In the most difficult times lie the greatest opportunities. For startups, the coronavirus crisis looks like an existential risk. And it is no doubt a short-term disaster for many. Over the medium and longer term, however, the stronger startup companies will benefit. Many of today’s leading global firms like Google, Amazon, or Salesforce grew as startups during the dot.com crash in 2000 and again in 2008. The coronavirus crisis will once again create new winners. There are three main areas of ensuring that your startup activities will benefit from this crisis:
- Look after your financial health. The No. 1 priority of any founder must be to prevent the company from running out of cash. In this crisis, many founders are fearful of losing their startup business. Explore areas to preserve cash. Explore your clients’ appetite for subscription-based consumption models. Tap into state programs to lessen the financial impact of the crisis. Explore short-term work scenarios and support scenes. Start negotiating the next funding round.
- Look after your operational health. Define what operational challenges and customer demands you want to address. As a founder, it is your job to address immediate operational challenges and to reduce operational mistakes. Ask yourself whether you should and can change the nature of your business. Focus on time management. Participate in ongoing hackathons and build startup innovation ecosystems. Embrace option-based thinking and stop clinging to long-term plans. Use agility to your advantage. Communicate early and regularly to all relevant stakeholders. Prepare for post-crisis changes.
- Look after your mental health. Far from being a soft issue, mental health is the most precious asset to bring to the table in times of crisis. Accordingly, as a founder, demonstrate leadership for your startup. Stay positive, pragmatic, and forward-looking. Be creative. Be disciplined. Connect with people. Show empathy. Exercise.
For a detailed analysis of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on startups, please visit ForresterNow.