New Delhi : In an unprecedented battle against the novel Coronavirus, India enters its third phase of Lockdown 3.0.
One needs to be able to sift the grain from the chaff in the volume of rhetoric and despair surrounding the current COVID-19 scenario, which has declared the market slow-moving or outright stagnant. STIMULUS 2020, a first of its kind webinar aimed to do just that while bringing together 70 industry experts who have dealt with similar cards before. The aim was to connect with strategists, business owners and executives in order to canvas possibilities and new ideas in media, luxury, lifestyle, leadership and other industries, organised by The Global Luxury Group, Crosshairs Communications (PR Partner) & WIN (Women Inspiring Network – Content Partner),
IANSlife spoke to Stuti Jalan, an award-winning entrepreneur who is internationally recognised as an emerging woman leader and Founder Women Inspiring Network & Crosshairs Communication, for her take on how young entrepreneurs can navigate through these tough times.
Q. In a post COVID-19 era do you think startups will flourish or find it tougher than ever before?
Jalan: COVID-19 has shown us the fury of nature when over-exploited. It has also shown us the resilience of the humankind when faced with extraordinary adversity. I recently founded WIN – Women Inspiring Network that is powering up women with information and builds networks and creates ecosystems for them thrive lead & create.
With the lockdown I witnessed & we ourselves started promoting clients digitally as the digital landscape is constantly emerging as one of the major communication platforms for all as our core business is PR & social media. In every adversity there is an opportunity and if we put our mind to it we can overcome it. Conceptualising this digital conference has inspired and motivated me in more ways than one. It made me look at our business differently.
It will help us all to think differently positively and … enable us to relook at things, maybe how can we can all work differently. Post Covid will be a level playing field as all businesses world over impacted the key is to be positive, persevere and reset ourselves.
Q. Will start-ups and one or two-year old companies find it difficult to get back on their feet after this hiatus and slowdown, especially when competing with large organised businesses?
Jalan: From our business point of view – The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that everything needs to be digitized, I also feel it is the time for brand building and strengthening bonds with brands. This is what people will remember. However, we should not exploit the situation and be ethical.
Undoubtedly the newly initiated start ups will find it hard to sustain in the market and for newcomers it will take both patience, perseverance and it can be perfect time to re-strategise and relook at how businesses were done. Start ups are known to create energies with a determination to be innovative. So, this is the time for everybody to think and redefine new ideas, revoke and develop the thought process by understanding the circumstances analytically. Disruption innovation is the key.
Q. Do you think more women will venture from their homes and look for careers after being faced with the reality of mortality. Many may want to now live life to the fullest?
Jalan: Yes definitely. For instance Women Inspiring Network is a content platform dedicated to helping aspiring women leaders fulfill their potential. Our aim is to build content and communities to inform and inspire.
In quarantine women are promoting their talents on social media platforms and some very interesting skills at that; and am sure post lockdown they will be coming out of their homes in order to pursue their dreams. Just today on our platform we had a request someone wanted to do a talk for responsible gaming inIndia and first lady poker in India. She has been bestowed with presidents award for her contribution in the gaming sphere. The reason for the above example is I see more women going for unconventional professions.
I did read some study that women are doing Work from Home but r there is gender gap in household work – women’s contribution is more on household chores. There has to be balance. I have been part of many women forums globally and many studies estimate that a higher participation of women in the workforce, raising the number of hours spent by them on the job, and including them in higher-productivity sectors will help spur such economic growth.
Q. Do you think leaders will focus on sustainability or will go back to their pre COVID-19 ways?
Jalan: After witnessing the current situation it becomes important not only for the leaders but for everyone to take environment into consideration. Sustaining our resources by not exploiting them to an extent is need of the hour.
I am a certified scuba diver and have seen what has happened to oceans world over in recent years. With social media and awareness playing a role during the Covid 19 am sure majority of the people and not just leaders will pay heed now to climate change. Earlier there were talks but this time people have witnessed the impact and am sure we will see change.
One important thing is the business of going back to the basics. We talk about Climate Change and Global Warming but finally we’ve been forced to come back to basics. Having been forced, has resulted in birds being spotted in urban cities, we can see the stars, the Himalayas can be spotted from Punjab and in Delhi we can finally breathe.
Sustainability will have a larger role to play in the long run. The consumer becoming aware has led to a rise in conscious buying, which is why organic and sustainable products are gradually becoming the highlight of the day. Also re-used, pre-owned and rented items will also find a new segment of consumers and avenues being opened up is another trend in brands I forsee.
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