Every entrepreneur must have a story to tell, a lesson to share during this Lockdown Year 2020. Four more months to go and there is still no clarity of how the world will be once a cure is found for Covid-19. Will we bounce back to the old normal or will we embrace the new normal?
Looks like the virus is here to stay to remind us of all the things that we have taken for granted, but mostly to remind us that if you ever want to defeat an unknown enemy, you should first defeat it in your mind. Here’s what startupreneurs learned during the lockdown.
Light at the end of the tunnel
April 2020 was sheer pandemonium. The virus had instilled a deep fear in the recesses of our minds. None of the businesses, big or small, were prepared to shut down overnight. Most did. A business model like this had never existed before.
Home was the new office. Every mind set to work, to draw a plan, to build from scratch, if required. All hands were on deck now with their thinking caps on. Ideas were pulled and pitched across departments. The mindset changed and every employee began thinking like a mini boss. A few took the hard decision to shut a few centres and operate only from one, that too remotely.
Teams came closer virtually. The ones who survived the initial few months of the lockdown unscathed were the ones who turned mentors for the ones whose businesses or companies crashed.
And yet, looking back at April 2020, it feels like we have come a long way.
Online, virtual and remote
Most businesses had their presence online, but the pandemic made this presence more accountable now. If you already had a business online, now was your chance to fine-tune it more after studying your end consumer’s likes and dislikes during lockdown. UX and UI were the new matriarchs of the online ecosystem.
All interactions were online, virtual meetings took on a friendlier approach, people spoke about the challenges faced openly while operating from home.
The whole world moved online. Cloud kitchens sprung into action, online apparel delivery stores were quick to seize the consumer’s dilemma of trying to shop for clothes without having a reason to step out of home.
Online sales of sanitisers skyrocketed. Creative teams were creating copy and designs that were hard-hitting and brought in sales with zero spends on marketing.
Operations were supervised through online conferences and online procurement of raw material became a necessity with new quality assurance rules in place. Delivery apps locked cake deliveries at one kg as delivery was only possible on two wheelers as Ola and Uber had stopped services.
Home bakers came into prominence and realised that one needed a specialist to know how to deliver cakes without messing the icing. Every little thing made a huge difference when it came to your end users. When the going got tough, even fruits and vegetables got delivered along with groceries through contactless delivery.
The older generation who had never shopped for anything online, now learnt to order from the virtual aisles and shelves. New ways of local distribution opened up. Honest engagement with your users through social media became the lockdown mantra.
Offline windows closed to open new online windows of solutions.
Mental and physical health was and is wealth
The mental health of every entrepreneur was tested to the maximum. Originality, creativity and initiative, the three things that most entrepreneurs are known for, were put to test. It was a daunting task balancing business hurdles on a fulcrum of instability.
Every entrepreneur learned not to treat their struggles as their own but together as a team. Being healthy and building a strong immunity took precedence as both were required to stay focused. Home exercise videos surfaced with diet plans that were created anew.
Venting about your failures was acceptable behaviour. Letting out frustration through a game of online ludo was perfectly legit; playing with your pets and doing nothing for a change was a welcome respite. Building your mental and physical wellbeing inch by inch was much needed as that would help you bring renewed focus and fresh perspective to your business.
Perspective and pay cuts
If world economies survive this pandemic, they will get through anything at all in the future. Employees took 30% to 50% pay cuts and founders took a 100% pay cut.
It seemed like the whole planet was healing and it was time for everyone to follow suit. Businesses and people went into isolation. It also taught everyone to work with what they had in hand. Isolation brought into focus the inner journey to look within oneself, accept the situation for what it was and explore ways and means to overcome the challenges.
To conclude, as Maya Angelou said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” The rules of the game have changed and one is going to encounter numerous roadblocks and obstacles along the way, but all of us will have to learn to fly and give wing to hope to help us soar.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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