The streets are beginning to light up, the board announcing sale is up on stores and home owners are gearing up to wield the broomsticks to clean their house of dirt. All of the signs are screaming only one thing – Diwali is here.
While the festivities brighten up everyone’s mood and almost every employee waits the annual holiday to go back home, an entrepreneur burns the midnight oil albeit in a brightly lit office.
Balancing it All
Balancing professional and personal life becomes a greater deal now for an entrepreneur has to let go of the functions at home in order to manage the Diwali targets. Samar Singla, CEO and founder of Jugnoo, even goes on to say that work life balance is not an option for entrepreneurs; profession is always intertwined with life.
“I prioritize my tasks, either professional or personal, focus on the most important things that need to be accomplished and keep the things that are not so important at the back burner. It helps me clear the clutter and makes things better,” said Singla.
Like Singla, others too believe that prioritising is key to working your way out of problems when the demand is more. With processes in place that not just automate the daily work but also ensure the task is done, helps in meeting the targets. Bharat Sethi, founder of PosterGully, said, “The key is to build strong processes and a solid middle management to take care at pressing times. Focus comes not by being always accessible but be having a streamlined reporting and customer delighting culture.”
Sethi believes in delegating tasks and communicating any delays or delivery issues with clients well in advance.
Higher Revenue, Greater Work Pressure
For most start-ups, Diwali is a rush time with a huge number of orders coming their way and almost always, resulting in total chaos. For these founders, Diwali or not, there is no holiday. So, what they need is to work out ways to stay focused during the festive season.
For Apeksha Jain, founder of The Gourmet Jar, 30-40 per cent of her annual revenue comes in during the month leading up to Diwali and that itself becomes her biggest motivation to stay focused. “This month is our chance to maximise sales, and it helps make up for the low summer months. And just the fact that thousands of people are going to be gifted our products motivates us to push ourselves harder. It’s an exciting time of the year, so there is no feeling of lethargy or lack of focus. The high pressure to ensure all orders are delivered on time is another thing that helps us stay focused,” said Jain.
She remembers Diwali as the time when orders pour in faster than they can handle, logistics are a nightmare with customers wanting their orders immediately after they place them.
“We just have to breathe easy, put our heads down, prioritise tasks, and keep moving. And yes, sometimes in order to stay sane, you have to refuse orders. It’s hard, very hard, but it just has to be done,” said Jain.
Employee Benefits Come Before Anything Else
Understanding that their employees are putting in extra efforts even at a time when they could do anything to be at home shows the empathetic side of the entrepreneur. Almost every start-up founder takes note of employees taking off well in advance and organises work accordingly. At Jugnoo, a flexible work environment helps and they even let employees work from home on special requests. “When the employees are unable to take off due to work, we party in the office. For entertainment, we have foosball, table-tennis, pool-table, fully functional shooting range and also play movies in-house,” said Singla.
But keeping in mind that the festive season brings with it a lighter mood, founders too don’t get too serious. For Jain at The Gourmet Jar the trick lies in making the environment fun while pushing everyone to work faster and smarter. “We also set milestones during this month and keep celebrating as and when we achieve them with a treat for the entire staff. We reward each employee with monetary and non-monetary gifts after the festive season so it keeps them motivated,” said Jain.
Read more: Entrepreneur