I am a dreamer. 
What will our future look like?

I don’t have answers. I don’t have predictions. 
I have imagination. I have dreams. 

I was taught that History matters, that it is not just ‘useful’, it is essential. Why? It helps us develop an understanding of being human today. By extension then, I know my present and that will help me develop an understanding of my being in the future? 

Perhaps it would, if I knew my present well. We know so little of this tiny virus that is affecting us today, that discussing future seems rather… er… brave?

By any measure, we have had an unprecedented year so far! Covid19 has given us a lot to think about. And a lot of time needed to think about a lot of things that we want to think about. 

By the time we could say Amen to our 2020 New Year resolutions, the pandemic struck and we started worrying about our lives. Saving lives is priority and so, we all locked ourselves down. Our cities turned into ghost towns. Then we realised that lives saved by throwing the economy under one of the few running buses wasn’t really helping the living folks much at all. So, for greater good, we went on holiday. Crowded English beaches were no Ibiza, Algarve or Costa del Sol. But we tried to help our economy.

We locked down and suffered. Our climate benefited and gave us clear skies, clean air and some long glorious sunshine. Some of us could finally get back to school. Oh, how dare you! Schools were closed due to the pandemic. 

2020 IS DOING a great job teaching us not to take things for granted

Our way of life has changed. The way we think about our homes, workplaces and schools has changed. Our commutes have changed. Vacations, shopping and socialising behaviours have changed. Our priorities have changed.

It has not been easy so far, but we mustn’t despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.

We must have hope. We must adapt. We can and shall do all the things we love, albeit a bit differently.

We will wish mum a happy birthday. We will do it differently.

That Friday evening drinks with friends, yeah, we will do it. Just differently though.

We won’t stop celebrating achievements of our kids or hunt Easter eggs with them. We did it a bit differently than what we were used to.

We all have changed our normal ways of getting what we need. But we still get them!

What does this mean for businesses that provide for these needs? They need to change the way they offer them. 

businesses that adapt TO our NEW NORMAL will remain

I had read this book a long time ago – “Who says elephants can’t dance?” The author makes many points that are relevant to all businesses today. Businesses cannot become complacent with past successes and glories. They must reinvent themselves. Reinvention is necessary to remain relevant in customers minds. Having a 150-year-old business that was started by great grandfather while playing conkers with Albus Dumbledore is a cute story, it isn’t sufficient to survive in our new normal. Elephants must learn to and find they can dance.

Our lives have changed suddenly and many habits have simply vanished. Products and services and their delivery channels will all need to be re-imagined. Existing customers need to be re-trained and new customers must be acquired. We voted against free broadband but we are all still reasonably well connected. Everyone is increasingly looking to digital channels for fulfilling their needs. Engaging us digitally will require businesses to embrace paradigm shifts quickly. 

For traditional family businesses, it is ever more important to adapt quickly. If you are one, your nan, bless her, would be proud, if you embraced digital and gave the business a chance to survive for your children!

There are many challenges for a traditional business to embrace digital channels for engagement. Foremost among them is to cut through the online clutter. So many businesses compete for customers’ fleeting attention online. 

Out of sight is usually out of mind and on the internet, it is easy to be out of sight. 

Have you heard this?

“Where should you bury something so it can never be found?” 

“Google page 2”

We are, in Britain, quite understandably, loathe to overt self-promotion. It is something for the braver people. Many from across the puddle perform rather swimmingly well. But, marketing on the internet, is critical.

I had all these thoughts. Just around Easter earlier this year, there was a news article that a 1000-year-old water mill in Dorset, Sturminster Newton Mill, that was out of commission for years, resumed commercial production to meet rising demand for flour. Now it is no surprise that, here in Britain, we preserve things, that are sometimes too old even for the museums. But bringing a 1000-year old mill back to life – not something one hears every day!

It is impossible to escape Britain’s love for baking and LOCALLY baked goods 

The entire nation was baking. I decided to bake. I had lots of time. There is only so much exercising in the park one can do. 

To decide is easy. To do is another matter. And finally, that fine Thursday mid-day…

I baked. It was a revelation! Three lessons were learnt.

# 1: I ain’t gonna win Great British Bake Off! 

# 2: I won’t be setting up any local bakery.

# 3: I must not let the world see, let alone taste, my bakes! Not then. Not ever!

Later that fateful day, I watched Willy Wonka at his chocolate factory with my 6-year-old son. Mini-Me thought it was brilliant! He called out to Alexa and put in a demand for Willy Wonka’s telly where he could just reach out and grab his chocolate whenever he wanted. 

Given the time we all spent watching telly and ordering online in 2020 – I’d say, Willy Wonka would have had a good run selling those tellys instead of chocolate bars. But he is busy fighting Amber Heard in 2020. That telly isn’t coming. 

But Alexa made a note and sent it on same-day-delivery to Bezos. We may have an amazing Amazon telly soon! Free delivery for Prime members!

Next day, my son wanted a cake and he wasn’t planning to wait for that telly to get it. He demanded Alexa send him one (with chocolate chips in them) immediately. 

Not wanting to disappoint him, I decided to shop for a fresh cake online. I browsed for a while, found a few, and ordered! It was then, for some strange reason, I was reminded of Julius Caesar – Veni, Vidi, Vici !

And I thought, in 2020, it surely must translate to 

I browsed, I found, I ordered !

Which then would mean – 

If I did not see while browsing, I did not find and I totally forgot about the brand

All that money businesses spend on advertising won’t deliver results because google algorithms played God? There has to be an easier way to discover and order. Like an exclusive marketplace of Britain’s finest bakes for lovers of freshly baked products. The idea germinated, many fine minds came together and today, we are proud to present to you – Bakers Market.

Welcome. 

We are UK’s first online bakery marketplace for finest bakery products.

We hope our modest effort makes it easy for everyone to browse, find and order their much-loved, Great Britain’s finest, freshly baked products.

Now you can get your cake and eat it too!

I shall continue with my dreams.

MADHUSUDAN SUNKARA
Co-Founder, Bakers Market

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