EXCLUSIVE | Ambika Sharma, Pulp Strategy: Learn to do more with less [Year-Ender 2020]

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Ambika Sharma, Founder and MD, Pulp Strategy, is a marketer with more than two decades of experience in strategic planning, omni-channel marketing, new-age marketing, tech integration and more.

In this exclusive piece, Sharma looks back at 2020 and writes about the challenges the year presented, how she and her team overcame them, the lessons she learnt and more.

Read on.


2020 shall be remembered with infamy. It universally caught most of us unprepared. While entering the lockdown a lot of us approached it like a vacation of 21 days and life will be back to normal. What 2020 became was a lesson in agility and inner strength. It was like a seismograph where all known patterns went for a toss. For me, It was a year of immense personal growth and learning.

As an entrepreneur, impatience is a way of doing things, one wants to do new things, make big plans, and storm full-steam ahead. Last year was more of consolidation, making dispassionate choices as far as business goes, and realignment of the future. I had to pause and think of the game plan for survival first.

 Realigning to a new way of work and people relationships took time, grit, and some innovation. I am proud of the way the team stood together in supporting business and each other. As I look back to the lowest point in May and June, I realize that ‘this too shall pass’ is true: Ambika Sharma

Keeping people motivated was hard; there was a time when the best of us were on shaky ground, there were safety and health concerns all around, the dynamics of people management changed. There were days when just keeping morale up was an uphill task.

Realigning to a new way of work and people relationships took time, grit, and some innovation. I am proud of the way the team stood together in supporting business and one other. As I look back no the lowest point of  May and June, I realize that ‘this too shall pass’ is true.

I gained perspective and patience, learnt to differentiate between real crisis and course of business. If anyone was to ask, I think this was my most important takeaway from 2020: Ambika Sharma

At times the best course of action is keeping your head down and getting through. It’s resulted in a new way of thinking individually and as an organization, it proves that under the right amount of pressure; young or old, businesses big and small, every one rethought their business models.

Investments and capex have shifted meaning. Like most businesses we shifted gears relooked at our cost heads and productivity, people and workplaces. I learnt to look beyond the surroundings and focus on the things that matter. It’s an important lesson that has, I hope, made me a better person and an evolved entrepreneur.

With people, it was about achieving the right balance of empathy, motivation, and goal setting. Retrospectively, I could have done many things differently, and some things I would not change.

Learning to do more with less was challenging and refreshing. Budgets were realigned as clients grappled with supply chains and reduced spends. Plans changed, then changed again and again. There was a point when, by the time the execution plan, was ready the brief had changed; 18 hours a day were being spent in planning, only to restart again the week after. Much was built and many lessons were well learnt.

I gained perspective and patience, learnt to differentiate between real crisis and course of business. If anyone was to ask, I think this was my most important takeaway from 2020.

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