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REVIVAL FROM THE CRISIS – A NOTE FOR DEVELOPER COMMUNITY.

This too will be over SOON. 

Lockdown 1.0(total closure of all manufacturing, services, travel, etc. barring essential services), Lockdown 2.0 (Staggered and Controlled firing up of the economic engine) and post-May 3rd slow return to normalcy (provided we fair well on containing the spread of virus). 

Survival – Revival – Sustenance is the strategy which the government seems to be following. 

We have survived falling prey to the deadly virus losing a large number of lives like elsewhere in the world. Our top leadership, Our Prime Minister bit the bullet and chose Lives to Livelihood when the pandemic broke in India and announced Lockdown 1.0. Of course, there is a big economic cost to the decision but saving human lives was perhaps the most important thing and I am sure we all agree to it. We saw that the central government and all state government step forward to ensure lockdown was properly managed. The step broke the spread of virus to quite an extent. The RBI came out with a slew of measures on 27th March to boost liquidity to give comfort by moratorium, extended time to complete compliances and also reduced lending rates to help the consumer. 

Lockdown 2.0 announced on 14th April until May 3rd with an approach to start economic activity in a staggered way is very welcome as it will benefit the farmers, the people working in the construction sector in rural areas, manufacturing and service industry falling out of the red zone or hot spots with restrictive measures. The idea is to save livelihood from the bottom of the pyramid to the top 

Real Estate sector has been quite adversely affected by the lockdown. Three main areas where there is a disruption are 

1.    Labour 

2.    Liquidity 

3.    Demand 

Labour has migrated back to their villages in place of construction coming to a standstill and prospects not clear. There is an excessive shortage of fund availability and the industry has prayed for relief. Lastly the demand side has been extremely poor and Jan-March quarter 2020 residential sales are down 42 % to the corresponding quarter. With the pandemic we are further seeing a lack of confidence in the consumer and hence sales are not going to be robust for 1 or 2 quarters for sure.

RECOVERY STRATEGY FOR REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY 

1. MANAGING COST: From curtailing Business Class travel to unwanted spending on lavish meetings in luxury hotels – from carelessly spending on electricity to managing spend on expensive refreshments – from having excessive headcount for future planned growth to controlling the current wages bill and finally from liberally spending on marketing activities giving limited results to offering schemes to sell the product – ALL COSTS NEED TO BE MANAGED. HR department has to do a rigorous job of counselling employees to motivating him to shoulder responsibility, not only cutting costs but also being more productive with creative ideas and creativity.  

2. CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT: This function is primarily the duty of the finance department but in current circumstances the revenue-generating and collecting teams meaning SALES & CRM need to be taken into confidence and briefed the day-to-day expenditure and need. STRATEGY will play the most important role in bailing out developers from these tough times. We saw the disruption from demonization in 2016 and after GST and RERA the new compliance structure which developers could not cope with. However, there were some who smartly – strategically and swiftly brought in new thought processes and sailed over the changing times.

3.  DELEGATING AUTHORITY TO TAKE QUICK DECISION: There is no time to work in a strict bureaucratic manner where all decisions are taken by just the top management. Every department head has to be made a leader of his business of work and allowed to act in complete autonomy. It’s a war-like situation and ACTION IS THE WEAPON TO WIN OVER IT.

4. YOUR OLD EXPERIENCED ARE YOUR BEST BET: There may be some seniors in your organization on retirement and some who may have just retired. GET THEM ALL TOGETHER AT THIS TIME. They are the ones who saw you win various recessions and downfalls; they are the ones who knew the art and science to deal with crisis and they are the ones who have the most belongings with the organization. The new ones – may be young-energetic and tech-savvy but will not be in a place to handle this for certain.

5. MARKETING & COMMUNICATION: Only the capable need to be on board to broadcast your message and combine trust within the consumer. Real Estate is NO FMCG – real estate has an emotion and only real estate marketing professionals can convey the correct message 

6. INSTINCT: Belief in your understanding or INSTINCT whatever you may say is your best bet DEAR DEVELOPER. Follow your instinct. LEHMAN crisis is a statement of the best minds who made wonderful projections and presentations using EXCEL SHEET – POWER POINT etc. but could not save the SUBPRIME CRISIS which is also called “GFC: GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS”. 

The IMF has projected a 1.9 % growth this year and 7.4 % in the next financial. I am sure we all understand that the revival of the real estate industry is written on the wall. it may take 2-3 quarters to slowly grow up to the desires level but post that decades of green pastures await all who tide over this pandemic. Good Luck! 

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Sanjeev Kathuria is an entrepreneur and accomplished expert in a variety of areas pertaining to Real Estate such as land buying, liasoning, marketing, sales, construction and development. His chief interests lie in strategic sales and marketing as well as business development. Over the last decade, he has sold inventory worth Rs. 13,000 crores. Sanjeev’s strong value system and his integrity and commitment to his customers has been appreciated by everybody he has worked with. His new initiative of delivering quality content about real estate has been lauded by numerous industrialists and industry leaders.

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