“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the business landscape we are all familiar with, and it’s hard for anyone to accept the sudden, devastating changes,” Chenyang Xu, an IEEE Fellow says. “Yet accepting the changes is the best step moving forward. The best action any startup founder can take is to not panic.”
It is true that the business ecosystem, specifically the startup structure is constantly changing. But what is also true is that coronavirus has emerged as a blessing in disguise for the startup entrepreneurs. It has been giving new opportunities for the entrepreneurs to think of new business models and a number of innovative ideas for them to expand and retain their customers.
In this article, we will talk about the different strategies that can be applied by the entrepreneurs to make the current period a smooth sailing one for their startups.
A. Start with a reality check
The first step should be to relook into your company’s strategies and how they appear in the current economic situation. Chances are that all the assumptions that you must have made about your clients, stakeholders, partners, etc might not be as true today as they were in the pre-Covid-19 world.
Make short term plans instead of taking a long-term route, for the present strategies should focus more on survival than anything else.
B. Communicate more often with your team
Everyone - your employees, stakeholders, clients - is anxious and worried. In this situation, it is important to talk to them. Tell them how the company is growing, the current situation you are in, and how compassionate you are about their mental and financial state.
Although compassion at this point will have little to no impact on how your profit graph looks like, but it will in fact play a huge role in branding yourself as a company that cares about what their teammates have to say.
Another important part of this new, compassionate leadership style of yours should be to get more conscious about laying off people from your company. What we recommend and practice, is keeping the teammates intact but discussing ‘for the time being’ remuneration policies with them. It would be one of the best examples to show your employees and your stakeholders that you, as a company, take your employees to be your biggest assets.
C. Explore newer avenues
At a time when the entire world is more or less operating remotely, there is one thing that is certain. You now have time to do everything that you were putting off because of the lack of time. Now can be a great time to get back on the long term project that you were too busy for.
This way, when the storm subsides, you will be a lot stronger and better capable to manage the aftermath.
D. Look in the direction of expansion
We understand that presently, expansion would be the last thing to do in your list, after all who can even think of growing their business, with the economists saying that the world is on the verge of collapse. Right? Wrong. The mobile app industry is the example of how with a little investment, you can gain so much in the future. You should, in fact, switch your attention on how to get mobile app idea for your startup during pandemic.
There are a number of mobile centric businesses like Fintech, Edtech, On-demand businesses, etc. that are showing a huge growth potential especially in this pandemic time.
E. Prepare to become completely virtual
If there is one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us, it is the fact that remote work culture is going to become the new norm. Now, when we say remote culture, we don’t just talk about hopping on a Zoom or Skype call and interacting with your entire team. We talk about switching your legacy system to digital mode.
For a startup to survive today and in the coming time, they will have to start looking for ways to migrate their business operations on digital platforms - one that can be accessed by people from around the world, without any issues arising out of the concurrency rates. This is where, they would need help of agencies that are known to digitally transform businesses across the globe, across industries.
F. Have realistic expectations around funding
The valuations of even some of the most innovative startups of the world has changed. The stock market, oil prices, and even the gold rates are getting lower by the working stock market hour.
In this doomsday like situation, it can be a bit unrealistic to expect the wary investors to fund your project. The investors who have now started pulling themselves out of projects in order to have a substantial amount of cash in hand for the uncertain future.
While we recommend taking an unconventional route and going with funding models like the IEO, Crowdfunding, etc. we would also advise you to take a step back. Look back at the amount you have already gathered - in different assets and find a workaround to use them instead of getting investors on a high rate of interest in the current situation.
Although the present situation that is looming in the market is dim and depressive, but the onus of keeping your business, employees, and all your stakeholders going falls down on you. It is time for you to stand up for your startup, find ways to pivot, build up your team morale and get the cycle running.
Ultimately, as entrepreneurs, we have to understand that this time has come bearing opportunities as well. And only those will survive in the future who are ready to take the plunge of expansion and make correct use of their time and efforts today. Only then, you will be several steps ahead of your competition who is not future-centric today.
We hope that you found the strategies helpful. In case you wish to add any point, please share in the comments below.
Tanya Singh, writer