Faced with a large idle capacity and a huge drop in consumption, many SMEs fear taking wrong steps. Various experts explain here the keys to optimize management.

Sandra Felsenstein is the leader of the DINKA consultant, which specializes in SMEs. And he stresses that precisely that for some time "our clients tell us that they need greater efficiency. Something positive about moments of crisis is this approach to rethink the business model, to consider issues that you would not otherwise think about. Because after that, that learning will become an asset ”, Explain. Bring two customer cases: one, of the plastics industry, who urgently needed to implement innovative actions, so as not to be relegated by their clients ”. The other, dedicated to merchandising, recently discovered that it needed to be updated through research in national and foreign markets, to know how it was innovating in the segment.

Regarding the types of problems that usually occur in these acute crises, Felsenstein groups them into three groups: economic / financial, human / organizational and commercial resources. To the first type of difficulties, which synthesizes as a reduction of margins (the economic) and liquidity (the financiers), the expert emphasizes the need to put the focus "on selling better instead of selling more". In this way, the terms of payment with suppliers and collection with customers must be renegotiated. ” With one of our clients, of the food item, we recently did intensive work to identify, among its great mix of products, which ones had the best margins. That allowed them to then focus efforts on them and significantly improve their profitability ”, Explain.

Regarding problems in human resources, DINKA leader detects that SME entrepreneurs are often tempted to “downsize and take on various operational tasks themselves, in which they must spend several hours of their time. But we always tell them that the entrepreneur's hourly value is too expensive for that., and also these tasks prevent him from dedicating himself to strategic issues, much more important to get ahead. On the other side, it is crucial that they transmit tranquility and security to the work team, showing that the businessman is personally committed to leading the current difficult situation. It is in these situations that our people must feel most empowered, to get through and overcome the difficult period. ” And regarding the commercial, the consultancy opens the game between suppliers and clients. About the first, dice Felsenstein, in good times, people don't usually put the magnifying glass. But when the potatoes start to burn, you have to rethink payment terms, review the usual processes and, eventually, look for new alternatives. And regarding customers, the energy must be especially to retain the current ones instead of conquering new ones.

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