Due to the CoronaVirus pandemic, a number of Indian businesses are battling with uncertainty about their future. A study that was carried out by Research Gate, concentrated on checking the significant impact of the pandemic on the economy, concludes that the Indian economy is badly affected by the tragedy of COVID-19. The possibility of a downtrend is highly possible in India and most of the countries due to the world economic recession
Ankita Vashistha is a passionate entrepreneur and Venture Capital Investor of Saha funds who has experience as the Founder of India's first Women in Technology Entrepreneurship Fund.
“It's very important to always plan ahead for the best and worst-case scenarios in business,” she says.
Ankita suggests that portfolio companies can better manage their resources in this pandemic by creating short, medium, and long term business plans and making sure they have money in the bank and carry out steps to conserve cash and elongate their current runway. Also, they need to make sure the teams are able to work remotely in a disciplined and efficient manner.
“Leverage technology and online work collaboration tools to work together and make sure every employee is connected and aligned with you. Startups need to think of innovative solutions to bring into their business model and know when to implement them to cope with the economic slowdown,” she says.
Ankita advises businesses to:
- Make sure to not spend money on non-core activities
- Be a role model as the senior management
- Take responsibility of your employees
- Stay disciplined and reach out to mentors for advice
She stresses that communication is the key to make sure all stakeholders like investors, employees, vendors, clients are informed and aligned and know the direction of the business.
How can startups manage this roller coaster-like situation
“Everyone’s journey is full of ups and downs but how you manage those, is what differentiates you from the rest and gives you the ability to survive and emerge stronger,” she says. Ankita believes that it is important to be disciplined in this situation of a pandemic, taking note of the business exposure in the short and long term due to the current pandemic and then accepting the flaws and quickly coming up with strategies and business plans with the help of mentors, advisors, and colleagues to move forward.
Impact of CoronaVirus outbreak
Everyone around the world is facing some kind of lockdown and behavioral shift and the realization that it is going to be the new normal. “We have to balance work and family from home at the same time. Initially, the lockdown came as a shock, surprise, and stress as it brought about a sense of long term uncertainty and created panic, fear of sickness, fear of losing loved ones, jobs, and livelihood,” she says. But now it has eased into a routine that is organized and disciplined.
“Create a comfortable environment to work from home and also manage the family. I took on the responsibility to lead my teams through this pandemic and made sure we used technology to connect remotely. I have taken this time to also reconnect with colleagues and acquaintances from the ecosystem to exchange ideas and think of how to collaborate and create a positive support system. The current crisis has also had an adverse effect on mental and physical wellbeing, this has led me to meditate and take out an hour a day for self-care activities like yoga, walking, and listening to music. With all the uncertainty out there, it is important to address the issues and also find a sense of balance within,” she says.
Support the innovation ecosystem
Ankita commends the Action COVID-19 Team (ACT) movement, which is a first-of-its-kind initiative by Top VCs and entrepreneurs with INR 100 CR grant, to provide resources and guidance to startup founders and employees. “It’s great that COVID-19 lockdown has brought different stakeholders together to support and fight for a common cause. It’s important that we support the innovation ecosystem during this pandemic, with grants to help bring talent and ideas to the forefront to find innovative, frugal, and scalable solutions to address different aspects,” she says.
Good companies will emerge stronger and better
The current financial crisis has given deeper insights into the business models of different companies across industries. It has also helped the stronger companies to emerge and have unique differentiators.
“Of course, on the whole, the market has taken a hit and companies are dealing with lower levels of valuations, so it is a buying opportunity for investors. But these are temporary levels and the good companies will emerge stronger and better. It is a great buying opportunity for the long term companies, but make sure you really look at the past and future of the companies and see what is worth buying for in the long run,” she says.
(Edited By Rabia Mistry)