A few hours ago the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom confirmed 9.3 million cases of novel coronavirus across the globe and it may hit the 10 million mark in the coming week. The kind of pace the spread of this deadly disease has picked up, it is not only fatal to human lives but also to the world economy. Dwindling economies, people losing jobs and experiencing salary cuts, business losing out on their profits, it is indeed a difficult time for everyone. Governments around the world have released more than $13 trillion to hold together the otherwise falling economies and maintain growth. It is estimated that the government deficits can go as high as $30 trillion by 2023, according to a report by McKinsey. In this volcano of disruption the attention also goes to the startup ecosystem, where every enterprise is not backed by as huge support as an MNC. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought faster changes and sudden factors, some of which are surprising and maiden for which teams weren’t set up to deal with. Businesses have to be more careful during this time and pay more attention to innovative problem-solving.
Startup being a very closed knit circuit and dynamic too, daily activities are becoming more and more critical day by day. Startup CEOs need to take all kinds of measures to stay afloat in such a crisis. Managing their financial, operational and organizational workarounds is more than essential right now.
Here’s how Startups can up their game to stay relevant & profitable in a post covid world-
Smooth operations are at the core of any business. Many companies have already started work from home policies including Deloitte, Microsoft, Oyo among others. It’s very important that newer policies conducive to a ‘work from home‘ environment are developed and implemented as soon as possible. Along with that, it’s a good idea to revise the performance metrics system which calculates productivity in the right manner as per the changing environment. Since it’s a new challenge for organisations and employees both a benefit of doubt and greater flexibility should be encouraged in the workplace. Since employees are at home and other engagements are bound to interrupt at times, strict monitoring must be avoided as long as they are clear with their deliverables and do not compromise the same. If it all, a company is calling selected employees at the official site, proper sanitation and other government guidelines must be followed without an excuse. All these measures will improve employee satisfaction and thus increase productivity for the firm.
A defined plan answering the hows and whys of the company becomes very crucial in a challenging phase like this. As it is clear that it is highly unlikely that the situation will improve soon, a plan for coming twelve months is something that startups should have in hand. CEOs and leaders should start training their employees and develop clearer workflow protocols to insulate against staffing deficits that may arise, as explained by TechCrunch. Pinpointing discrepancies in their supply chain in a changing environment to come up with essential solutions is another important step that cannot be ignored. Next up, distribute and redistribute tasks to get a better perspective on prospective solutions as clearly such times need a thoughtful approach. Another good idea is to partner with other firms and create synergy and be relevant in the market if they weren’t before individually.
Money is absolutely one of the reasons you do what you do. In times when companies have a fractured balance sheet, it is wise to focus on revenue over growth, at least in the short run. This will ensure liquidity against unexpected demand and supply shocks. Focus on cost reduction and smaller-scale contracts will be an optimal way of balancing finances. Another important measure includes close monitoring of your cash flow and detailed attention on fixed and variable costs. Additionally, it is expected that there can be a dip in VC/HNI funding for a short while and there could be a delay in decision making from their end but previous records show that the bounceback after such downfalls have been quick, hence pause the panic state and approach your existing investors even for deferred funding.
It’s an information age and no matter what the economic scenario is, the importance of communication cannot be emphasized enough. From older to newer, investors to customers, make use of your contacts by communicating effectively and sharing your problems. Honest conversations often give birth to the greatest ideas and this is the time to experiment this. Better communication will help leaders to emerge out of this crisis and shine like a true entrepreneur. The spine of getting your product across with the value you wish to offer depends on how well you convey your message, all the stakeholders will empathize with the problems and solutions you are offering in testing times like these if you win this brownie point.
Don’t Stop Innovating!
Every morning you wake up there is a better product in the market. Just like nature, the business world keeps renewing itself. There is always a scope of improvement and that is where innovation brings you the edge. Many companies have modified their products to suit the corona times to stay at their positions. Some examples are: airbnb modified it’s landing page and started introducing live cooking shows with hosting guests, Government has launched its own applications to monitor coronavirus cases in the vicinity of an individual, An outkey was launched recently which lets you open doors and use elevators without contact. Invest some time in brainstorming with teams from all departments. After all, an idea can change a business.