Mangaluru, Ocober 9, 2020: Coronavirus pandemic has posed the biggest challenge in history to the survival of economy and business globally. Mangalore Today spoke to leading lights of business and industry to analyse the situation and gain their unique perspectives on the way back to recovery and growth. Excerpts from the Interview with Mukund Kamath, Proprietor, Ideal Ice Cream, Mangaluru:
How do you assess the Covid-19 pandemic impact on business, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)?
Most of the MSME’s are severely affected due to Covid-19 lock down. The sales figures have reduced to anywhere between 25% and 75%. Some of the service industries like tourism and entertainment industry came to a standstill. The only sector which did reasonably well was FMCG and health care. There was a boost to online platforms once the unlockdown process started. For MSME’s not only the sales were affected, cash flow was the biggest concern since pre-Covid-19 receivables also weren’t paid by many customers.
How to survive the crisis brought by the Covid-19 pandemic (in general)? What are the steps you have taken in your business to overcome hurdles?
Remaining positive during the crisis, innovation and adaptation to the crisis is the key. Ice cream was one of the most affected industries during the pandemic and even our ice cream parlours were affected badly since it’s a labour intensive industry. But principally we decided not to remove a single employee even though 80% staff was not working; we paid the salaries too. We started to produce some new items from our Ideal Cafe like ‘Ghee Roast Masala paste’ and started online deliveries across India. The main objective was to keep our staff as well as to remain active in business. We are still working on many more innovative ideas so that even if the pandemic extends to next year we can sustain. Banks were helpful extending the credit facilities and government credit scheme for MSME was very handy for the working capital requirements.
What is your advice to people in general and businessmen to survive the pandemic and take life forward?
My advice to people is that we can’t always control the many things around us. How ever powerful we are, we can not challenge the power of nature. We may have goals, ambitions, targets but unforeseen crisis like this will foil everything. Hence we should be prepared for these situations. It is important that everyone should keep up physical health and financial health as far as possible to survive worst situations. I am sure this pandemic is a big lesson for every one of us and we will see the world in a different way and learn so many things. Going forward, hope that everything will come back to normalcy however we should be patient enough to wait for it. We should support each other as a business community and work together for mutual benefits. I am happy to share that we as ice cream industry worked together and helped each other.