Jan. 4, 2021
By Mohammed Riaz
We bid farewell not just to a year but to a decade. What an end to a decade, a year which brought the COVID-19 pandemic in the entire world and ushered a new normal. From lockdowns to social distancing to limited engagements; our personal and professional situations altered drastically. For many of my colleagues, ‘work from home’ became a new norm. But for many others COVID-19 took its toll. For some like me - professionals turned entrepreneurs – it was a year full of turbulence. Our strategies, events, people – all neatly mapped out, ready to take off, got disarrayed. As an entrepreneur, take it from me, one is under immense stress to not only steer his company safely but also bears the responsibility for the wellbeing of team members. And the pandemic did not make it any easier for the employees, partners, and customers. Be it seeking to maintain cash flows or trying to uphold aspirations and financial security of my team and self, or ensuring right efforts to maintain partnership, the efforts taken to survive had immense underlying realization. One cannot take life for granted. Gone are the days of being professional where corporate took care of most of the things.
The biggest learning is to have the right kind of people in your team because if an entrepreneur takes onus of staff, partners etc., then they too have a responsibility towards the company. If anyone, irrespective of hierarchy, is not very responsible towards the business then he/she should not be in the team. All team members need to work and contribute towards company’s objective. Take right decisions no matter how harsh. Not all right decisions can be soft. At times, as year 2020 showed, certain decisions can impact some people adversely, but you have to take that tough call, almost cruel, for the benefit of many. Believe me, it’s not at all easy. It is very tough but if it needs to be done, then it needs to be done.
2020 taught me - the more you procrastinate the higher is its opportunity cost. Whenever a decision is not very palatable, we tend to procrastinate or postpone making that definite choice. Procrastination comes with a cost, and a crisis like this teaches you the importance of cost that should not keep you away from taking the right call.
In a crisis, especially like Covid19, one is forced to reflect and spend some time reflecting on one’s weaknesses. One thing is clear that one cannot handle everything and hiring the right mix of people will make the company more sound and mission oriented. Finally it’s the mission orientation that boosts people’s morale and helps to rally around as a team. As a leader, you have to find the best way possible to lift up their morale and the best way to do so is to give them a free hand, after all they are there as they are the specialists. Freedom to work according to me is the best way to beat a crisis situation, now, this may look contradictory but crisis brings out the best of opportunities and abilities. Thus, a dedicated team working remotely needs more of a hand off than hands on approach. My focus was and will be cash flows and paying everybody on time. Also, I realised new members join because of team and purpose, so get this thing right every time is my approach.
Always remember, unity helps to tide over calamity. This, I say because in the last nine months we developed more products and propositions as a team than we did in the previous 24-30 months. Earlier we had just one product Bridge2Capital : an MSME loan assistance product and now we have many more to offer on our fintech platform.
My team proved its mettle and together we usher in happiness and prosperity for all this New Year with new winnings: Bridge2Hissab, Bridge2Gold, Bridge2Health.