Start-ups hope for the best while preparing for the worst

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KATHMANDU: Three months ago, Pujan Manandhar, Founder of Simplyyou.np, a décor producing start-up invested in several expensive pieces of machinery for his company.

“It was a plausible step considering that the wedding season was fast approaching while regular orders and inquiries were also increasing,” Manandhar shares.

“I was hoping to level-up my business, but after a month of making the purchase, I had to shut shop. Times are uncertain at present as we have gotten around only 12 inquiries since the lockdown began, while making a delivery is impossible,” he adds.

Like Simplyyou.np, thousands of non-essential entrepreneurial ventures have come to a grinding halt because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and clothing start-up InstaDIY is also one of them. Roshan Lamichhane, Co-founder at the company, shares, “We have not had a single sale in the past three months even though we have had inquiries with customers willing to pay. But we have not been able to operate at all.”

As per Lamichhane, before the lockdown, things were looking good for the company. “Our sales figures were going up, and we were planning to hire new employees as well. Thankfully, things regarding the new hires had still not been finalised, so we were able to save funds on that matter.”

However, he shares that the company’s founders are having a hard time since their only source of income has shut down.

On the other hands, some start-ups are also seeking new opportunities in this crisis.  Biddha Nanda Jha, Founder of Orange Ball, a pest-control company, shares that his company has changed its operational mechanisms.

He says, “We have started delivery of sanitary products and PPE along with starting disinfection services for banks and co-operatives.”

Jha informs that the company lost its major clients from the hospitality industry because of the coronavirus outbreak and shares, “We have to accept the challenges that come at us as entrepreneurs and have been investing on staff training. Though funds are tight at the moment, we have enough to operate for a month.”

As per Jha, entrepreneurial ventures like his are facing problems regarding funds for survival, human resources management and financial management and says, “We plan to resume normal operations by June if possible so that we can start to prepare for our fight for survival.”

Lamichhane shares, “Though we do not know how we will recuperate from this, we are preparing for a future where sales will be at an all-time low even after lockdown ends as people will start to focus more on absolute necessities rather than commodities. But as an apparel company and clothing as a basic human necessity, we have hopes that our business will pick up.”

As per him, InstaDIY, like many companies, is coming up with a game plan and utilising time by keeping in touch with its customers.

As an entrepreneur, Manandhar has prepared for the worst and says, “I will fight to continue this business after the lockdown lifts, but if survival becomes tough I will have no choice but to shut it down.”



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