The Lockdown Entrepreneur: How to Start or Grow Your Business During a Pandemic

In this article, we will explore some of the business methods that have been successful during lockdown. We will also discuss the challenges that businesses face and how they can overcome them.

In times of crisis, adaptability is key to success. This article is intended for business owners looking to analyze and redesign their businesses, as well as start-up owners seeking to learn from these lessons. To implement these changes, it is important to prioritize strong communication and hold leadership meetings.

This article will delve into various strategies for success, including fundraising, managing people, creating a business continuity plan, developing revenue and turnover strategies, reducing costs, redesigning business processes, and creating a turnaround. Building effective communication is also a critical component.

A key takeaway is that leadership involves using personal power to create a community that works towards a common vision. This requires personal, interpersonal, organizational, and community effectiveness, all with the shared purpose of reaching a common goal.

Strategies to Increase your Business During Lockdown?

  • In today's fast-paced business world, technology automation tools have become increasingly important in improving manpower management, nurturing customer data, and monitoring team performance. Among these tools are CRM, Chatbots, and Dialers. These tools help businesses to streamline their operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately achieve greater success. With the help of CRM, businesses can easily manage customer data, track sales, and analyze customer behavior. Chatbots, on the other hand, enable businesses to automate customer service tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions and providing support. Dialers, meanwhile, help businesses to optimize their sales efforts by automatically dialing phone numbers and connecting sales reps with potential customers. By leveraging these automation tools, businesses can improve their operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately achieve greater profitability.
  • Incorporating digital automation into your marketing strategy can prove to be instrumental in cutting down customer acquisition expenses and enabling effective lead generation. This can be achieved through the implementation of targeted email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram campaigns, which can efficiently reach out to your desired target audience.
  • It is essential to prioritize training manpower in order to continuously enhance the overall user experience. Incorporating customer feedback and conducting thorough research can greatly contribute to achieving this goal. Successful brands have proven that they do not necessarily need to rely on advertising to succeed. Therefore, the ultimate objective should be to create a product that stands out as the best in the market. By striving for excellence in every aspect of product development, a company can achieve unparalleled success and customer satisfaction.
  • In the business world, retaining customers is key to success, and building relationships is an important step in achieving this goal. With so many options available to customers, service providers must be adept at marketing their products effectively. Rather than simply reacting to complaints, a proactive approach that includes constant innovation and exceeding customer expectations is essential. By consistently striving to improve and provide exceptional service, businesses can build long-lasting relationships with their customers and achieve lasting success.
  • Request Endorsements | Seek Testimonials from Customers (Don't Wait, Ask)
  • In order to achieve a successful marketing strategy, it's imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. This involves identifying the various factors that contribute to their persona and behavior, including age, gender, religious beliefs, lifestyle, and geographic location. By developing a personality profile for your ideal customer, you can gain valuable insights into their purchasing habits and preferences. This information can help you tailor your marketing approach to better resonate with your audience. Additionally, by analyzing your customers' behavior, you can identify common patterns and characteristics that can be used to identify similar individuals to target. By employing this approach, you can optimize your marketing efforts, potentially bringing in up to 10 times more customers for the same amount of money spent on previous campaigns.
  • To build strategic partnerships, consider forming alliances with influencers, distributors, channel partners, franchisees, local political and social leaders, and celebrities. Follow the rule that "two non-competing brands focusing on the same customer can cross-promote," meaning businesses can promote each other's products or services without competing, such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Define your target audience and avoid being selfish. Think outside the box and use consistent language. Create legal contracts and aim to 10x your creative content marketing. Test, analyze, change, retest, and create a process manual. Start a client appreciation program and promote through contests. Build scarcity by offering limited edition products and host webinars and seminars. Give new life to old data and network as much as possible. Remember that local media is always cost-effective. Improve on the imperfection of the innovator and focus on the intangible service dimension. Innovate your sales and delivery methods and make your products accessible through a distribution network.

How to Reduce Cost in Business?

Looking to Reduce Business Costs? Here are some tips:

1. Obtain Cheaper Capital:

Consider borrowing money from the market through Debt, Diluting your Equity, or having your Customer become your Investor. You can also consider borrowing from Friends, Family, or Fools.

2. Buy in Bulk:

Buying raw materials in bulk can lower the cost. You can also consider making a contract with a vendor for a year to reduce costs, or keep multiple vendors.

3. Spread Your Risk:

Sharing capital with Franchise/Partner/Distributor/Retailer/Investor/Customer can reduce risk, as can re-insurance and sharing premiums.

4. Lower the Cost of Promotion:

Communicate with your customers through Mobile Apps, Digital Mediums, Hunger Marketing, Guerilla Marketing, or Low-Cost Marketing Ideas.

5. Increase Production Efficiency:

Implement a "First Time Right" rule to increase productivity and reduce the cost of rework. This saves time, manpower, and finance.

6. Reduce Logistic Costs:

Utilize vertical storage to improve storage density and build multiple suppliers for logistic engagement.

7. Automate with Technology:

Use IVR Systems, CRM Software, ERP, or Chatbots.

8. Increase Revenue and Turnover:

Increase the number of customers in your business, build combo sales/cross sales, increase the frequency of transactions per customer, increase your prices strategically, or add a new product line.

9. Implement Product Pricing Strategies:

Define your end consumer's profile, calculate your COGS, break down your decision-making unit, identify options available to your customer, price based on the lifecycle of your product, and drop the price at a later stage.

When naming your brand, it is important to consider various factors to ensure that your company's name stands out on the internet and becomes its most valuable asset. The name can make or break your business, so it has to be the best. Before finalizing a name, ask yourself about your brand values, target market, brand personality, the ultimate goal of your business, value proposition, problem you are solving, and how you want to be seen or perceived.

Experiential marketing is a strategy designed to promote products or services in an unconventional and memorable way by focusing on grasping the attention of the public through high energy and imagination. This approach allows prospective consumers to experience the product and connect with it tangibly. The company lets people experience the product in question.

Core values such as dependability, open-mindedness, innovation, reliability, consistency, creativity, loyalty, honesty, good humor, commitment, efficiency, compassion, spirit of adventure, passion, education, motivation, respect, perseverance, positivity, fitness, patriotism, optimism, courage, and service to others are crucial for any business to succeed.

Framework

Below are some important considerations for managing teams during the current climate:

- Framework: My Core Values and Compelling Exciting Story, as well as My Navratnas (key principles to guide decision-making).

- Identify your 5 milestones for the week and actionable steps to achieve them.

- People Strategy during Corona: Understand your team's characters, motivations, and expectations. Treat them as volunteers and listen to them in order to understand their needs. Identify your allies and be clear on the direction and desired outcomes. Recognize the type of leadership needed by your team and build an emotional bond with them. Provide clear milestones towards the desired outcomes and recognize when team members are doing things correctly. Build your succession plan and ensure that you are dispensable in your organization. Provide reference stories for your team as best practices. Watch your tone of voice and body language when talking to team members, and always end the meeting on a high note.

- Considerations for Working from Home: Demand commitment from your team and set clear expectations. Define ownership, timelines, and document completion of work. Encourage your team to take scheduled breaks and build organization structures that allow for a senior person to be mapped for a group of people apart from the manager. Set a working ritual for the team, including a daily stand-up to set expectations and updates on previous day's achievements. Ensure maximum documentation for work, both performance and non-performance.

- Managing Meetings while Working Remotely: Send and encourage pre-reads for every meeting. Align members on the agenda and ensure meetings are inclusive, with silent voices not going unheard. Pause at times to engage and ensure everyone is on the call or if anyone has dropped off or is facing technical issues. Capture MoMs for every meeting and assign responsibilities in advance.

- Keeping Team Engagement Levels High: Schedule a morning call to gather updates from the team and ensure team rituals are followed diligently. Celebrate birthdays and team wins together on Hangouts. Provide timely feedback and do 1:1 chats to provide regular feedback. Incorporate creative fun elements to keep morale strong during Work From Home. Send out celebratory and appreciative emails.

- Staffing Considerations: Pause hiring and have existing team members agree to take on more responsibility. Identify roles that may have become less relevant and realign those employees to other roles. Push out the appraisal cycle or convert them to ESOPs. Another option is to have employees work on alternate days with a proportionate adjustment in their compensation for a stipulated period of time. Remember that things will get better and you will need your old teams back again.

How to Generate Quality Leads?

How to Generate High-Quality Leads?

Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Client

Start by identifying the type of client you love to serve. Your marketing efforts should be focused on attracting and serving this ideal client.

Step 2: Articulate Your Unique Serving Proposition

Clearly articulate how you serve your ideal client in a unique way. This will help differentiate you from your competitors.

Step 3: Create a Powerful Headline

Craft a headline that will attract your ideal target market. Make sure it clearly communicates the value you offer.

Step 4: Develop an Irresistible Lead Magnet

Create a lead magnet that solves a problem your target market has. This should be something that is valuable and relevant to your ideal client.

Step 5: Highlight Your Features and Benefits

Make sure to highlight both the features and benefits of your products or services. Focus on the benefits that are most important to your ideal client.

Step 6: Offer a Guarantee

Provide a guarantee that will help reverse the risk for your prospects. This can help convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step 7: Address Objections with Reasons Why

Use reasons why to address frequent objections and explain why you offer a guarantee. This will help build trust with your prospects.

Step 8: Use Social Proof

Leverage social proof such as reviews and testimonials to show that you are good at what you do. This can help build credibility with your prospects.

Step 9: Have a Clear Call to Action

Make sure to include a clear call to action that encourages your prospects to take the next step. This can help move them closer to becoming a paying client.

Steps for Turnaround Management

When it comes to managing your working capital, it's important to match outflows to inflow cycles as much as possible. If you don't ask for concessions, you won't get them.

Demerits of Negative Working Capital

Negative working capital can have many disadvantages for a business. Day-to-day operations, such as paying salaries and managing inventory and equipment, can become more challenging. The focus may shift from sales to collections, which can lead to missed growth opportunities and lost trade discounts. Additionally, a small cyclical, situational, or seasonal phase can result in bankruptcy or a winding-up petition by creditors. A bad financial reputation and higher interest rates can also result from a lower rating.

During lockdown, it is important for businesses to expand their research and identify locations with abundant resources and technology transfer possibilities. They should also look for unserved and underserved markets and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of logistics costs versus new capital expenditures. Identifying partners for consortium-based export and regional executors can also help businesses succeed in a global market, as can identifying markets with ease of doing business and free trade agreements with India. It is important to balance growth at any cost with the path to profitability and to remember that localization is the key to global success.

To achieve success, businesses should focus on execution excellence, establish essential goals, and maintain a compelling scoreboard. It is important to balance effort score versus result score and identify where improvements can be made. Commitment and achievement sheets can help keep track of progress, and effective meetings can result from utilizing the task, responsible, action steps, timeline, reviewer, and support (TRA-TRSE) framework.

During lockdown, businesses should plan and save costs to increase profitability, manage debt and working capital, and analyze the profitability of each product. Implementing cost-cutting measures such as zero-based budgeting and lean inventory management can also be effective. It is important to identify revenues that contribute to profit and cash flow and to enter into partnerships and alliances to manage cash flow. Relevant data and ratios should be analyzed, and if necessary, a financial consultant or CA should be consulted. Finally, a 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year plan should be prepared post-lockdown.

Technology To Work From Home Successfully & Build A Digital Business

Are you looking for ways to effectively work from home and build a digital business during the Corona lockdown? One important aspect is to track employee productivity and manage your business remotely. Here's a framework to help you achieve this:

8 AM - 8 PM: Date

Team member achievement attendance

Tasks:

- Write content for all videos

- Contribute 20 posts daily to social media campaign

- Manage studio to create content for all problem-solving courses during lockdown

- Create content for product videos

- Create content for SEO blogs on website

- Convert video content to vernacular language

- Collaborate with on-boarding team to start first stage of speaker assessment (sample video)

- Shoot the final course within a stipulated time limit

- Provide feedback to post-production team on quality of videos

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track:

- No. of speakers rejected in screening vs. no. of auditions done

- No. of videos shot vs. no. of videos targeted

- No. of videos rejected vs. total videos shot

- No. of courses gone LIVE vs. no. of courses shot

- No. of course gone LIVE per month

- No. of speakers rejected pre-screen test vs. no. of tests submitted

In addition, here are some technologies that can help you work effectively from home:

- Google Hangouts: Download the app to connect with your team via video calls.

- Google Suite (Google Spreadsheet): Use this suite of tools to work on spreadsheets with multiple team members in real-time.

- Canva: This easy-to-use design tool can help you create social media communication, infographics, and other marketing materials.

- Chat Bots: Consider using chat bots to reduce the cost of sales and customer service. Companies like Haptik specialize in this area.

Remember to invest in growing your marketing communication during these challenging times. Use these tools and frameworks to help you work from home successfully and build a thriving digital business.

Here is a list of 133 chat bot developers located in India: https://clutch.co/in/developers/artificial-intelligence/chatbots.

If you are a business owner, you may find Whatsapp for Business helpful. It is a version of Whatsapp designed specifically for businesses. One of its most important features is that businesses can upload a list of their products, services, or solutions, which customers can view. Whatsapp for Business can also act as a chat bot for small business owners. You can download it for Android at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.whatsapp.w4bb or for iOS at https://apps.apple.com/app/whatsapp-business/id13864129856.

In work-from-home mode, maintaining and measuring efficiency can be challenging. To ensure that you achieve all of your key responsibility areas, you need a to-do list app that consistently reminds you of your to-do list. TODOIST is one of the best to-do list apps in the world. It's not just a list-making app; it also acts as a project management tool. Additionally, TODOIST can be used with teams, so whether you are a one-person army or a small or mid-sized company, you can use TODOIST to ensure efficiency. You can download the TODOIST app at https://todoist.com/businessii for businesses or https://todoist.com/home for individuals.

Basecamp is the world's easiest and most effective project management software. Project management is essential for running any business effectively, particularly when employees are working from home. Everything that you do in a company or as a one-person team is a project. When you define every task to be achieved as a project, you can assign clear responsibilities to owners of tasks, track and measure the task to its successful execution, and track and project any delays. Basecamp is designed to help you run your business remotely. You can easily get started with Basecamp by visiting their website and registering at https://basecamp.com/g. Basecamp can also be used on mobile devices and on Mac.


As a busy senior executive or business owner with several tasks and responsibilities, it is important to have an assistant. However, most small business owners cannot afford a full-time assistant. This is where an automated assistant comes in handy. Google Assistant is a virtual assistant that you can use on your smartphone, smartwatch, smart speaker, or even in your car. If you use it smartly, you can use it as a business automation tool. Google Assistant is completely free and you can use it to not only remind yourself of events in your life, such as scheduled meetings, but also to automate other areas of your business, such as placing an order on an e-commerce portal and getting it delivered without even visiting the website of the e-commerce company. You can also schedule your car maintenance or automate other important areas of your work.

One effective way to utilize Google Assistant is to assign repetitive tasks in your business to it. For instance, if you need to send a daily reminder to your sales head to share the sales numbers, Google Assistant can handle that task for you without any effort on your part. To download Google Assistant, use the following links: Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goo; iOS https://apps.apple.com/in/app/google-assistant/id1220976145.

Regarding Learning Management Systems (LMS), it is a crucial but often underutilized growth strategy for any business, whether big or small. It is essential to invest in your employees by implementing an LMS. Establishing a process for employees to acquire new skills and competencies should be the primary goal.

Contrary to popular belief, investing in your employees' personal and professional growth through an LMS does not lead to them leaving for better opportunities. In fact, it has the opposite effect, as in the knowledge economy, employees tend to stay with organizations that invest in them. An LMS can have a significant impact on employee retention in your business. Some companies even use LMS as a hiring strategy by emphasizing that their employees are well-trained, with, for example, 100 hours of training every year.

It is essential to ensure that your LMS is mobile-ready, as most people consume content when they have time, and the mobile device is always at hand. The best approach to implementing an LMS is to partner with a content company that provides valuable content and technology for your employees. It is not necessary to create an LMS from scratch. Instead, consider white-labeling content and technology from a company that already has it.

How to Transform Traditional Business to a Digital Business?

Looking to become a digital entrepreneur? With COVID-19 changing the way the world operates, it's essential for businesses to embrace the future of digital entrepreneurship. By implementing technology and reducing operational costs, businesses can automate their operations and see results faster. In this session, we'll discuss the technologies you need to transform your business into a digital one.

One crucial element is having a website. While businesses with a website need not worry, those without one must create one. Websites are essential not just for businesses, but also for consultants and individuals. Some businesses may not have a clear budget for website design and maintenance. If you need to set up a well-designed website in under 60 minutes, refer to the information below.

Do you know what WordPress is? It's a content management system used by 27% of websites around the world. It's also free to use. You can go to wordpress.org to use it directly, or if you want to host a website on your own domain, like kevos.com, you can install a version of WordPress on that domain.

To host a WordPress-powered website, you need to follow a few steps. First, you must buy a domain name, like .com, .org, or .in, from a domain hosting website like GoDaddy. Then, you need to buy hosting, which is like purchasing land to build your house on. After you've secured your domain and hosting, you will receive CPanel details. Log in to your CPanel and upload a version of WordPress, which is usually done automatically by most hosting companies. Once you've installed WordPress, install a free theme from WordPress.org, which has thousands of great looking themes provided by companies and individuals around the world. Once you've uploaded the theme, you can start entering content on your website.

If you have a budget for website design, you can hire website design agencies, ideally someone local to your area. If you're comfortable with hiring freelancers, you can go to freelancer.com or similar websites to find freelancers from around the world who can build you a great-looking website on a shoestring budget. It's important to ensure that your website is mobile-ready, meaning it's responsive and can be easily viewed on mobile devices or tablets.

Not every business needs a mobile app, but if you're a consumer-facing business or a direct-to-customer business, it's essential. Some great use cases for a mobile app include financial instrument sales companies like Bajaj Capital, food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato, online shopping apps like Amazon and Flipkart, and utility services apps like Urban Clap and Uber.

In today's world, mobile devices are becoming increasingly important, and it's vital for B2B companies to have a mobile interface. Examples of such companies include ICICI Bank Online Banking for Businesses, PayTM for Business, and WhatsApp for Business. Field sales professionals can also benefit from attendance tracking mechanisms on mobile devices. While there are online platforms available for designing mobile apps, it's advisable to hire a mobile app design agency since designing and maintaining a mobile app is usually more expensive than creating a basic website.

Building a successful mobile app involves several steps, the first being CRM or customer relationship management. CRM technology is a powerful tool that is essential for all businesses, whether B2C or B2B. The CRM helps businesses understand their customers better, build customer funnels, and automate marketing. It also creates a dashboard that provides business owners with a deep insight into customers and revenue. Examples of CRM tools include Zoho CRM for startups, small businesses, and mid-size companies, Salesforce for large, complex operations, and Hubspot for fast-moving internet or product-based companies.

ERP or enterprise resource planning is another essential technology that helps business owners automate all processes across the company and provides a clear, in-depth dashboard showing the company's actual health in real-time. ERP can be used by small, mid-size, and large businesses alike. For example, Amazon warehouses use several ERP systems to manage their operations, while logistics companies fundamentally rely on ERP systems to allocate delivery personnel to tasks.

Processing payments online is crucial for businesses to transform into digital businesses. For individual consultants, startups, and small businesses, PayTM for Business, Razorpay, and PayUmoney are the easiest apps to use to accept and receive online payments. For large businesses, online banking and respective banking apps are the platforms to accept and receive online payments.

Cybersecurity is a prime concern for all businesses, regardless of size. To protect against phishing, hacking, and other data theft, it's essential to use original antivirus software across the company and train team members to be aware of cybersecurity. The top five antivirus software programs for 2020 are Norton, Bitdefender, Panda, TotalAV, and Bull Guard.

E-commerce is the future, and leveraging the power of selling to customers via e-commerce is key for businesses to transform into digital businesses. While existing platforms like Amazon and Flipkart are available, small businesses can also create their platforms.

If you want more control over your sales margins and customer experience, having your own platform is the way to go. To start your own self-branded online store, you can use a platform like Shopify. By signing up with Shopify, you can create your online store with ease. All technology and integrations with distribution partners will be taken care of by Shopify, leaving you with the sole responsibility of providing your customers with the best products, prices, and service.

Facebook ads have become the most powerful advertising and customer acquisition platform for small and mid-size businesses. If you feel that your customers are on Facebook, running Facebook ads can attract them to your business even when you're sleeping. To start with Facebook ads, you'll need to create a Facebook page for your business and select advertising on top of the page. The Facebook advertising platform helps you target potential customers not only from a demographic perspective but also based on deep interests. For instance, a 20-year-old male might be more interested in music and playing online games, making him a perfect target for a gaming company. Similarly, a 25-40-year-old female might be interested in contemporary fashion, making her an excellent target for fashion brands. The most important consideration for success in running Facebook ads is the ad copy. Ensure that your creative design and your ad copy are beautiful and to the point. Announcing sales and offers can also attract more potential customers.

Summary:

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant shift towards remote work has taken place across various industries. This has led to a new reality where working from home has become the norm for businesses worldwide. As a result, it is essential for organizations to embrace technology and implement it in their operations to achieve a range of benefits. These benefits may include effectively tracking employee efficiency, reducing operational costs, enhancing the overall customer experience, and transforming into a digital business. By doing so, businesses can not only adapt to the changing times but also thrive in the new world.

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