#WayForward with Karoline Gross, CEO Smartzer, London, United Kingdom

In the #WayForward series, CEOs tell us what’s on their mind in coronavirus times. Read how Karoline Gross, CEO Smartzer, sees things.

Karoline Gross #WayForward visual

I thought the virus was a media hype and I kept being in denial until we started losing contracts. We have the right product for a time in which businesses need to make digitization leaps. But we mainly serve the luxury fashion industry and it went into freeze mode. As little investment as possible is currently being made. We lost a lot of business, reduced our fulltime staff from 17 to 11 and made sure we have a runway of 12 months in case we can’t make another deal.

The luxury industry is in a bad situation and my biggest concern is whether our business has a future. Short answer: We do if our clients do. Therefore, we have to hang in there and survival is the order of the day. In the meantime, we’ll stay in close contact with our clients and prospects.

My best tip for CEOs is to have complete transparency with the team. In our business, everybody knows how much money we have and what needs to be done in order to make it through the storm. Also, when you’re in doubt, make a decision one way or another. The worst thing is to stay in the middle and wait for what’s going to happen.

Karoline on new initiatives at Smartzer: “When we let people go, we kept our engineers on the team and they are now working on solutions that were in the pipeline but never made it to the top of the task list. Interestingly enough, media agencies seem to become a new client segment and we stay on it. We have also launched a much cheaper version of our product which works for smaller businesses – think of a boutique in Mallorca, for instance.”

#WayForward Table Of Contents: Click here to get to the #WayForward series’ Table of Contents with all the posts we did with CEOs plus recordings of media events where the WayForward insights are discussed.