A True Survival Story of a Woman Entrepreneur
The Indian education sector that qualifies hundreds and thousands of students every year for professional jobs is staggering now. Besides the edtech sector, academic institutions and various other education-related companies are striving to remain buoyant. While big companies and academic institutions have amassed capital and investors to help them run business. On the flipside, the pandemic is testing resilience of the small companies, which are not backed by investors nor gathered immense savings. Nonetheless, small companies are not giving up yet and enduring the market pressure.
The Delhi-based Rays Careers is one such small company that is operating business despite prevailing unfavourable conditions. The company provides career counselling services to the students for undergraduate courses. In the present scenario, parents are not paying school fees, personal tutor fees and also, not reaching to the education consultants for counselling. Thus, all businesses in the education sector, besides edtech industry, are hammered due to the Coronavirus.
"Students are focusing on studies right now and trying to cope up with school education that has been digitised completely. At the same time, parents are struggling to pay off school fees. Hence, there is a bad sail for small businesses in the education market," Ruby Saurakhia, Founder of Rays Careers, explains the customer mindset.
Like other companies in the domain, the company is majorly affected by the crisis. It is unable to take biometric tests of the students as the government has prohibited use of biometrics in offices and other places. Thus, biometric tests have been eliminated from its services. Psychometric tests and career counselling are only services that the company is offering.
Important Measures Taken
As the economy is falling apart, the education sector, which has not fully adopted technology, is suffering the most. Coaching centres that train students for undergraduate entrance tests have been facing troubles as the students are not willing to pay coaching fees currently. This affected the counselling businesses that help students find a stream as per their interest and aptitude.
To tackle this situation, Rays Careers has taken effective steps such as trimming down counselling fees, offering telephonic counselling services and also, video counselling services. Following the safety measures, it has temporarily closed off its office and asked employees to work remotely. Owing to the less demand, it has also laid off a few seasonal employees as the company mainly performs offline marketing that was not possible in the current situation.
The company is operational throughout the lockdown period. To keep professional fears at bay, it is paying full remuneration to its employees on a timely basis.
According to Saurakhia, she is not letting her team get panicked during this crisis and doing her best to make them feel comfortable while working from home.
Optimising the Lockdown Phase
Irregardless of low customers, the company has not stopped promotional activity yet. It has created a strategy to attract potential customers by rolling out customised emails after understanding their requirements of the target audience. While sending promotional emails, the company makes sure that it offers knowledge about the education industry, importance of counselling at the time, and also gives an insight of the post lockdown world to the customers.
While test takers have widely decreased, the company has utilised the time to increase its nexus. During the lockdown phase, it has formed several partnerships with varsities and coaching centres. In the pre-lockdown phase, it did not have as many partnerships with academic institutions as it has now. Thus, it has managed an additional source of revenue through student referral programs.
Education Sector in the Post-lockdown Phase
The market situation can be very risky if the Coronavirus does not halt in the near future. The market will take immense time to become normalised.
"Parents will not allow students to go to schools and coaching centres. Also, there would not be many students enrolling into schools and coaching institutions," Saurakhia told BusinessEx.
The positive aspect of the education industry is that academic institutions have started delivering online education to students. Things are expected to normalise in the education sector by the next academic session that is, April 2021. Even families dealing with financial problems may revive by the next academic session and apprehension led by the pandemic would end.
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