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While the government’s economic package claims to help small industries and startups, what is it that they can really expect to happen in the coming months? As GDP growth rate topples, Motivational Speaker and Life Coach, Sitender Sehrawat attempts to answer questions on startups
The Rise of Startup Culture
2019 saw over 50,000 Registered startups and $14 billion in funding alone. Predictions were that Indian startups by 2025 will contribute substantially to the $5 Trillion GDP aim valuing over $500 billion alone. That was despite their growing losses, keeping the founders up all night, and investors were still signing fat checks. All this sounds terrific till January this year, and then Coronavirus came to shatter ambitions, not just within India but Globally.
Mammoth organisations who dominated the skies and IT are now on the edge of going bankruptcy. It sure does sound scary. Before we know what to fix, let’s do a reality check and see what needs to be fixed.
The Pandemic Effect
The coronavirus pandemic has left many passionate founders pondering and trying to see beyond the clouds. The effect on the consumers is not only economical but also mental. From fashion to consumption of goods, to investment, construction, travel, hotels, restaurants, traditional media –everything and everyone is suffering.
Small-cap startups are finding it difficult to survive since there is no clarity. IMF has already given us a cold shiver saying south Asia’s economy is going to suffer profoundly. Not only startups but big established corporates are also revising their future plans. Big software projects are either canceled or put on indefinite hold. IATA predicts that just in aviation alone about 2 lakh people will lose their jobs.
The catastrophe doesn’t end there, people are going to take time to step out to eat and shop and do other things. A few pieces of research suggest that social distancing might be needed for as long as 2022 or even 2024. Hiring has almost been frozen. Since startups are always on the edge, cashflow is a big concern and it’s resulting in people closing shop. Not just Foodtech, HR, Fintech, logistic but decade-old startups that were profitable are finding polite ways to fire the leadership. It doesn’t happen in India. We are the third fastest startup ecosystem after the US & China. But what does the future look like to and what can we do to stay afloat. Let’s look at how businesses are going to evolve post lockdown.
As per a recent survey, 85 percent of people said they would refrain from eating out and a social gathering. That directly impacts many Businesses. From malls to restaurants, to social gathering events. The impact of COVID-19 isn’t merely on the economy, it’s on the mental health as well. The effects are far more unseen at the moment of uncertainty. Consumer behaviour is expected to be the most affected. There will be an obvious change in people’s lifestyle and spending behaviours. The most impacted are Food, Lifestyle, Luxury, and Travel. But like always we choose to see the positive side of the crisis. Founders must now be in “Bias for action” mode before they reach the end of the runway.
What Can the Startups do to stay in Business?
Go back to the drawing board. We have all had serious discussions about future plans and strategies. But when the future itself is ambiguous, those plans might not prove to be assertive. It’s time we go back to our drawing boards again and put our imaginative & innovative powers to work. Speak with more people and get inside their minds to understand how a customer is re-planning their spending behaviour.
Read the customer’s mind and re-strategise your service.
Can your product or service be more present specific than the future since the future is not certain as of today?
Work from home, a serious consideration?
One of the positive changes that COVID-19 has forced us to realise is that for many job types, work from home can be a serious alternate. Not only startups but larger corporations are considering this option more seriously than ever. It not only saves infrastructural cost but also has a positive environmental effect. A study by American researchers revealed that the most stressful part for people is traveling to work.
Word of caution: Work from home can have a serious mental effect on your employee if not trained properly. Mindfulness and the “Flow” practices are immensely critical before you let your stars work from home.
Can you keep your employees be equally focused even with a disparity in your original vision?
When you interviewed people for this role, they showed a tremendous passion for the vision and the role, that’s why you hired them, right? But what if you have to change your vision to stay afloat? More than trying to woo your customers with huge discounts and lucrative deals, think about your employees’ happiness & wellbeing too. If Founders and employees vow to stand with each other, customers will see the passion in your Company and will most likely stick with you.
Do you really need a fancy Office & Overlapped Roles?
Not all but some startups think of themselves as a miniature version of larger Corporations and end up hiring people in the same fashion. This action creates an overlap in their roles. Startups are as dynamic as the weather in the mountains. What they planned on Monday might not make sense on Friday. A startup needs jugglers. Go over the list of people and see who fits the bill right now. Did your data analyst, developers & other people deliver as efficiently from home as they did from office? Do they need to come to the office? Think again. You might fit in a much smaller office if you need one at all.
Explore online tools that may fill in for expensive business travel and face to face meetings without hampering productivity and revenue. Even your customers will understand the importance of essential social distancing. Larger corporations are encouraging their people to avoid unnecessary travel, we can do it too. Right?
Gearing up for the new Business opportunities
There is news everywhere that the world is looking at India to shift its manufacturing plants. Do you already have the infrastructure and manpower to claim the opportunity? Stay in touch with the government for bigger opportunities. You might want to showcase your resources to take on the next big manufacturing or logistic hub.
Does Your Startup Have Semi- Skilled Workforce?
Many Unicorns and established startups have already tapped the opportunities of the current situation. Food tech startups delivering essential goods, offering the same day, even offering delivery within an hour. Healthcare essentials like medicines, masks, blood tests, and other sorts of “need of the hour” services. It’s the hour of innovation. There is an acute need to work on fundamental issues that have arisen due to the pandemic. If you have a skilled workforce, can you build an online version of the solution? Can you offer online learning, a game, a Virtual meeting tool, an AI robot to support healthcare professionals, the possibilities are enormous? Because the virus didn’t just come alone, it brought the possibilities, can you tap them?
If you are a restaurant, can you offer live streaming of your customer’s food preparation?
Fintech, ed-tech, health tech, e-commerce, and many other types of startups are going to come out stronger and will continue to change the way we live. Startups will not see green cash books, they need to trim their operational costs and innovate in the face of adversity. We all need you to solve real-life problems.
Most Important – Mental Well-being Of Your Employees
Research data from a renowned American University proved that employees who are happy and mindful are more productive. Take care of your employee’s mental health and emotional intelligence. After all, hiring isn’t in your to-do list for months so you’re going to need to get more work done with the same number of people.
Before your roll up your sleeves, ensure you train your employee’s mind to survive the difficult times. What’s most important today is “Mental Health” Emotional Intelligence, and the power of resilience. If you keep them stronger, you will come out as a better person, you will do good for people and your country. Remember the moral obligation of People’s welfare. That’s why you founded your startup, isn’t it? (IANS)
Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."
Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.
The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: National hero of Barbados, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Prince Charles, Barbado, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister, Rihanna)
By Manav Bhatia
It's that time of the year when there are festivities galore and entertaining comes to the fore. Manav Bhatia, Founder Trunkin shares some tablescapes for the season
Christmas Tablescapes: Whether it's cherry red tablecloths or plush green napkin rings, there's something for everyone. Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year.
Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year. | Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash
Finish it off with Royalty: Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. Jewelled beads in the centre of a napkin ring surrounded by metal carving can be combined in a variety of forms and sizes and gives a touch of glamour.
Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. | Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
Touch of Smoke: Winter is the season when evening decor is especially important for parties, get-togethers, and bonfires. Colours in grey and ivory combine night with the day. Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening.
Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening. | Pxhere
Smearing of Wood: Nature's finish using ferns and drift wood for decor instead of flowers add to the winter feels.
Wall Hangings: Embroidered and beaded hangings add a touch of elegance and are traditional accessories for Christmas. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Wall Hangings, Wood, Winter, Smoke, Royalty, Christmas, Festivities, Perfect Setting)
Have you ever faced eye redness? Or have witnessed blurry or foggy vision? Or experiencing halos around lights? Or nausea and vomiting are very common for you. You may well be suffering from Glaucoma which needs immediate attention.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). Typically, it occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age. It is also estimated that globally 79.6 million people are affected with glaucoma, half of them being Asian population. While in India, around 11.9 million people suffer vision impairment and out of which 1.2 million cases are due to Glaucoma. It is a growing concern for the population in India. Even after these high numbers, the enormous majority remains undiagnosed, and untreated. More than 90 percent of cases of Glaucoma remain undiagnosed.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). | Wikimedia Commons
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the nerve of the eye. The increased pressure in the eye, which is known as intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve which is responsible for sending images to the brain. If the damage worsens, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even total blindness within a few years. According to WHO, there are different kinds of glaucoma, though, the two most common are, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and slow and asymptomatic onset, and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common, yet more acute. Hence, it is important for everybody over the age of 40 years to have a regular eye check-up.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. There are various options available to lower intraocular pressure to the desired level. Depending upon the need of the patient, doctor may recommend combinations of eye drops, but it is of utmost importance to use the drops on a regular basis. However, consulting a specialist should be the first priority if diagnosed with glaucoma, but most of the population will first opt for home remedies then will consult chemists' shops for medicines and if the issue is still not resolved then will they think of a specialist. There is a need to modify the mindset of the people and when it comes to sensory organs zero negligence rule should be followed.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Awareness is the key to managing Glaucoma better. The need of the hour is to include eye care as part of the health check-up. Timely detection of Glaucoma will lead to proper medication and diagnosis by an Ophthalmologist. Talking about prevention, early detection will help in managing glaucoma before significant damage occurs. Glaucoma can be because of genetics as well hence knowing the family's eye history is important. Regular and moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure also eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high pressure will progress to glaucoma.
Also, there are few home remedies that anyone can follow to avoid glaucoma. Consuming healthy food, using eyewear, avoiding head-down position, keeping oral hygienic, and protecting eyes from sunlight are a few of such remedies. One should be mindful of the fact that Glaucoma is irreversible blindness and awareness can help us in fighting it. Depending on the condition an Ophthalmologist may prescribe an oral medication or may suggest therapies. In severe conditions, doctors can also recommend surgeries like Laser therapy, Filtering surgery, Drainage tubes, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: eye disorder, eye, India, World Health Organisation, blindness , foggy vision, eye redness, Glaucoma, Ophthalmologist