My Company’s Revenue Dropped to $0 — and We Thrived with TripActions CEO Ariel Cohen (Video)

A crisis can strike at any time without warning, and it can be especially stressful when business leaders are not prepared for the unknown. Many businesses are struggling to survive after the pandemic triggered unprecedented challenges, crippling the global economy as a whole.

Companies that capitalized on these unique circumstances, however, have emerged stronger than ever by innovating new ways to sustain their business. Recovery from COVID has taught us that adapting and learning how to thrive in new ways in the face of change, whether good or bad, can lead to exponential growth. 

Ariel Cohen, CEO of TripActions, helps us remove the fear of navigating a crisis by breaking down foundational mindset shifts that leaders should adopt. He highlights the three key strategies that helped TripActions scale and boost their revenue.

1. Develop a well-defined vision

It’s normal for people to seek inspiration and leadership during times of uncertainty. They ultimately want to be assured of long-term stability. If you have a comprehensive, compelling vision, it will be easy for your teams to trust it and rally behind you.

“Without a proper vision and mission, it’s hard to convince your people to stick around through hard times.”

Your mission and vision should be embedded into the culture and practices of your organization, centering everyone around the same long-term goals. With a clear strategy for direction, stakeholders, employees, and customers can remain loyal and invest confidently, even during a crisis.

2. Define your crisis

The impact of a crisis can vary across companies, and each presents its own set of distinctive signs and symptoms. But before you can solve a crisis, you first need to define what the crisis is for your business specifically. 

“Crises will be different, but the strategies to move a business through them successfully are standard.”

Then, you will need to make a plan to move forward through your crisis. Here are four fundamental actions to consider for your risk management plan:

  • Use historical data, analysis, and established precedents to contextualize and estimate the scope. Studying how other companies handled a similar crisis is the best way to understand how your company needs to handle one.
  • Once you recognize the crisis, act swiftly and decisively. Double down on your decisions if needed and do not feel pressured to endorse methods that do not align with your framework.
  • Do not waste time developing a Plan B. Instead, your goal should be to create a structured business that is flexible and fast, without losing sight of its mission. Invest your energy into building a resilient team of people who work with you through unexpected challenges. 
  • Lean into your vision, mission, and culture. Put your employees and customers first by pivoting to meet their needs through innovative solutions.

3. Discover opportunities

After assessing and defining the crisis, lean into your vision to uncover new pain points to alleviate. By looking for opportunities to adapt and support your customers, you can shift the way you go to market and maximize your growth potential. This requires having a hyper-focus on long-term stability. You cannot assume that the crisis will be short-lived or merely disappear. Adjust and evolve your tactics to keep pace with current circumstances. 

“We must ask ourselves if we can innovate what our customers need from us.”

Let’s take a look at how TripActions built smart products that they were able to scale: 

  • Liquid is a travel and expense management tool that has accelerated market penetration. Released pre-pandemic, TripActions was able to adapt it to keep up with the evolving travel regulations during the lockdown. Today, Liquid has acquired more than 400 customers, is multiplying at a 40% rate monthly and is a market leader in the travel and expense space.
  • Remote work presented another opportunity. TripActions realized that the progressing need for offsite hybrid team meetings was indispensable. In response, they introduced Team Travel as an efficient solution for booking trips for entire teams. 
  • As travel restrictions were lifted, recreational travel rebounded while companies remained more cautious of engaging in business travel. TripActions expanded their business travel platform, Lemonade, to include access to users for personal trips and gain market share. Month over month, it is posting a 50% increase.
  • To invest in its user base, TripActions acquired Reed & Mackay to provide VIP white-glove travel services. This is designed to attract C-level executives with a high-end experience while remaining under the TripActions umbrella. Through this acquisition, TripActions can appeal to different markets by providing tailored solutions for all user needs. 

By holding on to its customer-centric vision and making data-driven decisions, TripActions increased its revenue streams through product innovation and expansion during one of the worst economic downturns in modern global history.

Forward-thinking beliefs can help you thrive

In the face of a crisis, remember that people need hope. Engaging your customers and employees in community-building campaigns is crucial to cultivating a resilient company. Integrate this mentality into your organization’s culture to ensure that your vision is unified with your people. Then, use it to inform your data-driven decisions on how to best adapt to any given situation.

Your company will inevitably encounter a crisis at some point. To prevail, you must mitigate the threat by shifting your mindset to effectively meet the challenges that occur. TripActions’ story illustrates that it is possible to enter into a crisis with zero revenue, adapt your operations, and emerge with a profitable, diversified product inventory.

Published on May 10, 2022

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