Here is how the lockdown affects business owners & entrepreneurs

Here is how the lockdown has impacted sixteen entrepreneurs and business owners from various walks of life

Published: April 1, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Our economy is multi-layered with unique problems in each. From the daily-wage labourer who fears death from hunger due to the lockdown to the salaried corporate employee who fears an extended lay off to the small business owner who fears complete ruin due to debt and lack of sales. Sixteen entrepreneurs and business owners share how the 21-day lockdown is affecting their business and how the near-future appears bleak.

1: My dad owns private buses that run in city routes, just like BEST buses do, in Kolkata. Lockdown means, absolutely zero business. Likewise, the driver and ticket collector, daily wage earners, have no role to play. We own three buses at present, total 5 in the extended family – Saradindu Ghosh

2: I am running a small egg farm (free-roaming hens), with daily production of 150 eggs. (Not my primary source of income. Started as a hobby.) Observed more people from locality reaching out for eggs and retail selling is increased. Problem is we might run out of feed for hens if we don’t get supply in 10 days. The services from supply guys are not ensured. Mitigation plan: Use locally available cattle feed, collect food waste from the locality. Yet to check with vet on the effect of feed changes to hen – name not provided

3: Totally lost. I’m into online distribution of a few food items, but with delivery services crippled, there’s no business. Once the situation is back in control, it will start again. Since my family doesn’t depend on the earnings of the business, it hasn’t hit very hard – name not provided

4: We deal in readymade garments, so with lockdown, we gonna lose our summer sale along its wedding season starting from April, so the whole season is now washed out now, and even the festival of Eid-al Fitr will see a muted response as it is coming in May. Thankfully we always have a 1.5-month sale as surplus with us most of the time, just our profit will suffer during lockdown plus staff costing that would need to be borne along with no profits – Nakul Goel

5: Getting Overdraft loan from Bank to meet the operational costs(including salaries). No other options available and Construction industry is already a big hit before the lockdown -VPS Builders

6: Our resort has been closed fully. Cutting staff – Bala

7: Negatives: Significant portion of sales online, which have taken a hit. Some of the parts are imported, from China, this has also caused the problem. The physical market is widespread from NCR to Chandigarh, delivery of goods was being done through a private vehicle which has not been possible. Overall sales have dropped drastically.

Some positives: Chances of online sales recovery is more. Goods are not perishable. The payments from the vendor will be sufficient for the next 5 to 6 months. Only five people work in the business. Thus salary payment is not very huge. Have an emergency corpus for the business in the form of FDs – Ashish

8: I’m an editor, and I run a children’s magazine out of Chennai. We’ve taken quite a hit because we’ve had to halt printing. And since schools aren’t functioning, we’re in the dark with regards to next year’s subscriptions.

9: We’re exploring digital options at the moment, it’s a good time to sit down and consider what we can do -Andrew

10: Industries in Tirupur work in tandem with European and American countries. As major of our Exports directly proportional to these countries. I am an MSME garment manufacturer with 70-80 labour. Still, we didn’t zero on what to do, as already orders from Spain had been advised to hold on. Our EMI is standing at the 1st of next month. Adequate funds are not present in the accounts. To add what our labour are going to do in these 21 days. My simple suggestion is the government already getting some amount in PF. Now in this crisis times, I urge the government to release all the PF directly to labour accounts. Since it will be highly beneficial for labour. Expecting us to pay for labour in this hour of crisis is not at all possible as our future looks diminished – Padmakumar

11: Will face Liquidity issues, No production, the migrant labourer will want to go to their hometown after things come in control ( so will have production issues afterwards also due to this), Drop-in business due to uncertainty, issues with regards to Availability of raw materials as most of the materials come from China, the overall sentiment of the business will be dull as customer spending will reduce especially in Non-essential items – name not provided.

12: No impact. I am providing software support services, and there are certain things only I know in the client company (Scary, but they know that too), my contract was extended for another two years, with an increase in the amount payable. The payment is in foreign currency, so I hope to make more due to drop in Rupee also (whether that is worth celebrating is another point) – Anand.

13: We see our most main lines of business vanishing – transit/marine insurance has come to a halt. no trading is happening, and the pick up will be slow. Liability insurances that we do have almost all been contract-driven requirements ….contracts have been put on hold and hence customers are not taking it. Property insurances in SME market are all discretionary buys…they have stopped for new customers. Employee insurances – at the moment renewals are holding up, but with our customers facing a crunch…it is expected that either they will.stop.these benefits or their overall manpower numbers will fall, thereby reducing premiums.

14: The way to mitigate is to move towards building a retail health insurance portfolio on one hand and to reduce the costs on the other including letting go unneeded staff and expense heads. Improving retention. Figuring out new product lines. Enhancing scaling capabilities of existing lines as and when the markets come back to normal – Deepak

15: We have ERP software for Indian SMEs. From 2019 we have started operations from Remote. We have been trying working from Remote earlier than 2019, in some exclusive situations. Now for the past one year, we have successfully been working online. We are retaining the Registered Office though no staff reports to office. We are stabilised now in working from Remote. Our employees are all working from their natives very happily. We have been able to work smoothly by employing some open resources like Zoom for daily meetings as well as to provide webinar or demos for our clients Pan India. This helped us employ freelancers on a project basis which helped us to reduce recurring costs. We offer our solution in Cloud and implementation also is done from Remote.

All marketing, sales, development, accounting, auditing, implementation all happens seamlessly in Remote. No cash transactions! All receipts from customers and payments are all online! No requirement for cheque transactions too due to Imps/NEFT/RTGs. Going online/remote has provided us with the freedom of movement ( not relevant at this time of lockdown) and saves lots of time in getting ready to office, dressing up, what to wear, commuting to the office. We can also proudly say we have reduced our carbon footprint since we and our resources have no necessity to use any form of transport. Good home-cooked food. Time to go for walk & do yoga, be with kids are added benefits of working from Remote. This improved our productivity levels from our resources. This is a major advantage. This helped us to serve many customers spread across various regions.
The flip side due to this lockdown, especially during year-end, is since our major clients are from manufacturing vertical, most of them are closed and hence orders which are on the verge of finalisation are getting delayed -Gomathi

16: Ours is a mail-order business catering to the bottom of the pyramid across India. We sell Unani preparations for cataract, kidney stones and many other medicines. Customers place orders via phone or letter. We despatch through India Post as VPP it Registered parcel if they send money in advance. Due to the lockdown, we are not getting orders; payments are stuck. We need to pay full wages to staff and also the taxes. Cash flow is limited, so we have to dig into personal funds to ensure staff don’t go hungry – Manu

I thank all the participants for sharing their circumstances with us. Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner affected by the lockdown? Do share in the comments section how your business has been affected and your plans going forward.

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