Astrum's business and economic impact C-suite survey says economy will bounce back in 12 months

Industry leaders are down but not out, revealed Astrum’s Business and Economic Impact of COVID19 survey of 70 C-suite executives (including some board members) across the major sector and business hubs across the country. These include NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune.

The survey was undertaken during the second and third week of April 2020. All CXOs agree, that both their industry and business have been impacted negatively, projecting the GDP to be under 2% for the current fiscal. 

However, they (66% )believe that they will emerge stronger and smarter out of it and (17%) believe that they will be back to where they were.

“It’s heartening to see the resilience and resolve of industry leaders to emerge stronger and smarter from the crisis”, say’s Ashwani Singla, founding and managing partner of Astrum, a science-based specialist reputation management advisory.

CXOs felt the biggest challenge in this crisis was managing cash flows (47%) and business continuity (28%) followed by profitability (12%), employee retention (7%) and growth (6%). The key lesson they learnt was that engaged employees (40%) and crisis preparedness (31%) are critical for success in difficult times. 

Another interesting finding was that a strong reputation of the organisation helps weather the storm as employees, partners, other stakeholders in the ecosystem are more invested. 

Source: Astrum Survey, April 2020

“The study points to a critical lack of crisis preparedness within the C Suite, with 3-out-of-5 executives stating that they were only ‘somewhat ready’ and ‘used their instincts to manage the situation, investing in a crisis preparedness exercise would serve them well to successfully negotiate unforeseen crises and emerge with a stronger reputation,” adds Singla. 

According to the Study, as CXOs recalibrate in the new environment the focus will be on positive moves. Most of them will prioritise redefining business strategy (55%) followed by digitisation (55%), trimming frill expenses (50%) and innovating (47%). Another area that ranks high on the consideration list will be re-evaluating business model. 

Source: Astrum April 2020 survey

The good news is that only a fraction of CXOs are looking to laying off staff. ’Whilst giving a thumbs up (86%) to the government’s handling of the #COVID19, they felt that a better job could be done of handling the economic situation. 

The study echoes the sentiment in the current business environment that India does have a chance to emerge stronger from this crisis provided this optimism and planning for the future is supported by targeted stimulus packages for MSMEs, fiscal incentives, and suitable incentives for attracting investments to ‘Make in India’. 

Amongst some of the many recommendations to revive the economy, CXOs would like to see government to increase focus on infrastructure investment, improving liquidity, increase consumer spending and provide a policy and regulatory environment that incentivises local industry to invest in modernisation and human capital development.

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