The coronavirus epidermic in China presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to retool themselves and prepare for the growth that lies ahead when the outbreak subsides. “Reflect on what you really want, what you have and what you need to give up, or stick to,” Ma said.
Ma told students to “learn digital working methods” and “adopt internet technology.”
Alibaba launched its Taobao online shopping platform in 2003 when China was locked down during a nationwide outbreak of Sars.
Ma also channelled Kyocera Corporation’s founder Kazuo Inamori, whose management and leadership turned the television component maker into one of Japan’s largest companies.
Inamori had five strategies for companies during times of recession, according to Ma:
Strategy One: Every employees should turn to sales
Every employee should turn to sales, to arouse latent demand among clients, Ma cited Inamori in saying. "Even in a company with tip-top technology, selling a product is still the foundation of the company's operation," Inamori said. "It is impossible to get orders during recessions if employees lack the spirit in making all-out efforts for clients."
Strategy Two: Spare no effort to develop new products
A recession is a golden opportunity for companies to innovate and expand sales. "Clients are too free during a recession. They will also propose new ideas after listening to yours. This would create orders that you never imagined before, so that you can expand your business."
Strategy Three: Radical cost cuts
Recession is the only chance to cut costs, as every employee would strive to make it happen, Inamori said. "You need to lower the break-even point of the whole company by making efforts to reduce production costs," Inamori said. "If a company can maintain profitability when the turnover is halved, it would be even more profitable when sales returns to normal."
Strategy Four: Maintain high production rate Companies should maintain their usual high productivity rate even in times of recession, by reassigning excess labour from the production line to other tasks to maintain the cadence and vibe of the work cycle. "Once productivity drops, it would not be easy to restore," Inamori said.
Strategy Five: Establish favourable interpersonal relations
"The most important thing for managing a company is the relationship between the manager and employees," Inamori said, adding that employers must "love and protect" employees, while employees need to understand the manager, they need to help and support each other.
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During the Computing Conference 2016 held in Hangzhou on 13 October, Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, reviewed the technological progress in the past few years and predicted that the future would be mainly about new type of retailing, manufacturing, finance, technology and resource. Development in these five areas will impact not only China, the world beyond, but also every one of us.
1. New type of retailing. Traditional retailing face rising challenge from e-commerce in modern metropolis because it fails to seize the opportunity and adapt to the future trend. Traditional business only dwells on the past, but don’t know how to adapt to new technologies, how to cooperate with internet companies and how to make us of big data technologies, etc. Whether we admit it or not, traditional retailing business, featured by real estate, will certainly be challenged in the future. If it is not today, then it will be someday in the future.
2. New type of manufacturing. For the past two or three decades, scale and standard are attached high importance to; in the next three decades, however, customized, personalized and smart service will be the new trend. The second wave of technological revolution will occur in IoT field. In the future, machines depend not on electricity, but on data. Besides, as retailing industry evolves, manufacturing industry will also gradually transform from B2C-based to C2B-based.
3. New type of finance. Finance industry was the very support for industrial growth in the past two centuries. In the past, development of 20% of small and mid-sized companies could promote development of 80% of world economy. In the future, however, the core focus of finance industry should become how to facilitate development of 80% of small and mid-sized companies. After the birth of internet finance, equality and transparency will be valued more, thus traditional finance industry will certainly face some challenge.
4. New type of technologies. After the emerge of mobile internet, PC chips evolved into mobile chips, while PC operating system also evolved into mobile operating system. In the past, machines depend on electricity; in the future, data will be at the core of any new type of technology. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data will only broaden the room of imagination for the mankind.
5. New type of resources. In the past, petrol and coal were the foundation of development; in the future, new energy and data will be at the core of any development. Dr Wang Jian once said that this was the first time human kind created a new type of resources. In the past, resources others had used would become useless; today, however, data other people used would only become more valuable if we use it well.
"The worst people to serve are the Poor people.
Give them free, they think it's a trap. Tell them it's a small investment, they'll say can't earn much. Tell them to come in big, they'll say no money. Tell them try new things, they'll say no experience. Tell them it's traditional business, they'll say hard to do. Tell them it's a new business model, they'll say it's MLM. Tell them to run a shop, they'll say no freedom. Tell them run new business, they'll say no expertise.
They do have something in common: They love to ask google, listen to friends who are as hopeless as them, they think more than an university professor and do less than a blind man. Just ask them, what can they do. They won't be able to answer you.
My conclusion: Instead of your heart beats faster, why not you just act faster a bit; instead of just thinking about it, why not do something about it.
Poor people fail because on one common behaviour: "Their Whole Life is About Waiting". Jack Ma
During this challenging time, this is a good reminder to you and your team.
There are always opportunities in crisis. Just keep on looking and most importantly, stop complaining.
China’s biggest e-commerce company is going public. With a valuation that could reach USD200 billion, Alibaba could be the second-largest Internet company in the world, behind only Google. The man behind Alibaba is Jack Ma, a former English teacher.
There are many management and entrepreneurial lessons to be learned from Jack Ma. Check out this interesting article: Billionaire Jack Ma teaches you how to be successful in life and business.
The journey of Jack Ma in Alibaba can be viewed in this movie (full movie coming soon): Crocodile in the Yangtze.
Here is Jack Ma, who delivered the closing keynote address "China 2.0: Transforming Media and Commerce", hosted by the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, on 30 September 2011.
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