Key Advice To Small Business Owners During These Challenging Times By Carmine Cinerari

Small Business Canada

Carmine Cinerari is President of Sharp Electronics of Canada Ltd. and guides the vision and strategic direction of the company’s operations in Canada. His appointment as President in April 2008 made him the youngest president appointed to any Sharp global subsidiary.

Carmine began his career at Sharp Canada 24 years ago as a Product Manager for the company’s audio visual products. Since then, he has held progressively senior positions including Vice President of Consumer Products where he launched Sharp’s flagship AQUOS LCD TVs into the Canadian market. Prior to Sharp, Carmine held various positions of increasing responsibility in both wholesale and retail consumer electronics.

Carmine has steered the company successfully through a number of strategic shifts in business domains, operating models, and corporate strategy. His hands-on, collaborative approach has fostered a culture of teamwork, customer focus and valued business partner relationships.

Carmine attended Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology and completed Global Business Leadership studies through IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and Japan.


What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times? And what steps should they take to keep their small business afloat during the current crisis?

During these difficult times, small businesses should be mindful of the challenges facing employees and customers, personally and professionally. Business owners should contextualize the news cycle around the pandemic with some level of specificity as to what impacts it will have on their employees and customers. They should also demonstrate or drive creativity and quick action to make changes to operating, service delivery, sales, marketing and other processes on which they may have relied on in the past. For example, many organizations were forced to remotely deploy their entire operations overnight to ensure business continuity. While this can be perceived as reactionary management it could also spark positive thoughts on future improvements to your business including cost structure, process improvements, technology investments to improve productivity, etc.

Owners need to be sensitive to impacts of the pandemic on employees’ and customers’ personal wellbeing. A responsible empathetic approach during these times will increase loyalty during recovery. Your organization could be a source of structure and leadership during turmoil that will surely be appreciated by employees and customers.

You must recognize the responsibility to set or reset expectations and goals as you navigate your company through tough positive and negative business cycles. If the business cycle creates opportunities for your business, you have a responsibility to capitalize on them. If the business cycle has negative impacts on your business, you have to manage very carefully and sustain your company through it.

In terms of keeping the lights on, leaders should demonstrate a deep understanding of the economics impacting their business and a humble admission that financial predictability is very uncertain in the short-term. With the uncertainty of the economic impacts, owners should take firm control of their controllable items such as operating costs, inventory, and available government relief programs, for example.

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