2019-20 was a very interesting, and for many, a very forgettable year, with the pandemic
and all the associated problems it brought about. With most of the world in various degrees
of lockdown, economic activity came to a grinding halt. A few sectors fared better than
others, some countries performed comparatively better but by and large, it was a picture of
doom and gloom.
That said, with every downturn, comes a new hope, a new vision, and a guarded optimism that the only way forward would be up. #OnwardsAndUpdwards became the hashtag of hope that millions around the world resonated with. Surely, things couldn’t get any worse, could they? More and more people started to make the best of a gloomy situation, most of my connections on LinkedIn added the #OpenToWork hashtag to their profiles to indicate to potential clients and recruiters that they were ready and raring to go with their next assignment, if given a chance.
While a lot of these were merely symbolic social media rhetoric, we need to remember that much of their year, for most people, was spent on social media. Holed up at home, and with not much to do, many became keyboard warriors, in a good way, focusing on rebranding and recreating their image on the internet. And surprisingly, this did open doors that otherwise we wouldn’t even have known to exist. New opportunities came up, people got new gigs, in fact the ‘gig economy’ grew by almost 33% to USD 1.7 trillion (from about USD 1.2 trillion before the pandemic), its biggest surge ever!
Here at TSB, we used the pandemic as constructively as possible to rebuild, rebrand and reposition ourselves for times ahead. We used this opportunity to secure prime real estate for our Middle East operations, at the World Trade Center in Dubai, where we moved our office in July last year. We renegotiated terms with existing clients with a bid to ensuring we supported them through these challenging times without them having to break the bank to pay us for our services. We hired young and dynamic consultants to add to our team, to bring perspectives and insights on how to realign our services with changing times and enter new, hitherto virgin sectors for us, a la, fashion and F&B, areas where we had only limited exposure in the past. Scaling up on our existing capabilities in fashion and lifestyle, in 2020 we forayed into niche industry segments including the streetwear and customized womenswear space.
While it is no secret that our work reduced by almost 30% during the last year, we utilized the luxury of having extra time to focus on internal initiatives to emerge stronger and better. Intensive in-house training programs were launched for all of us to upgrade our skillsets, our advisory board was delighted to welcome more distinguished personalities from the world of business to provide a guiding light for us, and we focused extensively on expanding operation remotely in South America, an oft neglected region, given the enormous language and distance barriers between Asia and South America. Exploring the IT, healthcare and education sectors in South America, we added invaluable regional expertise and further expanded our reach globally. We also studied our competitors, other consulting firms of repute, learnt from their pitfalls, and tried to incorporate some good practices from them, all with a view to making TSB healthier and stronger.
As we come to the end of this long dark pandemic tunnel, we are now more focused than ever, more prepared than ever to carry forward the good work in to 2021 and beyond. We are #OpenForBusiness, we always have been, and from here, it is only going to get better. We are not just focused on achieving pre pandemic levels of business, but also surpassing what we have ever achieved in the past. #OnwardsAndUpwards and looking forward to connecting with you guys over business, or coffee. Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay optimistic. I strongly believe, the worst of the pandemic is over, and better days are here again.