The Entrepreneurial Mindset
Every business reacts differently to disruptions. Our response to this COVID-19 situation is through an entrepreneurial mindset and instincts – I’ll explain how.
As Reid Hoffman had alluded in his book on building the plane while we fly, and you continue to move away from family, village, tribe, city and country mindset. But I think you must go in the reverse gear during crises, you cannot follow the similar model of growth as used in usual times – but instead go in reverse gear.
Start thinking like a family and village where empathy, communication, and trust are key values to fall upon. As simple as thinking big when the times are good, and doing the opposite when the times are testing.
Making a decision on the fly, quick adaption to situations, relying on a strong culture, communication with the customer, and more. This is why I call it building the plane while flying it. You put a hold to your current processes and shift the lower gear of bare minimal processes.
What Went South
I am not a COVID-19 expert, and we (Fulcrum Digital) too weren’t prepared for this situation. But when this hit us, we too were affected just as other businesses are – just that the magnitude for companies differs.
Certain Industries got impacted severely, and that had a cascading effect on our business. Most of the schools and universities are closed for a longer period, which triggered cost optimization initiatives for them.
However, the Universities with a focus on online education did not suffer during these times; instead, they are looking to extend their businesses. Some of the projects got delayed by a few months, and they are returning to revive those projects.
What Worked in Our Favor
The trust with our long-term customers has played a pivotal role in helping us sail through the turbulent times. Banking, insurance, and healthcare companies have accelerated their pace to capture new opportunities after COVID.
Manufacturing, retail and logistics companies have changed their focus to automate and innovate new ways of servicing their customers. We have seen significant adoption of cloud and SaaS-based apps. While working from home, some of the prospects have shown interest in the demo of our business platforms.
CULTURE! – Trust, Transparency, & Collaboration – Our core values were put to the test.
The situation undoubtedly got us worried. We triggered the business continuity plan and daily huddle to act, react, take on the spot decision, be honest, and transparent. Our value system is put to test more than ever and our collaborative approach coupled with agility has kept us flying the aircraft.
Our global footprint helped us in client outreach. If one office was hit, we relied on a different one to keep business operations moving. Our supplies from multiple offices helped us stay afloat.
Our evenly-spread customer portfolio too helped us. We’ve Fortune 500 customers along with many mid-sized ones too. The balancing act is helping us to remain rock-solid. Our relationships with the customers are strong, and are based on trust and transparency – this has helped us grow together.
COVID – Marathon Strategy
Conservation of energy, resources and using it judiciously lies at the core of this entrepreneurial mindset. That’s exactly what we are doing. For any business, resources (cashflow/assets/employees) are the energy – we’ve to reserve and optimize them and make sure that our business is up and running.
In any marathon, you don’t start too fast, you plan your course, it is a long race and after 20 miles you will “Hit the Wall”. For marathoners, it’s a widely popular term – your body stores 2000 calories and every mile you burn 100 calories, by the time you reach the 20-mile mark, you have no energy left in your body but you have to go for another 6.2 miles on the course of 26.2, that means you need additional 620 calories.
Hence, the strategy to replenish the energy with hydration, energy bars are critically important. Similarly – during COVID while we started slow, we maintained a moderate pace and kept on bringing a few small and mid-size customers.
Following the mantra of trust and transparency, we optimized and leveraged few newer opportunities with existing clients which gave us the extra energy for survival during this COVID marathon course. Use your magnifying glass to find the cash, conserve, distribute it intelligently and park all the actions which do not show the direct result in few days.
Only the next few months will confirm whether we succeeded in our ‘COVID – Marathon Strategy.’ At this point, we feel confident to finish the race strong. Having experienced other tragedies like recessions and 9/11, we’re a 20-year old company confident of combating this one too – but with a calculative and conservative approach.
The marathon strategy resembles very much with Buddha’s philosophy of moderation. To quote Gautam Buddha, “Life is like the harp string; if it is strung too tight, it won’t play; if it is too loose, it hangs. The tension that produces beautiful sound lies in the middle.” This is a very important mantra. It’s all about moderation.
Our Small Steps with Fulcrum Care
The economy is going to reshape to a new wave which our decision-making will help us ride. We launched ‘Fulcrum Care’ policy for any organization who are suffering due to severe illness of their critical staff. I trust that we’re IT doctors, and we can lend a helping hand to those organization during this dire need. This is a free service with absolutely no strings attached.
After COVID Mantra for Success – What’s Next
We are preparing to accelerate our pace while companies are slowly opening up for business as usual. We see growth happening in three-axis>
- 1) Hybrid work culture – On/off premises
- 2) Emergence of Business Platforms 2.0
- 3) Automation/Augmentation and Innovation.