First Person: How Dubai-Headquartered RAW Coffee Company Is Safeguarding Its Business Through The COVID-19 Crisis

As a wild generalization, entrepreneurs have an all natural tendency to charge ahead. However, during times of critical stress or crisis, instead of charging ahead, it really is more prudent to formulate a fresh business strategy.

This article has been built-in collaboration with Endeavor UAE. Endeavor is leading the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement to operate a vehicle long-term economic growth and build strong entrepreneurship ecosystems in growth markets by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the very best high-impact entrepreneurs.

As a wild generalization, entrepreneurs have an all natural tendency to charge ahead. However, during times of critical stress or crisis, instead of charging ahead, it really is more prudent to formulate a fresh business strategy.

As entrepreneurs, we generally have a blinkered focus, however now we have to stop, listen, and also have a broader approach, and rather than being single minded, we ought to drive ahead together with your entire team, ensuring each individual is in balance. By balance, we imply that we ought to not be purely financially driven, but that people should be taking into consideration the people who can help us to navigate these challenging times.

The secret is to keep the edge of agility with an extremely clear structure that’s well-planned and paced strategically, rather than changing pace continuously. Associated with that we must make sure that our key associates will be able to sustain the tempo. And it certainly helps to discover how to motivate them.

At our enterprise, RAW Coffee Company, all our senior associates have been subjected to an Insights Discovery team productivity assessment program, which includes helped us to comprehend how best to talk to them individually, how exactly to pay attention to them, and how they themselves pay attention to other folks. It has helped us know how they work from within and influence the dynamics of their teams. It’s been a remarkably valuable investment to make sure we are all attracting the same direction with the same visibility.

Importantly, we also need foot soldiers and solid corporate citizens, as times such as this imply that you are physically unable to personally manage everything yourself, and you will need good people on your own team. That said, you should dedicate at least 20% of your energy to things you don’t prefer to do! So, you must continue preparing in advance, and you must continue doing the standard day-to-day operational management of your company.

We run our business based, firstly, on cashflow. It is the initial thing we look at. During March, April, and could 2020, we ran a cashflow budget on an excel sheet, checking it daily as a team. We’d clear visibility of our finances, and we’d immediate clarity whenever we drastically reduced our expenses on all but critical expenditure. That said, we still budgeted and planned for investments in things that might be critical for our daily operation. Back January, when the first news of China’s problems reached us, we immediately setup IT solutions, including Microsoft Teams, security, and usage of our servers, so all we could continue working at home once the crisis found us.

We established regular team meetings with different departments, which resulted in us working extended hours and spending the majority of our time connected, nonetheless it helped us to keep an extremely close eye on everyone. We’ve realized that a few of our senior associates work extremely well from your home in isolation, as their output has been enormous, and they choose the independence and solitary workplace. We’ve also realized that others feed off the task environment, the noise, and the banter, and that some don’t have the maturity or focus to home based, but are effective if they are at work.

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Therefore, it really is ok to generate a plan, and to have to change it out. It is actually easier to have three plans for three scenarios, but to have thought each one through thoroughly. With this you can concentrate on the best execution at that time, rather than planning something new. Additionally it is a really good notion to have someone you could vocalize your plans with, somebody who can listen and won’t necessarily offer you an impression.

It really is beneficial to verbalize your ideas, even so you could hear it yourself, because folks are the most significant of themselves, particularly when hearing their own voices. So, we’d the very best case and the worst case scenarios, numerous large whiteboards assigning associates new roles and what-if scenarios, which allowed us to start to see the gaps or the issues prior to they arose.

We don’t have confidence in international reports, so we thought we would use our intuition also to listen and read as much relevant industrial specific news as we’re able to. To do this, you should be industry savvy within your own field, and also have a worldwide awareness and monitor older markets as a measurement. Speak to your team and customers as you’ll with any other human being- many conversations we’d were not business-focused, however they strengthened our solidarity and secured the relationships.

Within the UAE, in the specialty coffee industry, there are plenty of new players. Many run their businesses without considering or putting strategies set up for future growth. Their pricing reflects their current position, resources, and size, but will not include the intangibles that could allow them to build up their business for another stage. They haven’t viewed the next thing of their business, and also have been running very cash poor, counting on credit, so we are seeing many good smaller businesses closing.

Lean companies are wonderful and really should be admired, but there exists a fine line between lean and choked. The opportunity to continue to grow the business enterprise is crucial, and cash may be the fuel. Hoping an investor should come along just means you do all the effort for someone else’s gain.

We don’t consider our business mature at all. It’s a toddler which has just learned to walk. As its parents, we started "a school fund," despite the fact that we were "creating a new house." On many occassions, it could have been possible for us to spend the institution fund multiple times through the lean months that Middle East businesses need to endure every summer; however, this nest egg was among the things that gave us the breathing space from March to April 2020, and allowed us to action the prepared plans, whilst keeping we housed and fed.

Today, we’ve a totally different revenue model. We were lucky our business had multiple revenue divisions, as we’ve experienced a polar flip of where our money originates from. To think this can be a “new norm” is short sighted and lazy. We are back again to making three new plans predicated on possible scenarios that people have little if any influence over, with equal weighting on security and growth.

To conclude, it’s been an extremely busy and dynamic time, and luckily, as business partners, we’ve had our very own high’s and low’s at differing times, so we’ve had the opportunity to support one another and continue the forward momentum.

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