Future Generali

What approach should SMEs that are the backbone of the Indian economy take for business continuity during the pandemic?

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Rakesh Wadhwa:

How should SMEs, backbone of the Indian economy as well, approach this pandemic situations? Because they may not have the capital to bring latest technology or to employ best people, best brains, or even spend a lot of money on growth.  So how should they go about it in the next two, three years? What should be their game plan?

 

Tom Peters:

Well, one thing I disagree with is that they can hire the best people and maybe not even at the highest salary, but as a result of what's going on, we have an extraordinary number of well-trained really terrific people who are out on the street and they are available to be hired. If I've treated you incredibly well for the last 15 years, and I have to tell you that I'm going to have to cut your wage by 50%,  A, 50% is better than nothing and B you're going to hang in there because I've treated you so darn well. So I don't think that's the case. The economy has shrunk. It is not shrunk to zero. It is not shrunk to anything like zero. There are restaurants, near where I live that have been incredible about dealing with their people and their customers in the face of COVID-19. They have, worked incredibly hard on the social distancing on the mask wearing. They have reconfigured the inside of their restaurants and put tables on the street. It's summer here. And they're doing a lot less worse than that they might do . People have changed their menu and changed everything. And they are now doing pretty darn well and have an incredible following and incredible word of mouth now because they have worked so hard on brilliant takeout menus, on making it safe to walk into the place when you're making your purchase. It is not Nirvana and there's an awful lot that's going wrong. But we don't start with the assumption that the world has come to an end. If we're a business owner, somebody's gonna survive in the worst case 60 or 70% of our businesses will survive, because people still need things. And you're probably luckier than we are, because not everything that everybody buys from Amazon for God's sakes.  

It is doable with right attitude, the right spirit, the right people, and just an absolute passion for making it easy for your customers to deal with you in the restaurant or what have you. Our refrigerator broke down about a week ago. Guess what? We went through our standard appliance repair person who has done a fabulous job of holding onto his people. His people arrived in our house and they had the big masks on and they even had the shield on and they made it entirely clear that they were trying to be as safe for us as they possibly could. They're still in business. I suspect that two out of three people in that business shook their head, got rid of employees, went home, covered up their head with a blanket and said,  what the hell it's all over. It is not all over. This is the time for incredible imagination. Customers still need things. A lot of people are still employed, maybe not as many luxuries, but they are still employed. They still need the appliance service. They still need to have whatever done for them.

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