Written by: Siddharth Dabhade
About the author: Managing Director at MiQ. Ex Google | Microsoft. Tech biz builder and investor
In 2008, I was at Microsoft looking after a territory in South India region. The 2008 financial crisis hit hard every business. Majority of business in South India was hit as it was not only impacted by India slowdown but also outsourcing business was hit because it was directly connected to US Economy.
It was a tough period, we applied numerous strategies and some clearly proved to be very effective. Those learnings are very useful in the current times during this pandemic as well.
Focus on your clients
During a slowdown or a crisis period, it is very important to double down on supporting the clients. It is always a good strategy to go out of the way to support clients. Specially during these times, it is critical. Your existing clients might have reduced or stopped doing business, that does not mean that you do not support them. As with all things in life, your intentions matter a lot. We doubled down on giving the tech support and helping them solve the problems related to the investments they have already done.
Change the value proposition to make it more relevant during crisis
Understand what clients need at this point in time related to your services and focus on that. Listening is very important. During crisis times, business models undergo changes. Can you help your clients make this transition? Can you structure your business deals in such a way that it takes into account cash flow issues which happen during times of crisis?
Take more chances
Do more client meetings than usual years. Not to sell but to learn. To get inputs. To understand how you can be of help. Business is a numbers game. The more prospects and people you reach out to, the better your chances of understanding how you can help and also you will get more chances to help more prospects. It might feel that things are moving very slowly during crisis but when things will start to recover, you will reap all the benefit of the past hard-work.
Take care of yourself
To do all the above, it is very important to take care of yourself. Watch motivational videos and content. Do not focus too much on daily news consumption as it will all be bad during crisis times. (It is important to be informed but even once a weekly news summary is a good way to be updated instead of getting into the hype of daily bad news). Exercise and meditate. Choose to do your favourite activities and pamper yourself. Clearly differentiate between what you control and do those activities and let go of factors which you do not have control of.
It was tough but all the hard-work during the crisis time paid off handsomely. We came together as a team. Very grateful to my colleagues and leaders who helped keep up the spirit. Due to the invaluable guidance, in 2010, we also won the highest award by the chairman of Microsoft India for the excellent results. Most importantly, I learnt some lessons which I felt have been useful since then in my career in a very big way.
It is important to remember, tough times do not last. We have to keep helping each other and things will turn around. They always do. No doubt there is lot of suffering but I do see a lot of good coming out of Covid-19 pandemic as well eventually. That is how humanity has survived and progressed for so long and it will happen again for sure.