Sargam Dhawan Bhayana, a 26 year old entrepreneur already has a bag full of prestigious awards under her belt. The Cosmopolitan Beauty Award, the Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards, Garhwal Post Young Turk Award, the “Shepreneur” by both Outlook India and India Today magazines, are just a few that she has won over the years. Last year, she was awarded the Times Power Women 2020 award in the Young Entrepreneur in Beauty and Haircare category, in spite of the difficulties faced during the pandemic in expanding a new business. In 2021, she was also awarded the Indian Achiever’s Award for the Emerging Company for Tressmart Marketing Pvt. Ltd.
Covid-19 has been around for almost two years now. In addition to its impact on public health care systems the world over, Covid-19 has caused a major economic shock. It has been ten months since the first Covid-19 mass vaccination began and the percentage of people who have got the first dose remains fairly low especially in low-income countries. What this means for businesses world over is clear to every industry leader.
Small and large businesses alike, have been hit pretty bad since early 2020. Covid-19 pandemic has forever altered how organizations around the world operate. Mass layoffs and closures have already occurred in large numbers, starting in the beginning of the crisis and one reads about these events on a daily basis today also. On an average, businesses have reported having reduced their employment by almost 39% in places like the USA.
Organizations and businesses made big changes in response to the pandemic – and there is really no going back now. Executives have become more trusting of how much technology can do and all companies are pushing ahead with digital transformation. Today, even customer behaviour has changed, they prefer shopping and customer service interactions to be online rather than face – to – face experiences.
Of Course, Covid-19 has not impacted all organizations and industries equally. A lot of companies are thriving and a lot are languishing. Some e-commerce companies have seen a growth rate of almost 78%, the health related sectors have also come out as winners.
Telecommunication and media have seen growth too. And of course, travel and transportation sectors have taken a big hit during and post pandemic.
However, we can all agree that the pandemic was a wake-up call, a bitter reality for a lot of people, painful, costly and still unresolved. Today’s businesses have to accept pandemic induced changes, change their business strategies and styles of management, their operations and their budgetary priorities. There is no going back to what used to pass as normal in the past. Today’s business leaders have to prepare their businesses for this ongoing uncertainty, disruption and never ending changes.
I am a Director at Tressmart, an online portal for everything hair related, and I launched my start up post Covid-19 in the year 2020. I faced many challenges, but came out on top, launched many new and innovative brands on my platform, saw exponential growth in the first year of launching and managed to win a few awards down the line too. Any smart business leader has to react in real time. This is the new normal, however abnormal it may seem. There is no time for nostalgia and harping over what used to be. I have a host of tips that I follow and would like to share, in order to not just survive but thrive after this exhausting year.
- It is most important to enable one’s workforce in new ways. Work from home is the new normal and full support should be given to every employee in this endeavour. Working from home sounds like a cake walk, but it really isn’t. Creating the right balance, laying emphasis on the mental health of employees and their well being is the most crucial step to take.
- Proving to be a good leader is key. One has to drive trust in their employees and find new ways to be an inspirational leader. Get your employees to trust you so they flourish under you and are able to give their best to their organization. Organize training sessions that mentor them and improve their skill set. Have regular video calls with your team and keep them motivated.
- Go digital. Every person and business has gone online. E Commerce that thrived during the pandemic. Reskill your sales staff in order to cater to customers online and provide full support to remote selling.
- Understand your customer. Without customers there is no business, so treat them like they are kings. Figure out what your customer wants – for example, in the case of ecommerce, if your customer wants free deliveries, offer it to them when possible.
- Recognise revenue opportunities. The mindset of consumers across the world is similar. There are certain triggers that prompt them to shop or avail of services. Launch targeted campaigns for different types of consumers, have loyalty programmes that make your customers come back only to you, adjust pricing and have seasonal and festive sales and promotions regularly, offer an end to end solution for your customer which also keeps their health and safety in mind in terms of contact less deliveries.
- Offer flexible payment terms. Today everyone wants to avail of this option even for consumables. It is great to have tie ups with banks that allow one to pay EMI’s.
- Digitize your operations. This is the future. One sees a significant benefit in productivity, quality and end-customer connectivity. It is expensive initially to digitize both in terms of time and resources, but it really is the way forward.
- Take action and move fast. There is no choice now but to make quicker decisions. Thinking out of the box has never been more important. Innovation is key not just in terms of products being sold but in every aspect of running a company.
Every business now is a technology business. Technology is revolutionizing how organizations relate to their customers. In the past year, there has been a transformation in the way we interact with not just our customers, but our employees as well. For any business to survive and thrive today, it is important to navigate this post Covid-19 environment by reimagining how to operate, organise and use technology as we return to work slowly and steadily.