The economic scenario post-pandemic lockdown is anybody’s guess! Today, with all of us having access to all kinds of information, can hear a lot of predictions form almost everyone who has done google research.
As things stand now, we are in for a huge economic downturn. The lockdown has in fact brought almost 80% of our production to a standstill. The removal of restrictions may not be seen soon. The activities to get back to normalcy can take a while. The work from home narrative may not be a solution for the brick and mortar. We have a huge problem in hand and there can be no argument against this.
Unity can be strength and the distributed production spread across the geography can improve scale with pooled wisdom, joint research, centralised purchase and sales efforts, logistical efficiency and cost-cutting.
The need of the hour is to survive this period and no one knows how and there can not be a panacea, either. The churn will happen and the smartest will survive. This need not be based on pure financial strength of the enterprise. The survival will depend on just one thing — innovation. Some possible ways that i can think of is as follows:
Collaborate: The business will have to be more open minded and help each other. By leveraging the strengths of the competitors may be one solution for survival. The joint efforts without cut-throat completion will make business float and reach the shores. Unity can be strength and the distributed production spread across the geography can improve scale with pooled wisdom, joint research, centralised purchase and sales efforts, logistical efficiency and cost cutting.
Ethical Capitalism: Let me call it “Integral Humanism”. Shed those exclusive methodologies adopted in the capitalistic or socialistic models which are crumbling and adopt a value based, ethical business model which has more sustainability and inclusiveness. The duty of the businessmen – the new age “vysyas” – is to create wealth and build the nation economically stronger. This is the time to shift and adopt the concept of “Udyog Pariwar” where the investor, employee and the consumer are all seen as part of the family. Embrace it.
Financial Planning: Understand the innate relationship of money with time. The investment that comes back with profit has to rotate rapidly and the working capital cycle should churn fast. This will require some planning regarding inventory, credit period and deployments. Get help from experts and do plan your production. It helps. Remember that a Rupee Saved is Rupee Earned. Be frugal, cut down all extravaganza and tighten that belt!
Analyse the market and make that shift. Use every single resource that is available including that land you have. Do some agriculture too. Multitask. Be self-sufficient, involve the community and remember that human effort is not a “resource” or a “factor of production”. Handle the humans as a partner – while some invest money, other invest their skill or effort. So, the mindset change will make an ocean of difference. This is the time to try this out.
Small is going to be beautiful again. The factory of the world, China has deceived the world – knowingly or unknowingly and this has proved that putting all those eggs in one basket can be disastrous. Today, make sure that the corner shops in your neighbourhood had easier access than the air-conditioned malls where you had to queue up for your essentials. Disrupt this and make sure that we have small stores and small production is enabled and encouraged so that we will create more employment in our neighbourhood.
Above all, I firmly believe it is the optimism of a nation that brings about success. Be obstinately optimistic. The world is going to be looking at Bharat along with a few other countries like Vietnam and Mexico in the coming decades. The target of $5 Trillion Economy should be fiercely pursued. There should not be any let up. Each and every single Indian can contribute and we will win. All we need to do is to be self sufficient, self-reliant and self-motivated.
Many surveys indicate that the healthcare industry, pharma and wellness may progress in the coming years. Tweak, if you can and orient your business to cater to these industries. Technology should be embraced and even home-tuition can be done sitting at home. Do it and explore the possibilities in the EdTech domain. We may become “Vishwa Guru” and can teach Maths and English for students in the UK!
The world is changing. We may not be able to depend on the government for doles for survival. Shed that western model of living of your tomorrow’s earning. Borrow diligently, Save compulsively and spend frugally. Go back to the age-old culture which taught us to save for the next generation. Today we do hear too much noise about “Sustainable Development” which we always practised. Let the traditional wisdom be used more and more in our business and we will survive.
This too, shall pass!