6 Effective Strategies to Navigate Businesses During Tough Times

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When Covid-19 pandemic struck, it heavily affected labour markets, economies and enterprises, including global supply chains, leading to widespread business disruption across the world. But the pandemic was just the first of many hard waves that will hit businesses in the coming few years.

(Online) Sabeer Bhatia, Co-founder, Hotmail & ShowReel, (L-R) Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder and CEO, Leverage Edu, Harsimarbir Singh, Co-founder, Pristyn Care, Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great learning,Ishpreet Singh Gandhi, Founder and MD, Stride Ventu

So, the big question is: Are challenges like Covid-19 pandemic the biggest threat or the biggest opportunity? Where should business be paying attention? Can they future proof their growth? Entrepreneur India caught up with some entrepreneurs and investors who shared their strategies to navigate businesses during such times.

According to Sabeer Bhatia, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Co-founder of Hotmail and ShowReel, there is no way to future proof your growth but to have a mindset of solving the problem as and when they come “You don’t know as an entrepreneur what you will face.
All entrepreneurship is some form of solving problems. You have to stop and think what can be done to make the problem go away. I don’t think there is any way to future proof your growth or your business because cycles occur at times are completely unpredictable,” says Bhatia, who has seen various growth cycles as an entrepreneur.

In challenging times like pandemic, showing resilience is the key. Deepak Sahni, Founder and CEO, Healthians doesn’t remember having more than a day off in March when pandemic started, and they had to figure out how to scale. “Diagnostic was key for Covid. We had to serve a lot of people at home. During the first week, all ecommerce companies had to go to government offices to get the passes out. Though we were essential services, the first notification never meant diagnostic as essential service. They broadly mentioned healthcare.” Sahni says that the clarification took a week. “Most of our staff carried on, despite all the difficulties,” adds Sahni.

Adapting is another key for businesses to keep themselves afloat in challenging times. Recalls Hari Krishnan Nair, Cofounder, Great learning, which is an ed-tech company, “We had different sets of challenges during pandemic. Learning can happen at home and Covid proved that. But for Great learning, our model was different. During the pandemic we nearly lost 50% of our business. It was a challenge for us. So we decided to adapt and put a different learning model for classroom learners through live virtual classes. And the learning became as effective as before.”

Innovation is what some businesses followed during tough times of Covid-19. Says Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder and CEO, Leverage Edu, “When everything was shut, including travel, our business suffered massively. What worked for us that time was we came out with innovative services like Student Seva Boat to help every student.” And the innovation strategy paid off. The student base grew from merely 100 students a month to 3500 students a month.

Entrepreneurship is all about sprinting and communication is the key. This is what Harsimarbir Singh, Co-Founder, Pristyn Care feels. “What really sustains the business is communicating what you believe, to the content writer, to the entire team, to customers, and going back to basics. Communicate what you stand for. With information at our hands, how we go out and execute simple things matters a lot.”

Says Ishpreet Singh Gandhi, Founder and MD, Stride Ventures. “One common trait which is sacrosanct to any business is the element of product innovation, hustle, leading from the front. The larger theme remains, but if that core team of any startup stands and fires and gives a lot of ammunition to follow, then that culture sets apart some of the good companies from the mediocre companies.

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