An Entrepreneur's Journey through COVID-19
With the country's economy going through the toughest turbulence, every company is facing an impending plight that is going to make things different. While the coronavirus has become one of the greatest losses of human lives recently, the virus has also deeply infected the world's industrialization. Today, the reality is twisted with such adversity that it is becoming difficult to think ahead of a future that doesn't carry the impact of COVID-19. This is surely one of the hardest times for everyone and definitely for the entrepreneurs. Known to find success through risks, entrepreneurs are now juggling with their company's future and employee well-being. In recent news, the economic times reported that the Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences (CIMBS) said it received at least 50 calls from entrepreneurs and CEOs/CXOs of small, medium and large enterprises in the last 15 days against the normal average of just a couple of calls in a month.
This isn't just the anxiety of business continuation but also about the survival of companies through this time. As an entrepreneur myself, I am amidst several out-turns that may come my way. But I feel it is time to think differently. While the pandemic has created a dent in our growth that will take months to recover; this is also a time to prepare for backup plans. I remember a similar situation from the great depression of 2008 when it felt almost impossible to see the world stand again. However, it did. And from what I learned from that time is to be a bit patient and be smarter. A company goes through a series of processes, and downfalls are an integral part of that journey. So, I believe this pandemic is such another downfall that may take a while to be recovered from but can also be a time to sit back and prepare. While my team has initiated programs of research and learning sessions within the team as well as with guest professionals, it allowed me to learn the newer and other aspects of my industry.
With a company that deals with workplace design, most of our construction works have halted due to the lockdown but, we thought of utilizing the time to come up with new avenues for the company. That led us to think of newer designs that can make offices survive such pandemics in the future. The point that I want to refer here is that a crisis can be the perfect time to think beyond the working graph of your company. It can be that precious pausing moment where you can actually divert the progression of your company.
While dealing with these times, I learned three necessary things that every entrepreneur should follow.
1. Getting together on this one- Company leaders need to be together in the crisis. Having a team that stands with you can get you through any difficulty. So, it is important to be on the same page. If you are planning for change in policies or introducing new factors to the working of the company, discuss it with the team. It is also important to follow your contemporaries at this time. Since it is a global crisis, everyone is in this together. You can follow and even talk and discuss with other entrepreneurs about their survival strategies. After all, there is always something new to learn, to improve.
2. Prepping up for a backup- It was after the 2008 recession that people became aware of a global crisis. But then again, they weren't really prepared for it. That is why after 12 years when an unprecedented crisis knocked on our doors we have no means to escape. This makes us realize that for every company there must be a backup plan to operate and survive such times. This means we all need to be preparing ourselves for a worse future. It is on the leaders to create a plan B, or perhaps a plan C to make sure their company, as well as their teams, stand through all these times.
3. Accepting the truth- Another thing I learned in this pandemic is to accept and embrace the situation and not panic. Your employees are probably already in a state of distress with the news of people losing their jobs, so they would need to hear your words of motivation. And that is possible only when you are accepting what is going on. While the big companies might survive the pandemic without many changes, the smaller businesses may be altered permanently. So, the right thing is to understand the exigency of the crisis and embrace it. This also means you being transparent to your workforce of the impending future.
It is a sudden reality that we are facing and I know none of us was prepared. But now when we are in this, we got to find a better way out. We have to be united and we have to be smart enough to know how to direct the course of our company. Remember, this can be the time when you as a leader get to be the hope and probably, the direction to a new journey of your organization.