Opening a Business During Covid-19, Harleen Jabbal talks to Shameer Jobanputra

Shameer Jobanputra, Founder- Global Fusion Agency

The beginning of 2020, brought in many hopes and aspirations. However, the world did not expect that it would suddenly have to go into survival mode because of a pandemic called Covid-19. Since the record of the first case in Kenya on 13th March, 2020 it is now crossing over to 5 months of lockdown and various other measures to control the spread. During this period, initially there was the shock to deal with the loss of everyday life, then the lull of what to really do, scramble to pay bills, salvage savings and manage to keep a healthy mind and body.

Few have had the courage to see the opportunity and then actually act on it, for the creation, innovation or introduction of a new product, service or an entire business. Crossover Kenya’s Harleen Jabbal had a chat with Shameer Jobanputra, Founder- Global Fusion Agency on his new venture especially during this time of Covid-19:

HJ: How was your idea born?

SJ: I have always taken keen interest in the evolution of digital technology and its impact on business and life in general. Today we’re seeing the prevalence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and its application across almost every sector you can think of – from manufacturing and healthcare to education and aviation.
This trend is what primarily inspired the Globbot idea as I wanted to leverage on this technology to build AI driven business solutions.

HJ: Opening a business in the time of COVID-19 can be deemed risky, what is giving you resilience?

SJ: Definitely a risky move. However, opportunity and risk go hand in hand. I’m a strong believer in finding opportunities amidst crisis because there’s always one. I must say the launch was timely, coming at a time when businesses have allowed employees flexible hours and adopting the work from home (WFH) model.

At the same time, the customers still demand uninterrupted service 24/7. Our chatbots are filling the gap by ensuring that key business services in sales, marketing, and customer service run seamlessly. What drives my resilience is seeing how businesses are benefiting from our products. Am constantly looking for new ways to do it better and generate greater business impact.

HJ: Past lessons learnt that you are implementing in this new venture.

SJ: One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is to be proactive in rolling out new ideas and not to procrastinate. Am also learning to trust my gut and strike while the iron is hot.
Last year for instance, I had planned to roll out Globbot but I was unable to.
In as much as the product has thrived in this season, I am convinced that an early launch would have positioned Globbot for bigger opportunities like the Covid screening chatbots that we have in the pipeline. No regrets though.

HJ: Future expectations that you are hoping to achieve from this new venture.

SJ: The future brings with it massive opportunities. The AI technology, as mentioned earlier, is permeating all industries. But specific to what we’re doing i.e. conversational AI, automation of sales and marketing and service processes, we will be looking to scale our offering in a bid to help more businesses focus their human resources in more productive areas within the company while allowing chatbots to take care of those mundane and repetitive tasks.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

HJ: Why is it important to still stay in business and not employment, especially from the recent economic trials we are facing?

SJ: I strongly believe that running your own business gives one greater levels of control and influence on their destiny – especially financial destiny. It helps you to build self reliance, which means removing your fate from someone else’s hands.
Don’t get me wrong, an 9-5pm job has it’s place and people have built great careers working in full time employment. We have all seen the unfortunate incidents during Covid. There are massive layoffs, pay cuts and unpaid leaves affecting employees working 9-5pm jobs. I sympathize with this situation.
In addition, as a business owner I have the privilege  of providing solutions to the society and creating opportunities.
Being a business owner is advantageous since it gives me the flexibility to to pivot and quickly adjust my strategies to deal with severe economic situations like we’re currently experiencing.
Lastly, being in business gives me an upper hand in decision making and am able to innovate with the times in a manner that is favourable to me.

About Globbot:

Globbot is a chatbot development company that creates intelligent, interactive and customizable chatbots for an array of different business sectors. Through conversational A.I, we build chatbots that offer an effortless and intuitively understandable interface, instant responses, 24/7 availability, personalization, easy to navigate and use & much more.