Amidst the chaos, shutdowns, and fears of financial ruin, I find many people surrounding me wondering if they are staring down the barrel of a coronavirus led recession. Several can slowly be seen sinking into a state of depression and worry. These are trying times for all of us.
As businessmen and senior industry officials, one has to juggle the stress of profits, losses, salaries, layoffs and perhaps even bankruptcy for small businesses in this time period. The road to recovery will definitely be a long one, not free of tangles but I believe there are small measures of control we can take to make it a more positive, healing and beneficial process, which is easier on us. The way I see it, every global crisis ultimately creates a new normal, one which we can help mold and be a part of. Every disruption, every problem gives root to new opportunities. In light of COVID-19 and its destruction, I do feel it necessary to highlight certain positive opportunities that have arisen.
For instance, in the business sphere, we see chances for:
INNOVATION AT ITS BEST: This period of layoffs, risk, and financial stress presents the needs for businesses to develop a unique, competitive edge in order to stay afloat and recover from their losses once business as usual resumes. This is especially relevant for SMEs and MSMEs. In order to survive, this is a good time for them to prepare their strategy and recollect themselves before heading into battle. Once recovery starts, everyone will have put their best foot forward so it is essential to work on capturing an edge.
SMART MARKETING: While some brands put a hold on operations altogether, many including me, see this as an opportunity to market your brand with the right strategy. With people spending maximum time browsing/ shopping online, it is a great period to boost your social media efforts and ad campaigns to reach a wider audience. Marketing cleverly right now will help establish the credibility of your brand for now and times to come.
LEARNING NEW TECHNOLOGY: With much time on our hands in this scenario, it is a great opportunity to learn new technologies, software, enroll for online courses and even learn how to operate apps from one another sitting at home. How many of us actually know how to use Microsoft Word or Excel to a great extent? This is an opportunity to sharpen our technological understanding, explore technologies such as CRM and build our skills portfolio, an effort that will definitely pay off in the future.
REMOTE WORKING: Remote working is the new norm and it is here to stay. While I do find it difficult, not seeing my employees face-to-face on a daily basis, being forced to work from home has been enriching and has enforced new working norms. We find that conference calls are efficient substitutes for time-consuming meetings, negotiations and deals are conducted and concluded faster and employees feel a sense of autonomy as they work to effectively meet deadlines and finish their tasks.
GIVING WINGS TO MAKE IN INDIA: We have been lamenting the lack of jobs in India for a long time now. This crisis may give us a chance to explore local production, local assets and strengthen the economy through homegrown initiatives and groundbreaking public-private partnerships. India has skilled resources. If we give enough thrust, we can expand production, trade, eventually invite investments and create huge job opportunities in our country.
FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION: In the coming months, many projects will be stalled, there will be lesser demand and fewer walk-in inquiries for real estate. In the long-term, commercial leasing may have a better outcome as many international investors still look to India to set up businesses and bases. In light of this, I believe that modular, prefabricated construction will have an edge as the industry finds itself reeling from a lack of projects and laborers who cannot be set to work immediately. Businesses must use this time to make calculated assessments and prepare for the road that recovery will take.
While the future right now may appear bleak and dire, at some point, coronavirus will come to pass. It will be difficult and many will have incurred losses that can never be compensated or recovered from. In this scenario, it is important to understand the magnitude of the situation and work on ourselves, our lives and lend others a helping hand so that we can collectively build a new normal with positivity and optimism, one that we can work to sustain and thrive in