Indeed! That has been the most prominent learning this year. 2020 has been a curious year. We have not only learned how to adapt to unprecedented events but chartered a whole new way of working and living. The Black Swan COVID 19 deeply affected the lives of people around the world. At the outset, our TMG family extends its heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones during this difficult time.
When the pandemic struck, I wrote to you and expressed how we started to strong-arm the pandemic with 100% of our delivery capacity intact- Taxmantra Global is battle-ready for the COVID-19 outbreak with full client delivery capability intact.
Standing at the end of this eventful year and the dawn of a new decade, I am once again writing to you to thank you for your continued support and partnership.
When the pandemic hit us and the world went under complete lockdown, all kinds of worry and fear started creeping in –although we were already digital-first, but are we digital enough, would we survive the mortality toll of MSMEs, how will the team handle everything, how would the business be impacted, what legacy did we create, can we leverage our brand and survive this, what is the way ahead for a global business if the global sources of business dry up? Health woes – mental sanity – everything was a hot mess. The silence of lockdown became deafening chaos for most of us.
Perhaps for times like these, Roosevelt had said “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
That something is – the maddening, indomitable spirit of entrepreneurship. Once you overcome the shockwaves of the initial hit, you start seeing opportunities. Arguably the best thing that the pandemic did was to bring into light the insecurities, fears, hidden prices that we, as entrepreneurs, pay every day secretly. The fear of everything crumbling that the entire world collectively felt is something that entrepreneurs feel every day. Now, the feeling was the same for everyone everywhere. I feel that this started giving us herd immunity among entrepreneurs 😊
The year 2020 is not a year to forget – it is a year of remembrance – it jolted us to our nerves and made us remember the 4 golden rules of life – a) health is wealth, b) family is the backbone of one’s life, c) diversify, innovate, never be dependent on just one stream of income, d) change is the only constant thing.
1. Empathy – Supporting our clients and our people
This year has been an eye-opener for me. I got time to introspect and grow myself – as a business owner as well as a human being. I strongly believe that crisis reveals character. How we treat our people with empathy, how we continue to stick to our core principles of helping our clients and create value for the ecosystem, defines our character. I can proudly say that we passed the litmus test successfully.
As an organization, we realized the increasing need to deliver wider assurance and the role that our ability to provide a comprehensive range of services can provide. We stayed focussed on what we do best – knowing our businesses better than anybody else. We spoke to our clients, listened to them, understood their challenges, and hardships. Our team worked tirelessly to help them navigate through this crisis -strategizing, building pivots, creating war rooms.
At the same time, the safety and security of our people and preserving their jobs and pay were somethings that we could not and did not negotiate upon. Our team has been working completely remotely since even before the lockdown was announced. There were no pay cuts and/or layoffs and we continue to take pride in our team which is global and resilient.
2. Building and innovating process-driven mechanisms – empowering leaders in your team
Sometimes, we as entrepreneurs, try to control too much. We have this itch to be in control of everything and in the process of doing so, we tend to block our time and mind space in micromanaging things. The biggest thing I did this lockdown is letting go of things.
We worked on innovating our processes, letting our processes control how we work. We continued to innovate and develop new products and services and assist our clients in digitizing their tax and regulatory functions.
One thing that I have always believed in is – leading by accountability. That is achieved by empowering your people. Flexibility, independence, and trust is the key. We also undertook a major recruitment drive for various positions in our organizations.
3. Importance of relationships – family – health
When faced with adversity, we start appreciating the value of things we have. Our connections, relationships – with our family, friends, clients, near and dear ones – start becoming more and more important. During this lockdown, I got connected to my roots even more than before. I started appreciating the little things, taking care of our health, working towards personal development.
What we Achieved in 2020:
1. Leveraging Our Digital First Legacy –
I cannot reiterate more that we, as a business, were always a digital-first brand. Our processes were always technology-enabled, our systems were cloud-based, our team was digital minded. We started working from home even before the lockdown was officially announced. Since Day 1 of the pandemic to date, our delivery capabilities have been 100% intact. Our business grew twofold. We managed to record a 150% growth in client onboarding during the period April -December 2020 as compared to April-December 2019. While the entire world grappled to get a strong footing, we were one of the few ones strong-arming the pandemic.
2. Accelerated my angel investor avatar –
People who know me know how much I am connected to the startup ecosystem. One of my constant goals has been to nurture the growing startups from India and SEA.
This year, I am happy to share that I have turned full-time investor and have invested in 8 startups in my personal capacity.