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Improvising To Sail Through Uncertainty
“Business challenges are usually ones that can be resolved because the solutions are within one’s ambit. I try to view myself as a ‘problem solver’ and try to find solutions to every problem”
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Growing up, there was no pressure to join the family business for Nirupa Shankar, who at 18 went to the US for her undergraduate studies. “I wanted to work there and get more exposure before thinking about joining the family business,” she says, recounting how she ended up joining Brigade.
“While studying I explored different industries like consulting, hospitality and advertising. Post-college, I got a job as a risk advisory consultant. During that time, I had the opportunity to work on a hospitality assignment. I found it extremely interesting and decided to pursue my Masters in Management in Hospitality from Cornell. Once that was done, Brigade was just launching its first hotel. I felt the time was ripe for me to go back to India and help expand the hospitality division having been away from home for eight years.”
Shankar was always fascinated by the hotel industry and had a keen eye for managing properties from a young age. She found it to be a balance between working numbers and working people be it in luxury or budget hotels. She spent the first eight years working solely on hospitality and presently handles Brigade’s hospitality, retail and office portfolios.
Contrary to perception, family business owners have their own set of challenges and are not always served on a silver platter. However, Shankar took all the challenges in her stride. “Business challenges are usually ones that can be resolved because the solutions are within one’s ambit. I try to view myself as a ‘problem solver’ and try to find solutions to every problem that comes up,” she says.
“However, there are those challenges that are not within one’s control such as external market conditions or laws, e.g. GST laws, RERA regulation, the Covid-19 pandemic. These challenges do not have solutions within an individuals’ control. In such times, one needs to make the best of the situation and find the smartest and most efficient way to manage it considering even competitors have to find ways to work in the same environment,” she adds.
The positivity remains despite the ongoing pandemic curfew which negatively impacted the hotel and tourism industry maximum. “While the impact has been devastating from a revenue and profitability perspective, the silver lining is that we have all had to find creative ways to generate new sources of revenue, go outside our comfort zone and find new demand segments, which previously did not exist.” says Shankar.
Other ways in which she improvised included getting the same quantum of work from fewer people, and training staff to become multi-skilled. All this while hoping for the best and being mentally prepared for the worst. It is her optimistic attitude and never-say-never spirit which we can take a cue from and implement in our day-today life for ever progressive results..