Getting Businesses Back On Track Post Lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has put a spoke in the wheel for several businesses, therefore we, deAsra, have created an 8 week intensive program to help businesses get back on track after the economic slump faced due to the lockdown.

Current Situation

The Covid-19 led pandemic can easily be termed as the most unprecedented event of the century. Such is the magnitude of the effects of Covid-19 that it forced the entire world to go into a lockdown, thereby affecting several businesses and in turn the economies too. Now, as the world is slowly but steadily learning to live with the virus while heeding all the safety regulations, it is time for businesses to revive themselves too.

The Covid-19 pandemic put a spoke in the wheel for several businesses but it is now time for them to get back on track. We, at deAsra, therefore created an 8 week intensive program to help businesses get back on track after the economic slump faced due to the lockdown.

Genesis Of The ‘Back On Track’ Program

Let us go a little back in time to how this program came into being. We, deAsra Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, were founded in 2015 with the aim of helping entrepreneurs start and grow their business ventures. Our founder, Dr Anand Deshpande, believes that in order to reduce unemployment we need to nurture job creators, aka, entrepreneurs. With this aim in mind deAsra was able to reach to over 100,000 entrepreneurs and help them in their entrepreneurial journey. We were on cruise control mode assisting and reaching out to several entrepreneurs in realising their business dreams. And then on 22nd March 2020 a nationwide lockdown was declared in India owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, stalling the operations of several businesses. We got busier trying to help our business community survive the crisis — negotiating preferential loan schemes, helping them establish an online presence and reach customers digitally and upskill their business skills.

As the lockdown lifted gradually, we saw the need to support businesses get back on track, and conceptualized an 8 week program offered to entrepreneurs free of cost, termed as Back On Track.

Objective Of The Back On Track Program

The 8 week program was designed with the main objective of guiding entrepreneurs and their business to get back on track, by providing them hands-on training and in session assistance to overcome 2 problem areas (after cash crunch) we had identified as we helped businesses through the lockdown — these were customer acquisition in the new normal and cash flow management. A total of 29 participants were chosen from across the country out of the 500 entries received. Those who were not chosen were given access to various checklists and guidelines to help them with their business.

The chosen participants belonged to diverse fields, some manufacturing food and snacks, some having fashion boutiques while others dealing in fashion accessories and even sustainable fashion, while some running an architectural firm, some owning a salon and many more. The concerns of all these participants ranged from low footfall post the lockdown, lack of knowledge regarding marketing techniques, especially social media marketing in order to reach out to customers, to suffering from cash flow problems.

The Back On Track Program

The Back On Track program is an expert led 8 week long assistance program where participants attend sessions on specific topics to understand and learn to tackle digital marketing and cash flow management better. Additionally they are provided hands-on actionables to practice what they learn, to see improvement in these business areas. Ongoing tracking and monitoring of key performance indicators is taught during the program, to help the participants assess the impact of their actions on their business.

These methodologies and assistance provided is supplemented with one-on-one expert guidance.

Progress On The Back On Track Program

The program is conceptualized keeping in mind all the business areas that participants need help on, along with the provision of actionables, individual assistance sessions and practical hands on training. And, now, with the program ongoing we have already been witness to progress reported by most of the participants. Some participants have been able to generate leads midway through the program itself while others have aced using social media efficiently for their business.

We, at deAsra, have always stood by being the ‘go-to’ place for business owners for any of their entrepreneurial problems. We believe in hand holding the entrepreneurs towards their business success, and the Back On Track program is another step in that direction.

Ms Pradnya Godbole is the CEO of deAsra Foundation, a non-profit company formed to contribute to social welfare by enabling entrepreneurship.