The year 2020 has been no less than a rollercoaster ride for businesses across the globe. The stress and anxiety instilled by last year have created a tumultuous environment for entrepreneurs. While many have failed to cope with these uncertain times, few have managed to thrive and are looking forward to a better year in 2021.
One of such entrepreneurs is Mr. Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of OYO Rooms. Regarded as the world’s second-youngest billionaire, this 27-year old entrepreneur hails from Odisha, India. Throughout 2020, Ritesh was in the news for all the right as well as wrong reasons. Last year has been equally turbulent for him as it has been for any entrepreneur.
A Hopeful 2021-
Looking forward, Ritesh is certain that 2021 will be a lot more certain in terms of hopes and possibilities. “For OYO, 2021 will be the year of resurgence after a year of resilience.” Stated Ritesh in a recent interview given to YS Weekender. In 2021, he plans to prioritize OYO’s hotel and home business on building market leadership in South-east Asia, Europe, and of course, India.
A firm believer in making resolutions, Ritesh sees to it that he makes them before the start of every New Year. In 2019, he had decided to visit all the cities that share borders with India, and he did so. By a stroke of luck, his resolution for 2020 was to get enough sleep, which he was successful in doing thanks to COVID-19.
Being the founder of a growing company, Ritesh reveals that he usually gets only 4-5 hours of sleep every night. In 2021, he intends on making a habit to get at least 7 hours of sleep. “When you are working on something with all your intent, you end up pushing your boundaries for one day and it never really stops. You keep saying to yourself—‘One more day’. I want to be more disciplined about it; sleep is the most underrated and unappreciated thing” He further added.
2020 On A Personal & Professional Forefront-
According to Ritesh, 2020 has been the “CTO” companies needed. He believes that the pandemic compelled businesses to better themselves, in terms of technology and understanding data science.
2020 has certainly been a challenging year for all industries, and the hospitality industry is no exception. Despite that, Ritesh is optimistic about OYO’s Rooms future. Professionally and personally, 2020 has taught him a few lessons. He says that the first thing last year has taught him is to be resilient like never before.
Secondly, he strongly advises entrepreneurs to ensure that they indulge in some form of physical activity every day. If one finds it too overwhelming, he suggests that they do it at least three days a week. “Doing it will tell you how much more productive it makes you.” He added.
And lastly, he says that entrepreneurs should always strive to connect with individuals and leaders who are smarter than themselves. The idea is to give them the responsibility and opportunity to be a co-owner. According to him, “it makes life easier to operate as an entrepreneur.”
Ritesh has also found trust to be an important factor for the success of a business. He says that one must not wait to earn trust but should instead learn to give it.
Plans for 2021-
For 2021, Ritesh’s primary focus is to have one-on-one conversations with the company’s hotel partners. He feels that he owes 2021 to his OYOpreneurs for all the hard work they have put in during these tough times. Besides, he also plans on bettering the quality of services offered to OYO’s customers as well as partners. “ I spent the majority of my time in 2020 reviewing the areas of improvement.” He stated.
On a personal vanguard, he wants to spend more time reading Odia novels and poetry that he grew up reading. He also wants to watch No Rules Rules on Netflix and The Culture of Reinvention, whilst listening to some podcasts.
Having spoken about physical activity, he also plans on giving either basketball or cricket a shot this year.
A Message to Fellow Entrepreneurs-
Despite being the second-youngest billionaire in the world, Ritesh thinks no more of himself than a passionate entrepreneur. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, never stop fighting. You might need to change directions, dig a little deeper, but always keep fighting.” He added as a parting message to fellow entrepreneurs.