A positive outlook during challenging times.
Puneet Mahindroo, Founder and CEO of Rev-Mantra Hospitality Consulting Firm, partner and friend of 8M with investments in F&B concepts, has an impressive and spirited attitude during these somewhat troubling times.
We chatted over a virtual ‘Smoggy Old Fashioned’ or two from The Old Man’s takeaway menu…
What 3 words would you use to describe the ‘COVID effect’ on your business?
Profound, Transformative and Inspiring
Tell us a little about how your business strategy shifted during this time
Pandemics rarely come with any warning but in this case, we had been watching the events unfold across different parts of the world. To us, it seemed like a matter of time before they hit Singapore and larger parts of Asia Pacific. So instead of incremental reactive approach, we reimagined the entire business model for each SBU.
Way before the circuit breaker, we developed “What If” scenarios, financial implications and plans of action. The only thing though we kept constant is that we wouldn’t lose any of our team members.
In doing so, we narrowed down on four areas – Digital Enablement, Diversification, Ecommerce and High Quality Merchandising with a strong focus on delivering an equally engaging virtual experience.
Have you seen positive results from your business pivot?
Absolutely, that’s what is keeping us afloat. Some interesting success stories across the SBUs that have become more apparent now include:
• Takeaway/Delivery of Cocktails (Something The Old Man SG pioneered)
• Domestic and cross-border Brand collaborations to merchandise or promote related products and services
• Virtual corporate events
• Online training and consulting engagements
• Ecommerce delivering over 3% conversion rate with 25:1 ROI
• Even winning awards and being recognised
But this is an evolving situation, so we have to constantly adapt, enhance and innovate. Success achieved today can be really short-lived.
How has the pandemic affected your company culture?
I won’t say it has changed our company culture, rather qualities that we imagined were our strengths have been put to an ultimate and unprecedented test – innovation and ingenuity, collaborative spirit, strong sense of community and an entrepreneurial pursuit.
What are the positive learnings that you’re taking away from this?
Wow! This has been such a steep learning curve. But I would like to summarise it in 10 key lessons:
1. Fear Is Ok. Complacency Will Kill You.
2. Anticipating the future and establishing a clear point of view is key.
3. There is no time to waste – execute with speed, agility and nimbleness
4. Communicate transparently
5. Great leadership is not always about leading but also being led
6. It is alright to say you need help and ask for it!
7. You’re not alone. We are in it together. This is the time to collaborate and support
8. Doing Nothing Is Not Acceptable. Test, Measure, Learn and Improvise.
9. These are the moments that define us as a business and define our social responsibility
10. Remember all those who lent a helping hand and show your gratitude and “Give Back” as things improve
What does your ‘new normal’ look like?
It’s a new normal for us every day! Every day we wake up look at what has transpired and changed. Quickly establish a point-of-view and that becomes the “New Normal”.
Why did you choose to partner with 8M originally?
I think its best described in Facebook Audience ‘lingo” of “look-alikes”. Our progressive partnership that we share with 8M is a convergence of similar values, beliefs and aspirations. I spoke about the strengths of our culture and find a compelling reflection of innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurial pursuit and community embedded deeply in the 8M DNA. On the other hand, 8M is equally committed to fostering quality venues as we are driven by establishing ourselves as a brand of repute. Again this pursuit of excellence binds us together.
How has your experience been with 8M (as a landlord) during this time?
Disruption and calamity are a true test of a relationship – both personal and commercial. Our transparent communication approach, sound reason, and mutual respect and concern for each other’s long-term success have stood the testament of the pandemic. We feel fortunate to be working with such progressive visionaries. It’s always been the right choice!