How to survive covid crisis?

Deepika Anu Sharma– Co-founder of nTalent.ai is an IIM-Bangalore graduate and a tech- entrepreneur determined to bring science and structure into skill evaluation and training

 

She started her career by establishing a start-up called Mynkosh Sports Pvt. Ltd where she was the co-founder along with the product in-charge. She successfully built an active-entertainment and sports-gaming start-up, with a vision to integrate entertainment and fitness using the best of technologies. She later joined as the assistant manager at NHPC limited where she got promoted to the position of Product architect in the Design data team. After that, she started the nTalents.ai – an NSRCEL incubated startup.

nTalents.ai is an Artificial Intelligence enabled Talent Management Tool which provides unparalleled accuracy in soft skill and behavioural competency measurements and provides talent insights crucial for business growth.

It measures the true potential of candidates based on the actual performance of job-related tasks and helps select the best candidate by reviewing a comprehensive report.

What is helping your startup survive in this lockdown period?

It’s tough! After the lockdown was imposed, it took us nearly one month to decide on what we can do to help our business survive. In these uncertain times, the best asset we have is our good connection with the people in the industry. Our contacts are helping us survive.

What are the effects of Covid-19 on the startups that came up this year?

Cash crunch! Since there isn’t much business activity taking place, startups and businesses are facing difficulties in managing their cash. Startups are unable to raise funds as investors are very concerned about their money.

How should startups deal with this cash crunch?

Cut down the cost. As there is no source to raise immediate funds now, it is very important for startups to save cash as much as they can for as long as possible. This can be done by practicing simple things like salary cuts, spending only on the most important things, less or no new hiring, availing govt. schemes and tax benefits, etc.

Following the decision of certain firms, should others also consider “work from home” to reduce costs?

Letting employees work from home will definitely reduce the costs like rent, electricity, transport, etc. So it’s a positive thing for any company in terms of cost. But in the case of productivity, it’s a challenge! Since we are not very used to work remotely it will take time for this behavioral change to happen. So a company must be ready to face any such issues with WFH practice.

Will all startups manage to survive this crisis?

Not all! A lot of startups will not be able to survive this situation as a lot of them do not have enough cash to run for so long without any income.

Unfortunately, many of them will be forced to shut soon.

Will the big companies face struggles similar to what startups do?

Same pains but of lower degree. Big companies have a huge financial quotient and still have a cushion for around a year or two in the midst of such a crisis. However, startups usually don’t plan beyond 3 to 5 months. Hence, the big corporates will be able to sail through this crisis better than the startups.

What should startups and small businesses do in this situation?

Maintain the balance. Since the degree of uncertainty is higher now, they need to strike a delicate balance between taking risks for experimentation and being secure. A greater tendency towards security would reduce the appetite for risk.

What are your tips for startups and small businesses?

1. Be safe and healthy. Do not stress out.

2. Network – Build as deep connections as possible with the right people who can help you.

3. Maintain the risk and security balance.

4. Hire people with a keen learning orientation, pro-activeness, mental resilience, and ability to accept challenges.

5. Upgrade – encourage yourself and your employees to learn new things apart from the usual work.

6. Save as much money as you can for as long as possible.

 

Deepika Anu Sharma
Cofounder, nTalentsAI
“Redefining behavioral skill evaluation using Machine Learning”