Opportunities during lockdown

Contributed By: Hrishikesh Deshmukh, CFA

Nowadays everyone is talking about the adverse effects of COVID 19 on us. How it may affect the economy badly or, how people may lose their jobs. But why not be a bit optimistic, every few years there has been a crisis in the world which has affected the world in bad ways. But during each of these downturns one or the other industry has gone up and done well. This is a silver line we should be searching around the black clouds.

Today, instead of writing on the bad effects of lock down, I am going to write on two good opportunities and how can we leverage them for our success? In India many professionals work in IT or ITeS sector like me. This means most of us are having our client or main office abroad and we support them from India. Till now it was always an issue as Indian technology employees were physically in India supporting the client abroad, while our counterparts in foreign countries were working in the same physical location. They could just walk up to the client and discuss different projects and issues face to face, which created better understanding and rapport for them. This gave them the advantage when competing for important roles or projects in the company.

All this can change now, with the lockdown everyone is working from home and hopefully for next one year people will prefer digital calls instead of walking down to discuss. So yes we are going to be on the same level as our counterparts abroad. So why not take advantage of this opportunity? How ? Let’s start with simple things, keep our video feed ON, let the client start recognizing us by our face. Humans are programmed to respond to visual cues more than any other sensory input. By using video conferencing we can have similar face to face conversations like our counterparts.

Next we should get familiar with our clients, let’s try to set up meetings outside the work schedule. Discuss topics which are not strictly business. We should try to convert formal discussions into informal conversations. We can bring different flavors to the table, doing some reading and research about the person we are going to meet online will take a long way in achieving this. We can use their publicly available information during the conversation. It does not mean we need to infringe on their privacy, but there can be a lot to converse without prying into private matters. These small conversations will take the bond building to a new level.

One more advantage of working from home is it saves a lot of commute time. We can definitely use this saved time to stay late online by creating more time overlap than the office timings. We can definitely compensate for that by starting the day late. These small things always go a long way in getting us that particular project or the promotion we were looking for.

Let’s move to the second opportunity! Many of us after working for 8-10 years in the same industry or a company want to start our own little venture. It’s a frequent discussion that how we will make better money if we put the same hard work in our own venture!

It is very easy to dream and whine that we don’t get time to work on these ideas. But during the lockdown time we can use this opportunity and start working on our dream project! We are already cutting down on our commute daily, saving 1-2 hours a day. If we can manage better office work, we can spare few hours for our own work. We need to put it to a good use. Need to create a business plan? Start working on the initial draft, there are many online resources which help in creating business plans. Starting now will lead to a fine product someday. Many startup accelerators are providing online courses on how to start our own business. Register for them and mingle online with like minded people. Such people can definitely provide the much needed inspiration to take the plunge. If some idea does not need a big physical setup we can start by creating an MVP (Minimum viable product) for it. There is no need for ditching the job and jumping blindly in big ideas. Instead small scale validation of ideas by creating proof of concepts for business assumptions instills the much required confidence. Instead of talking only, it’s time we get in action and make our ideas into flesh and blood.

About the Author:

Hrishikesh Deshmukh, CFA has more than 14 years of experience in Financial Services Domain. Currently he is working as Vice President Business Analysis at BNY Mellon Pune. He has been working on wide range of functions including Big data analytics, Natural language processing, Investment analysis, Alternative investment services, Real estate administration etc. He holds MBA from Nirma University along with Science degree in Physics. After earning his CFA charter in 2012 Hrishikesh has been very active volunteer with CFA India society. Currently he is co-chair of all India PCE committee and a core member of India Research challenge. Hrishikesh has delivered multiple talks on upcoming technologies and their effects. He has also written multiple articles around this topic.

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