Fang Thai’s 5 Fundamental Factors to Help You Deal With Change
We recently caught up with the Founder and CEO of Fang Thai, an inspiring read on the changes COVID-19 has brought to her enterprise, and the fundamental quality of resilience she brings to it.
Resilience is important to business, especially for those that are small in size or just starting out. Why? Because a small starter enterprise usually has built up fewer resources and network to withstand financial or other hardship for a long period of time. Yet, its strength is also in its size: its flexibility. This elasticity allows for a quick response, a shift in tactics and making changes easily. Here Jaruwan shares the five fundamental factors that allow her business to endure and adapt.
1. Having a strong root
“In the best case scenario you will grow tall, worst case you can grow back another time.” she says. Fang Thai has strong community roots. Jaruwan, is a second-generation farmer herself. Her core product capitalizes farm waste, benefitting the community. In turn, the community is the source of the company’s main materials and manpower. This creates a deep understanding of her production line and suppliers at the level of an insider.
2. Be ready to diversify - look into your production line
By focusing on our end product we may overlook other parts of the production line, where new products can be found. In the case of Fang Thai, they took raw paper pulp – and used it for another core product line, which now makes them more money than the finished goods themselves. And, do not forget, technology, soft skills and tacit knowledge are products too, that can be sold!
3. There is more value in the value chain – look again into your value chain, you might find unexpected treasures
The value chain is not just an activity analysis. It comes down to how your stakeholders are doing. In these rapidly changing circumstances, you can learn more on how your vendors, distributors and customers are adjusting, and find unexpected opportunities, new groups of customers, or unexpected partnerships. For Fang Thai, the CEO recently learnt that a customer of her customer, a mulberry paper factory, is fading out of business due to changes in market preference. She then turned this into a business development opportunity.
4. The power of positive thinking
Yes, changes can be tough even if they are sometimes necessary. However, this does not mean it “should harden you or dim the light of your positivity”, says Jaruwan. Jaruwan advocates for positively, not blind optimism, having confidence in community and partners. This view on the positive side of things allows her to see a potential competitor as a collaborator, Instead of assuming she will lose business if others gain. She chose to focus on mutual benefit and sharing of profit.
5. Be prepared for the next episode
Lastly: be prepared for the ‘post’ crisis. As a leader of your organisation, you may want to allocate some time to sit down and reevaluate the overall situation and plan for the next steps. Take the opportunity of the operational downtime to find loopholes in your company and close them in order to prepare better for a more worry-free future. “We need to be ready for more orders, I am sure people will want to go out and spend more after it’s all over” she is certain.