by Viktor Andrukhiv – Ukrainian entrepreneur, co-founder of Fibermix and Savex Minerals.
The war in Ukraine put local businesses to the test, revealing both its strengths and weaknesses. Despite the uncertainty of the domestic market and the challenges of war, entrepreneurs have shown remarkable stability and flexibility. They have adapted to change and come up with innovative ways to keep their businesses afloat.
Despite the fact that the war is not over, Ukrainian companies are already preparing for their recovery. From small startups to large corporations, businesses of all sizes are creating and testing new strategies for growth and expansion. Their goal is to achieve success not only within the country but also abroad.
So what steps are these businesses taking to achieve this?
Adapting and Reinventing business Models
As Ukraine faces unstable times, businesses are quickly adapting their models to survive. Textile and metallurgical companies have shifted production to make military clothing and bunkers for the Armed Forces. Passenger transportation companies have also pivoted to provide services in other areas. Entrepreneurs are exploring new ventures to protect against losses and expand their production. Adapting to the needs of the moment is essential for businesses to weather uncertain times.
Creative approach and personalization
Entrepreneurs are finding new ways to stand out in the crowded market by personalizing their approach to potential customers. Fibermix, for example, used multilingual options on their website to reach a wider audience in the European community. This strategy helped communicate more effectively about the products and technical features, increasing sales and orders. As a result, Fibermix was able to expand into two new EU countries in 2022 and now supplies products to 14 countries globally.
In today’s business world, digital technology is seen as a catalyst for growth, and companies are leveraging cutting-edge IT solutions like AI, chatbots, and customer communication tools. In 2022, with the forced migration of Ukrainians, online shopping has surged in popularity, making it critical for businesses to have a digital presence. E-commerce offers entrepreneurs a safer alternative to physical stores, as they can showcase their products on online platforms and receive orders over the internet, avoiding the risks associated with opening additional brick-and-mortar stores.
In today’s fast-paced business landscape, building networks and fostering in-person connections are crucial. Amidst the ongoing war, Ukrainian entrepreneurs have been proactively offering each other valuable contacts and guidance. Some have even joined hands with former rivals, forging mutually beneficial partnerships to tide over logistical challenges and material shortages. Through such collaboration, businessmen have fortified their ventures and empowered each other to weather the storm.
Grants are now vital for businesses to survive, and in Ukraine, there are various programs from international and state donors. The funding ranges from $1,000 to several million dollars and can be used for start-ups, scaling, and development. While large businesses still rely on their own funds and investments, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can benefit greatly from these grants.
During the war, Ukrainian entrepreneurs turned to economic globalization as a key strategy for survival. By collaborating with foreign partners and exporting goods, many companies managed to keep their businesses afloat. An example is Fibermix, which receives nearly 70% of its orders from abroad. Today, many Ukrainian firms are pursuing growth opportunities in the EU and US markets, aiming to build businesses that can thrive both domestically and internationally.
Meeting International Standards
For Ukrainian companies eyeing the European market, meeting the EU’s strict certification and permit requirements is essential. In addition to these regulations, European customers place a premium on quality and reliability. So building a solid reputation is key. By adopting international business practices, Ukrainian businesses can not only expand their market but also drive a positive shift in the country’s overall business culture.
Despite the ongoing war, Ukrainian businesses are displaying remarkable resilience and determination to grow. It’s crucial to stay focused on business operations to sustain the economy during challenging times. Entrepreneurs are persevering with their hard work and innovative thinking and are already devising ambitious strategies to recover from the aftermath of the war.