Everything was going on smoothly, right from our factory processes, to our dealers; receiving excellent reviews from athletes and gym owners kept motivating us and made us realize that we were progressing in the right direction.
There were news flashes about corona-virus affecting a couple of Asian and European countries; soon after which we heard about India’s first corona-virus patient being found in the city of Pune, Maharashtra; where I reside with my family and have my business set-up (of gym equipment manufacturing).
Everything came to a Standstill
We in India didn’t really know back then, about this disease or virus but we knew that people in other countries were dying. There was a sudden spike in the number of cases that brought a panic situation in our country. Offices announced work-from-home for their employees; shops, small scale businesses were shutting down, and very soon a countrywide lockdown was announced.
It was the 15th of March 2020 when all the gyms, restaurants, malls, theaters, schools, etc. across India were to be shut down.
“What Happens Next, is up to You” -Chris Sacca
Lockdown kept extending and I could foresee that gyms and other public places would not be operational for a long time. This left me in a situation where I had the responsibility of 100 employees and their families without having any sales in the business. It was an extremely difficult time but the helplessness made me realize that we had to make our way somehow through this.
I kept thinking about the various options that can make use of our existing manufacturing and research facility to keep the operations going. Before COVID19 we were only into the Commercial fitness equipment segment and were catering to only commercial gyms and fitness clubs.
But considering the pandemic, my mind started calculating: people were home quarantined so if we consider 40,000 gyms in India with an average of 300 members per gym, there would be a captive audience of 12 million customers who would want to continue their workout sessions; given the situation where there was an increased awareness on fitness and health. That’s when I had the ‘Eureka moment’ of starting with the Home Gym Equipment segment.
And right then, we formed a CFT (Cross-Functional Team) of Product development, design, vendor development, marketing, and fitness master trainer. We hustled and worked for 15 hours every day to make this idea turn into reality which involved, market research, fast pace product development, testing and scaling up, cash flow management, distribution channel development, marketing, and much more.
I knew my team was also going through a financial crunch so my aim was to keep them motivated by being extremely positive and making them realize that we are going to make our way through this pandemic successfully.
“Entrepreneurship is the Way We Take Control of Our Lives in a Tough Economy” -Lori Greiner
Due to all the efforts put in by each and every person involved in this hustling process, we not only progressed through this crisis but were also able to attract more dealers and channel partners who are now an asset to the company.
Is a person an entrepreneur by birth or does he become one? Well, I think he’s a combination of both because unless he doesn’t rise through difficult times, he doesn’t realize his own worth. In this pandemic, not only entrepreneurs but a lot of people have struggled and managed their way to survive financially and emotionally.
Six months through COVID-19, I feel proud today, to share that we have exported our new range of equipment to three countries already and have confirmed orders and inquiries from more than five countries.
In such difficult times, success can be in any form, financially, mentally, or emotionally; kudos to everyone who have overcome their difficulties and are moving on with their lives.