Shashwat Diesh, Co-Founder, Powerhouse91

Shashwat has been a part of the startup sector since 2012. After graduating from R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore, unlike most people, he chose a different path and joined a small ride-hailing company at the time called Ola Cabs in which he was one of the first 100 employees, followed by a stint at Snapdeal. Having a knack for problem-solving along with experience in business development and operations, Shashwat introduced many innovative and competitive products while working with Ola and Snapdeal. His strategic initiatives helped the company grow across different verticals in a cost-effective manner. Using the learnings & knowledge from his past experience and having witnessed the journey of evolution of a small startup to a household name, Shashwat embarked on his own entrepreneurial journey. After multiple failed attempts in different sectors, Shashwat came across an interesting opportunity in 2018 when he overheard his sister complaining about the discomfort caused due to regular sanitary napkins available in India. His subsequent research into the field made him realize the extent of health and hygiene issues women face.

 

With a domineering sense of uncertainty in the post-pandemic world, business owners ponder on their what, whens, and most importantly, hows for their businesses returning back to normalcy. But after taking a huge hit amidst the tragedy of COVID-19, manifesting the comeback for the seemingly obsolete forms of doing business may not be the best recovery strategy.

Even as the number of new business registrations have predictably dropped during economic crashes like these, beyond the many casualties, innumerable start-ups and businesses have flourished and emerged successful from much worse periods of crisis. Start-ups and newly established businesses have proven to be catalysts for the fragile economic state during these immensely troubled and trying times. Young companies account for a noteworthy percentage of new employment and undoubtedly simulated productivity growth with their innovative practices to tackle the obstacles and chaos ensued due to the outbreak of this catastrophic pandemic. 

The determined start-ups and new businesses have held their ground and stayed afloat with their purposeful restructuring of functions and organizations. Organisations should take the misfortune of the pandemic with a stride as most businesses modified themselves with out-of-the-box tactics to outshine on the overtly competitive digital platforms.

I believe knowledge is power but only if it’s shared! So let’s take a look at some of the ‘hows’-pragmatic solutions and practices to sustain and grow in the new normal. 

Most organizations have been forced to reassess and rethink their operating models that lead to clearer goals, focused teams, and rapid decision making that will help maintain long-term competitive advantage for their businesses over others. Creating a work environment that values the safety of its employees, reiterating a shared sense of purpose and a common performance culture between both -the leaders and the employees, having clear vision for what the company stands for; beyond shareholder value, all may seem short-term and unnecessary but when executed well, will evolve your business into a well-oiled machine with all parts running smoothly to accelerate your success. 

A reflection on the network of individual teams and the workforce provides a certain insight into the rudimentary building blocks of the business and further, the changes that can be implemented which will support better functionality. Decentralization and delegation of decision making is more effective and practical for a critical upper hand in the cut-throat world of business. 

Moreover, organizations that have shifted from closed one-to-one  relationships to digital platforms and networks have proven to sustain their mutually beneficial partnerships and foresee a persevering headway, even much after the crisis. Adopting to virtual operations and embracing every digital facility available are catalysts for a magnified success rate.  

Another revolutionary proactive action that helps stimulate the recovery process is prioritizing revenue sources. Developing customer centric operations and launching targeted campaigns that help win back loyal customers through various digitized channels advances service outcomes, and enhances the overall experience of employees and customers, both. 

The pandemic has reinstated the prominent influence of customer engagement and feedback on brand image. Forward-thinking businesses have streamlined and strengthened their customer interaction processes by reallocating their time and money on adjusting different pricing and offering promotions, educating and skill enhancement of sales workforce to support remote selling, creating flexible online payment terms, creating automated virtual sales channels to boost sales. All of the aforementioned procedures will remain futile if your business does not break down customer associated barriers that prevent productivity and stagnate customer connectivity. 

The current crisis has also incentivized many companies to proceed urgently and surge their productivity to gain the much needed competitive advantage that have propelled and advanced their businesses. The need to act with urgency and arise to the situation with practical strategies have never been more crucial than now. Forming competent cross-functional teams and elevating skills that are designed to establish a concrete recovery plan and blue-print are necessary to shape efficiency for your business. 

After the polished business operations and functions, it is of essence to remain resilient and anchored to the new up and running operations. One must also brace for any new challenges and potential obstacles in the future. Adapting to new digital methodologies and keeping up with customer-demand patterns by consistently staying updated is an indispensable aspect of the recovery process. 

As employees have learnt to adapt to new functions and operations across the board, they were to quickly acquire the process of completing tasks remotely, making use of already well-established and organized digital communication and collaboration tools. Individuals have only seen remodeling in the operations domain since the past year -with an abrupt plummet in manual and repetitive tasks. An advancement for analytical and technical support didn’t just become a need, but a must. This transition, quite evidently, required a monumental shift of investment in workforce engagement and training in new skills to learn digital tools. 

Now with more offices set to open in the next few months, the question still irks all business owners “Are we back to normal again or is it another phase of ‘calm before the storm’?”.  It would appear as though things look like they are getting back to what they once were but the new embedded sense sounding the alarm with any setback may never diminish. The largely established organisations are considering hybrid working models, as even employees weigh their options on their preferred style of work. This is more tangible in businesses with young parents and people belonging to and residing in other states. They seek out support and negotiate with their managers for a more permanent work-from-home employment that is practicable for both.

The dire and crucial need for essential and transformatory policies to recover from short-term and long-term challenges both. They ought to promote and secure the ability of start-ups to seize new business opportunities, eliminate entrepreneurship barriers, help provide the right incentives, and boost economical potential with a certain vigour.

For panic-stricken entrepreneurs and business owners all over, the hands-on execution of reimagining and organizing the foundation of their company is paramount to navigate through these trying times and circumstances.  Reimagining operations, organizations, and technologies is how companies override and recuperate to pull through any crises.  

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