The second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has taken India by storm, where the number of active cases are rising by the day. The current crisis has once again dragged the country in a lockdown like condition and different State Governments have laid strict restrictions on physical movement and social gatherings. This has hampered businesses, especially that of small regional IT firms in tier-II and III cities who have been severely affected due to the situation. Many of them, however, are trying hard to to fight the pandemic in order to ensure business continuity.
“The coronavirus crisis has created a practical and ethical imperative for us to do more work that matters. In the first phase, we witnessed a spike in demand for IT-related products, however, we are not expecting the same in the second phase. Since it is difficult to gauge how long this phase will last, we have put variable expenditures like hiring, marketing, travel, etc. on halt for the next three months. It has helped us to save on the cost,” says Arun Kumar Rungta, Director of Patna based Digital Equipments.
However, he believes if the crisis continues for some more months to a year, we will have to reconfigure our business strategy to reduce the variable expenses, renegotiate fixed expenses (rent, salaries, equipment lease payments, etc.), and focus only on the survival.
Endorsing similar views, Ashok Poddar, Director of Everrise Infosolution says, “The situation is pathetic and it is becoming very difficult for us to manage the business. As the cases are surging at an unimaginable rate, there is a sense of panic among people. Hence, it has affected their spending preferences. We are not seeing much demand or enquiries and that has made the condition more challenging this time. Whole families are getting the corona infections and we all should help each other in this panic situation.”
As the physical movement has been restricted, partners are betting on the digital means to generate business inquiries and conduct business. They are leveraging tools such as WhatsApp Business to communicate various deals, schemes and offers to end customers along with the conventional communication mediums such as video calls, emails, social media posts etc.
“We use WhatsApp Business to generate inquiries and communicate with customers. Through this we can do business within city limits without any physical contact,” comments Debasish Dutta, CEO of Durgapur based Door Computech.
While ensuring smooth business, partners are also adhering to the COVID-19 compliances and are strictly following the safety measures laid by the government. They insist customers for Digital payments and contactless delivery for safety.
“We are following the safety precautions without such as temperature check, sanitizer usage, compulsory wearing of mask without a compromise. We have changed the showroom timing as per the Government guidelines and we ensure social distancing in the shop with utmost care,” says Mahesh Soni, Director of Puducherry based Auro Enterprises
He adds, “We offer home delivery and after-sales service support upon customer’s confirmation. Every bill or invoice is closed in store. We also provide complimentary 3Ply masks with the product to promote Stay Safe Stay Healthy measures.”
Despite business challenges and future uncertainty, partners have come forward to help the needy and vulnerable people. They have joined various volunteering groups to provide urgent medical assistance and food to poor patients and their relatives.
“Helping to needed through charity is the critical response to disasters such as COVID-19, and we are all geared up to assist acquaintances in case of emergency. We have associated ourselves with other volunteer groups to create a pool of oxygen cylinders, sanitisers and masks and donate to needy people,” says Rungta.
Partners say the current situation is tough and is taking a toll on everyone’s patience. However, it is important to keep hope and help each other to overcome the challenges.