While the outbreak of novel Coronavirus has hit business of all sizes, the small businesses in particular are bearing the brunt of massive financial losses due to the nationwide lockdown call to combat the threat. As the death toll keeps on mounting due to the fatal virus, governments across the globe are putting severe restrictions on businesses and people’s movement. While it is true that there is no other way around this lockdown, these restrictions are adversely impacting small enterprises, many of which are now closing their doors for an indefinite period of time.
The lockdown in view of the Covid-19 threat has led to a dip in both production and demand. And while the big firms will not have to worry about money issues during this lockdown period, small businesses, artisans, independent fashion designers may have a hard time earning their livelihood. MSMEs which rely on every day sales will suffer financial losses as no shops are allowed to remain open during this lockdown. Consequently, young entrepreneurs, independent fashion creators, embroiders, and weavers may go out of work for days due to cash flow crisis, supply chain delays, and reduced demand.
Surviving the storm
The upcoming summer season is typically a period of great sale for every business but this lockdown has forced traders to sit on their inventory stock and wait for this phase to pass. Retail purchases are almost negligible and online shopping has also dipped due to Covid-19 outbreak. But as they say, the show must go on. The businesses which have an online presence are offering substantial discounts to beef up sales. Online sales have been made the focus until the offline market recovers from the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the fashion industry is also doing its part to survive (if not thrive) and combat coronavirus. As the disease is fast becoming an epidemic-level threat, fashion sector is ensuring that people do not go out of safety gears like face masks, hand gloves and protective suits for health workers.Yes, they don’t make much selling masks to traders but those in fashion sector acknowledge that Covid-19 has brought an unprecedented crisis and they are ready to battle it.
Similarly, handicraft and other small businesses are working to ensure that they have an innovative stock which can bring them good sales once the lockdown is lifted. Young entrepreneurs are leveraging this down time to devise their future business strategy.
The silver lining
It is beyond any doubt that Covid-19 crisis isn’t good for any sector but business experts suggest that this phase could bring a long pending overhaul in the country. China, where Coronavirus originated, was virtually the global hub of manufacturing. The availability of cheap labour and advanced technology made big firms shift their bases in China. But Covid-19 outbreak has underscored the fragility of dependence on China. And now the giants of every sector are looking with great optimism towards India.
Once this Covid-19 threat passes, many global brands may shift their production units in India due to availability of skilled labour. Our price competitiveness makes us an even more attractive destination for business. If this transition happens, millions of weavers,embroiders, artisans will get job opportunities and small businesses will get a good chance to thrive in lack of Chinese dominance on the markets. Also, independent fashion designers and ethnic fashion would get a boost.
As the saying goes, “this too shall pass”.We are confident that businesses in Indian will bounce back even more strongly once the dust settles and we conquer Covid-19 threat.