César Vera
Chief Commercial Officer
Naviera Integral
Expert Contributor

Growing in the O&G Sector During These Times of Uncertainty

By César Vera Méndez | Tue, 05/25/2021 - 14:15

When many uncertainties loom on the horizon, should we brace for impact, step back, or come forward with a fearless attitude?

At these times of global political upheaval and industry shake-ups with a twist of health concerns, growing in the O&G sector might sound unrealistic, especially with renewable energies emerging and solidifying their position. But as lawyers would say, consider the contract in its entire context, not just the standalone clauses. The solution has always been about providing balance, diversifying and making room for all contributing actors. All energy sources have strengths and weaknesses. The right combination of all of them can compensate one another.

Getting back to basics has proven to be a key approach in every business practice, so let us do precisely that.

First, regain control of time.

We surround ourselves with social media, business media, good old e-mails, and more recently, virtual meetings that take place one after the other during the day and every day. That leads to lots of discussion followed by several transactions that you were unable to attend due to “work” meetings. So, evaluate how you and your team spend your time. This simple task will help you stay focused on the tasks that can actually grow your business. Just like in our gardens, we need to pull the weeds, and from the root, before they take over the space where the grass should grow. Virtual meetings and technological media are powerful tools that serve a productivity purpose when we are in control of them but not when they control our time; hence, deviating us from our focus.

Number two, know your numbers and keep quality control in order. Key financial numbers and other KPIs need to be clear and readily available so you can make the appropriate changes quickly. Keeping tabs on your expenditures, cash flow projections, profit margins and tax estimates would reduce the number of surprise costs. That includes your quality control. Define what "high-quality" means for your company and its offerings, train your staff — yes, that is not a cost but an investment — and supply them with both the information and equipment to do their jobs well, under that clearly defined umbrella of high quality. Also, allow your team to identify room for improvement and propose those tweaks and upgrades that would result in improved efficiency.

Third, refine your business plan and recognize your opportunity for growth. Adjust your strategies to your business’ current situation so you can update your value proposition. Start by talking to your customers; they know what they need from you right? Also research your competitors and conduct a SWOT analysis. A truly honest one, not a sugar-coated version. Once your strategy is realigned, your opportunity for growth will become clearly evident. Watch for the signals: customers demanding services and customers complaining. What is their need? What is their pain?

The next, final step is very important: Prepare for multiple outcomes. That means aim high, outline your plan but with a flexible mind, be prepared to pivot, withdraw or expand. Keep asking, “what if,” not to panic or immobilize yourself but to be ready should external factors emerge. Most vehicle accidents happen when drivers set themselves in automatic mode rather than keeping their eyes moving and anticipating all factors so they can be ready to act and in the worst case, react, but with a trained mind. That’s a big difference.

In summary, think big and plan with achievable milestones, celebrate each one and remember, one learns from mistakes not from success, so be ready to accept your “fails” and learn from them; that is the reason for breaking a big goal into smaller ones.

Is this applicable for every sector of the energy industry? Sure it is, and for every industry. Let’s discuss real cases and exchange examples.

Photo by:   Cesar Vera