AP Interview Room

Surviving the pandemic: business expands with the help of Autopilot

Jessica Leung

Jessica Leung

Enjoy Catering Services Limited

While companies struggle to survive through COVID-19, there is an uncommon leader like Jessica, who has decided to transform and expand its business at this difficult time, and succeeded in spinning-off new services and improving her business in terms of brand awareness and internal communications. This makes management of other companies curious to know about the secret of her success, and the catalyst is the Autopilot Leadership Model (AP).

Jessica, founder of Enjoy Catering Services Limited, shares that AP allows SMEs which have been in business for only a few years like hers, to break through the bottlenecks and even expand during difficult times.

Evaluate strengths and difficulties to find a way out

Over the past few years before the pandemic, Jessica was satisfied with providing catering service as her solo type of business, but the sudden strike of COVID-19 has led to a 90% drop in sales within a few months, forcing her to search for a way out. Finally, she found the solution through adopting AP, and to her surprise, the outcome of applying AP was amazingly beyond her expectations - not only solved the operational difficulties she was facing; but also enabled her business to grow beyond by diversifying into new directions like never before.

"During the AP journey, for the first time ever, I honestly listed out the bottlenecks and strengths my business has. Then, item-by-item, the facilitator guided me to view from multiple angles using AP, which I was truly inspired by this experience so different from other workshops."

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Moving forward is the only way to survive

After listing the internal strengths and concerns of the company and analyzing the external environmental trends with other participants, Jessica was delighted to identify a plenty of potential development opportunities appeared in front of her that was unnoticed before. She then fully utilized her food manufacturing factory to develop a new retail business of producing healthy frozen food packs. As large-scale gatherings were forbidden during the pandemic in Hong Kong, she therefore changed her target customers from big parties to small families, leveraging the existing customer base to promote the company's new service.

"There is no way for my company to survive if I never self-reflected, and I am so happy with this new business model." Jessica remembered that, enhancing digital promotion was the only way she could think of before, but AP has inspired her to make fundamental strategic changes.

Now Jessica's company, in addition to the original catering service, also produces her own brand of healthy frozen chicken-pot instant packs, which has successfully entered many chain supermarkets in Hong Kong in just one year. In addition, Jessica was also invited to give a culinary performance in the Hong Kong media and received many media interviews to share her success. All these have greatly enhanced the company's reputation and new opportunities came to her one after another. "At first, I just wanted to survive the pandemic, but now my business has turned a loss into a profit and exponentially grown to new heights I have never imagined."

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Self-reflection is a must for a change

Willing to change in the mentality is the major reason why Jessica was able to grow her business against the market trend, it was the first step to evolve her business. She shared how puzzled she originally was when the facilitator asked executives to think of the reason that hindered the growth of their companies, and whether the boss themselves may in fact be one of the key obstacles.

It may not be easy to be as humble as Jessica, having the tolerance to reflect on herself, especially in asking boss to admit that there may be something wrong with their way of management. However, Jessica believes that a true leader has to be self-reflective enough, in order to allow transformation in the existing business model and company culture to happen.

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“Let-go” creates triple win

Jessica described herself a manipulative boss in the past, demanding employees to follow each and every procedure she has instructed. Now she learns to think from the perspective of employees and let them make daily operational decisions, while she still plays a leading role in strategic decisions involving such as the core direction of the company, selection of ingredients and seasoning methods, etc. "I was too insisted on the minor things and put a lot of pressure on my staff in the past. They feel happier at work now and I feel good too because I can make fewer decisions.” She can more time to focus on the company’s innovative future after she has learned to let-go.

This Autopilot Leadership culture transformation has brought a triple win to Jessica’s company, in terms of business performance, degree of employee happiness at work and personal satisfaction, which have been improved and elevated.

Autopilot reminds SME bosses to be objective

As a SME owner, Jessica understands its general operational challenges: "As SMEs are often understaffed, it is difficult for bosses to think outside the box using a fresh mindset and get inspired.” She believes that Autopilot Leadership can encourage SME bosses to think and act in a more objective manner, as she realized some leaders are often too subjective without noticing they may make wrong decisions leading to the discontent of staff. The AP model can also help leaders to analyze the strategic development direction of their companies by taking external and internal factors into consideration. While engaging team members during the process of strategic development, employees can also be inspired and learn to act for the good of the company with ownership.

"Autopilot Leadership is a journey for companies to do better, one step at a time. Leaders can fine-tune their management style after each workshop, guiding them to set short, medium and long-term goals and make realistic plans for their business.”

If you also wish to explore how Autopilot Leadership can inspire your company, transform its culture, and lead it to success and achieve business continuity, schedule a one-hour free consultation session with us today via hi@allab.com.

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