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This crisis can provide new dimensions for Startups

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Ravi Singh

COVID-19: The CORONA Virus Pandemic, has undoubtedly affected the whole world and its economy, health, lives, and even future of many sectors. Although its first case was detected in China in December 2019, and then it took one month since then, to come here in India, and we got our first case in India in 30th January (approx.) When it was at initial level we were, not so much worried, and thought that it wont affect India much more. As said, it was a virus outbreak from bats and snakes, so it was quite understandable that it’s safe to stay vegan.

At COEXCL, we are running a digital learning portal, which serves 24×7 online tutor facility and digital contents as per syllabus for all the students of our client schools, and institutes and therefore Our business is majorly dependent on students and schools, so we also thought that it won’t affect our business, because we are into online business sector, and our business don’t require much of the physical products, nor we do any kind of Imports from china but it was not so.

Although our tutors are across world, but they we also least affected by it. Thensoon we came to know through media, about seriousness of the COVID-19 around the world, and even CBSE began to postponed its exams, then we also believed that situation is going to be worse if we didn’t do anything.

For the marketing team the time was going to be much difficult. As most of the academic decisions of schools, institutes and parents are made in between march-april only, so it was a peak time for our business, which was going to vanish in one go. We had made a huge list of prospoects schools and clients, who had really liked our service in trial version, and they even were prepared to implement it as a service to make their school more advanced and equipped with facilities like 24×7 online tutors and all digital contents.

So, many of such deals, meetings, onto which final decisions were supposed to be taken before march were postponed due to COVID-19. Some of our existing client schools were supposed to increase the order size by new academic session (2020-21) also, because they really liked our service last year (2019-20). So, it was a time for us to compromise with all those new acquisitions, prospects, business and plans that we had made in starting of the new year. It was very sad to think of that situation, that you had given demo, free trials, Marketing expenses, taken user feedbacks, and when time came for actual purchase and service delivery, then situation went out of control.

It was a time like, you are driving a car in middle of a race, and then suddenly your brakes fails. Then you realise, that you put so much effort to reach here in the race, you think of all those struggle time, efforts, expenses, preparation, travels, etc, then there are two option, that either you have to neutralise the gear and shunt the car on side, and forget about past, and come again next year or you can put feet even hard on the accelerator. Therefore, at that time, me and our management group took some tough decisions, and implemented. We didn’t applied brakes to our idea, instead we gave more rays. Some of them are as follows:

1. We extended Service time for existing Clients: We didn’t stopped our service to our existing client schools, even we knew that might its possible, that we will be not be paid for the month of march, or might the service renewals will take 1-2 months extra. We didnt even put a single pressure of renewals, or bill payments on our clients schools, instead we told them that the services of March is not chargable, as we don’t look for profit all the time, somethings are meant for ethics also.

2. Work from home is best for tutors also: We encouraged our online tutors, to work from home more efficiently, and on time reply should come for every student’s query, and they did really well. It doesnot matter for us, where are they, important is if they are respecting the work and is understanding the importance of dedications then there is no issue.

3. No Payments hold: We even didn’t stopped payment of any of our associates or staffs, no matter what. Because there was only one thing that mattered to us at that time, was that students (end-users) should be happy and satisfied at any case. So, if we stop any payment, it will affect the service.

4. Building a next level of trust with everyone: So, overall we had some little loss, as for a startup, its not a small thing, and in return to this we got all our client school retained for 100% for the new session, and even few of them are planning to increase the order size with us by as soon as the next session starts. The school management, and especially students were really happy that even epidemic can’t stop their studies and coexcl is always for them 24×7 with all our live tutor assistance and digital learning.

The thing which i learned from this is:

No matter how bad the situation is, if you are affirmed with your quality of service and commitment of work, then the world will respect you. Money loss can however be retained, but if we lose our clients, trust, value and user base for little things like bills then our brand will never have retained. Whatever you do, either good or bad, the universe has a very beautiful mechanism of returning it to you. That’s called faith, so just have faith on yourself, and if your work is worthy you will never go out of sight.

We never look for short term profit, instead we look for a brand value creation in the field of digital learning which is our vision.

(Ravi Singh, Founder & CEO, COEXCL Services Pvt. Ltd.)

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