Learn from the Meghna Saragoi who grew her business 10 times in the COVID-19 pandemic
While facing all the miserable things in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Co-founder and CEO, Meghna Saraogi of a jewellery tech startup, StyleDotMe described her journey of multiplying her business 10 times.
The pandemic affected the startup ecosystem and many businesses- layoffs, pay cuts, and the shutting down of operations.
According to a TIE-Delhi and Zinnov report, a decline of 50% was observed in the overall funding during the lockdown as compared to before the pandemic. Approximately 40% of startups were badly affected and 15% of the Indian startups were compelled to stop their operations.
StyleDotMe was one of the some startups that developed technology for consumers and retails, it observed the COVID-19 pandemic behaving as a catalyst, escalating behaviour and process.
The bane of the 21st century and the internet is that now consumers are seeking convenience 24*7. It boosted the gems and jewellery industry and helped in accelerating the digitization in this industry.
Survival in the pandemic
Meghna Saraogi said, “Today, at the end of 2020 when I turn back, I see how the startup ecosystem breathed, I think the one word that would describe our journey well is resilience. Our startup is bootstrapped one. While innovating in a relatively budding sector of retail tech in India, we worked upon the need-gaps emerging due to the global pandemic really early on, and that foresight and agility helped both us and the 220 retailers we work with thrive.”
The existing business model of StyleDotMe was centred on growing in digitization, and in the drastic times with the budding days of the pandemic and adapted quickly at a great pace and larger scale in less time.
Meghna Saraogi further said, “Being an entrepreneur of the Indian startup system in 2020, I have learned some incredible and valuable lessons that I would adore to share on managing a business in a pandemic.”
The only key is Acceptance
Although the first COVID-19 case in India occurred in the month of February, the talks of it being contaminated to other countries were across the whole world. In the month of December 2019 and January 2020, we imagined it would not impact us as it is far away. Hence, thinking or focusing on the crisis was not even a part of the entrepreneurs’ routine. Many business and supply chains across the globe were disrupted till the end of February.
Yet people were not prepared to acknowledge the fact that whatever ripples were believed were ascribed to the Chinese New Year instead of COVID-19. It struck the masses hard and the extent of the truth was believed when the India Government declared a national lockdown on March 24. On March 25, the whole Indian Startup ecosystem was unaware of their next step.
Be Agile and Proactive
There were only two ways in front of the startups, either accepting the circumstances and taking actions in the midst of lockdown or trusting that things will improve and perhaps shut down the startup or business. The startup ecosystem entrepreneurs are settling on some hard decisions to look after liquidity.
Meghna Saraogi said, “Retail-oriented businesses like us were stressed over heaping of stock and the unexpected disengagement with customers due to social distancing and lockdown norms. This is when technology and e-retail took noticeable quality and pushed startups to step out of their comfort zones.”
Hold the heart that can dare to experiment
By May 2020, everyone was aware of the importance of digital presence. Most of the startups were either constructing or improving their startups and personal digital profiles and presence. As it became the new and only market where consumers could be found. The demand for products, services and support was needed even in the lockdown.
“So, there was an opportunity to build a direct channel of communication. Digitization in the jewellery industry was a long time coming. Social media chatter, insights from our clients, and analytics further gave us an idea of the market size.” Meghna Saraogi shared.
Focused and Goal-Oriented team is an Asset
Often a crisis causes you to dismiss the vision you set out with. Sadly, a few startups wound up closing down for exactly the same reason. One may need to adjust to the changing scene and change routes, yet the vision and enthusiasm can't.
Meghana Saragoi said, "The pandemic aided numerous entrepreneurs including me to understand the power of individuals who share your passion and dream. Determined teams who worked with business pioneers to help keep the company afloat were the biggest growth drivers.
The startup ecosystem was finally showing some signs of working its way back to recovery and employees had an enormous task to carry out in this. Business visionaries. Now entrepreneurs were employing and paying pre-Covid compensations persuading individuals to continue onward.
These were the lessons you could grasp from the CEO and Co-founder of StyleDotMe.
She shared, "In the last quarter of 2020, we saw the Indian startup ecosystem bob back. According to the TiE-Delhi and Zinnov report, India is required to be home to 60,000-62,000 startup, comprising 100 unicorns, by 2025, and that the sector has considered a to be turnaround as the speed of financing has almost recuperated to the pre-Covid levels drove by seed and late-stage funding."
"The versatile mentality of the Indian startup ecosystem I talked about before I accepted was the explanation it ascended to the challenge and tide over." She added
A still have a lot to do but 2020 was definitely a learning experience for startups. Entrepreneurs realized the importance of a digital ecosystem, teamwork, consumer-focused communication, the power of working with less, and a neighborhood or make in India approach.
Lastly, she said, "We don't have the foggiest idea how long the pandemic will last, or what the new normal would resemble yet it is the ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs to accept this masked chance, operate in 2021 with a cautious yet open mind and re-imagine business in a post-pandemic world."