Croatian Entrepreneurs — Readiness to Change and New Ways of Doing Business

What is the awareness of the new functioning of the market and the willingness for necessary changes?

One of the long-term goals of UGP is the development of entrepreneurial, proactive, and creative culture and mindset. We have identified the various training needs of our members, and with the development of the Association, this will undoubtedly become one of the most significant advantages. Given that we are facing a large-scale crisis in a global context, aside from focusing on short-term measures for the survival of companies, we wanted to turn to the changes that will be required in the medium or long term. Considering the unpredictability of the time ahead, it is necessary to strengthen the capabilities of entrepreneurs and their firms in several ways — through new knowledge, attitudes, relationships, values, and interests. To get as much information as possible about the entrepreneur’s current activities related to the upcoming period, we asked them, “What are entrepreneurs doing with their business to prepare/adapt to the new circumstances?”

The most significant number of our members, 46% responded that they are optimizing current business processes and human resources, which is very logical and necessary. About 20% said they are developing new methods or remodeling old ones, while 3% is changing the customer pool, which is a slightly higher level of innovation, but the question remains, will this be enough? 11% of responders say they are changing the entire structure of the firm to adapt, and here we can add some just above 5% of those who say they are completely changing both the market and services and are turning to new deals. Relatively small, but not negligible 8% take the financial support and wait for the situation to normalize, and about 5% plan to close the company and transfer their business to another country.

“What are entrepreneurs doing with their business to prepare/adapt to the new circumstances?”

These results leave room for moderate concern. Even though more than 60% of firms are making some changes, only 16% of them are considering the sharp turns that would be required in the worst-case scenario. Of course, it seems that this threatens to disappear more than 13% of firms that passively wait for the situation to develop and hope or leave the country.

Given this situation, it was also logical to check what entrepreneurs thought might lead to their launch and help them start looking for new business models and faster changes that would be required. We got polarizing but very interesting answers to this question: more than 57% understand that measures are not a long-term solution and that they should be canceled relatively quickly (in a matter of months) because people avoid changes until they are forced to. The second answer is given by 23% of respondents who think the opposite — that it is necessary to extend existing measures as long as possible to get time for the required transformation. We believe this is a good indicator of how awareness is growing. It’s becoming clear that dependence on government subsidies can’t last and that entrepreneurs will have to be even more entrepreneurial.

What will encourage you to search for the new business models?

Finally, we asked our members, “How much time and energy have you invested in developing new ideas and ways of doing business over the past few months?”

About 55% said that they are actively working on new business opportunities and that this is their primary focus, which we think is the right answer. Just above 26% admitted that they did very little to deal with it and mostly focused on crisis and survival. A moderate 14% have adapted somewhat, but plan to continue working on it, and again 3% say their option is to go to another country.

“How much time and energy have you invested in developing new ideas and ways of doing business over the past few months?”

At a time when the necessary reforms are expected to be implemented by the new Government, and in a situation that has already caused the departure of some foreign firms (the latest case is Meggle), it is clear that the fight for the economy and maintaining the quality of life will be tough and will require complete solutions. As a country, we must become more competitive, the four postulates of UGP must be implemented to facilitate business, reduce bureaucracy and administration, ensure that justice is better and faster met, and control all costs well while avoiding clientelism. On the other hand, this will also not be enough if entrepreneurs themselves do not take huge steps and change the strategies and ways of doing business, and some of the industries in which they work. Because of this, UGP supports the lifelong education and progress of the entrepreneurs, which it will also actively work on, hoping to create a positive entrepreneurial climate in the country as soon as possible. If that does not happen, and from these figures, you can calculate black scenarios and a drop in GDP, which will be estimated in tens of percentage points.

Ph.D. Student. National AI Capital Researcher. Human Resoucres, Psychology, Entrepreneurship, MBA…