they are.
      • Identify possible gaps in how your products or services are communicated. Do customers prefer to order via chat instead of a website?
      • Strengthen your digital payment systems and online storefronts to meet the growing preference for contactless transactions.

  • Reward loyalty. Giving repeat customers discounts or exclusive promos strengthens your relationship. You can also offer a first-look or a sneak peek on new collections, provide insights, and free training to help them with their personal and professional lives.

  • Reevaluate and adapt. There is still plenty of business to be had. This may be the time to create or resell new products and services. Don’t limit yourself to your existing roster of offerings.

  • Relationships. Build your network by joining industry associations, seeking cross-sector collaboration, and connecting with relevant suppliers and vendors.

4. People-Service-Profit

At FedEx, we put people first. More than ever, leaders are expected to keep employees and customers engaged and inspired. Here are a few ways we implement it:

  • Our open-door policy at FedEx has been a wellspring of ideas: any team member can come to me or any member of the management team, to make a suggestion, air a complaint, or simply to chat.

  • We have teams that will be working from home for the foreseeable future. We make sure that they have all the support and equipment to perform their jobs efficiently.

  • We acknowledge the psychological impact of this health crisis and check in with team members regularly.

5. Focus on your ‘why’

Quick and sound decision-making starts with clear thinking. Knowing the core purpose of your business will help you stay on course and act decisively. Make sure each person on your team is on board.

The FedEx Purple Promise of making every customer experience outstanding drives our team members to deliver innovative solutions at the right moment. This focus has led to some amazing stories that, in turn, encourage others to pursue excellence as well.

While recessions and global crises have upended many industries, such disruptions are opportunities for entities to innovate and evolve. Leaders must take this difficult time as a challenge not just to survive, but to thrive and move forward.
***

Visit FedEx Express Philippines to discover more ways to grow your business globally.

About the Author
authors photo

John Peterson

Managing Director,
Philippines, FedEx Express

John joined FedEx in 1997 in the Customer Experience Operations division. He has served in various positions in Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and is now based in Manila.

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