Startup life has never been easy and immediately rewarding, however, just a few months ago, who would expect things to change so much? No matter how hard it may seem to succeed now than ever before, in this startup survival guide you will learn the best strategies for how your startup can hold its ground and keep moving forward.
Stay tuned to discover startup tips that will help you emerge stronger in the current economic crisis and life after it.
Embrace the changes, which you can’t deny
Whenever some adversity occurs, you will always find people who don’t want to recognize it and accept it for what it is. Though we can see that some businesses suffer more severe and evident damages than others, still no one will be able to say that he escaped pandemic’s impact.
The sooner startup leaders put the rejection behind, the better they will be equipped to minimize the extent of the effect. Such readiness is going to guarantee better preparation in dealing with emerging challenges, thus ensuring more security for leaders and their stakeholders.
Things are different, so should your plan be
Whenever you approved your operating plan for 2020, coronavirus changes everything. Therefore, your plan from the beginning of the year cannot remain the same in the middle of the crisis.
An outline of the core points in your business model will help you define risks and opportunities that the pandemic brings. Analyze these points and the connections between them to see where you need to adjust and what opportunities new changes bring during the crisis.
Four essential aspects of your business model
Will your product have higher or lower demand? Will the patterns of selling and delivery change? How can you get in touch with your customers? Did their needs change? How? Can you reach new customer groups?
- Value propositions
Your value proposition is what differentiates you from your competitors. It should clearly state why someone would want to choose you over the others. What needs you want to meet and what specific problems to solve define your value proposition, alongside with why you are the right company, and not some other, to get the job done. Rethink what might have changed with the coronavirus spread and how you can address those changes.
- Sales and marketing channels
As personal meetings, gatherings, and traveling have been limited at present, think of an alternative to demonstrating the value of your product. Analyze how you did it in the past and think about what has to be changed due to the crisis. Now lots of companies turned to online sales and marketing, do you need a new approach?
- Company’s capacity
How can your company provide your customers with products at the moment? Your employees’ typical days may not be the same now as they work from home, so how does it affect the workflow? Are the supply chains and production the same or do you need to optimize them?
Your Response to the Changes
Before making important decisions on changes in your business model, consider the impact the pandemic has on your existing performance. Though there is a tendency to overrate the startup growth and underrate the effect of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s always better to be well-prepared than not enough.
While you plan, try to be more moderate than it may seem appropriate in the beginning. Those who plan for the worst, but still stay positive will reap all the benefits. There is no doubt that everyone will face challenges, so discuss with your board your survival strategy for the near future as eagerly as you discussed plans for the following years.
Essential steps to succeed in business are 1) welcoming opportunities and 2) dealing with the damage the coronavirus has brought. Create a plan based on the data that your analysis has shown. If your startup is proactive and has a growth mindset, it will have a head start emerging from the economic crisis.
Operating in the new “normal”
Identify sensible goals for your startup in the crisis and think about what you may expect after. Consider different coronavirus scenarios as no one can be sure how long the pandemic may last. We may recover fast from it or may not (the latter seems more likely by the day).
Know what you want to achieve and where you are going. Define attainable goals for your business over a certain period. One more essential piece of startup advice is to make a roadmap. Your plan of action has to be specific and practical, contain attainable objectives for your first year, and also the following three years of your company.
Outline how you can get to your end goal. Some things may work, some may not. But understanding your current startup position will provide you with an opportunity to find alternative paths in your journey to the desired goal.
To have an insight into your company’s performance, consider these questions:
- What kind of losses did you experience?
- Will you continue to lose?
- What earnings do you expect?
- A product that was in demand last month, may not be so popular now. Are there new value propositions open?
- Do you need to change your product or service to meet the new needs of your customers?
- What is the minimum you need to stay afloat? Maybe it is necessary to reach new agreements about payments, such as rent or equipment lease, reduce the perks, or delay hiring. Decide what the essential things for your startup survival are.
If the effects of the crisis on our economy are going to unfold longer, you will need to think about what a safe harbor for your business is. As long as you continue monitoring the situation around you, you will have a better understanding of what needs to be changed in your business model to have a solid ground in uncertain times.
Sometimes methods you envision don’t take you to the expected outcome, so be flexible. Thinking of ways to optimize and improve your startup strategy will give you the upper hand in the new normal.
When employees shift from working in an office to their homes, the organization of communication between everyone becomes a new priority. Technical support of your company may require more thought than before and online meetings, calls may take more time and affect productivity rate. So keep this in mind as well and make the best possible decisions for your startup.
One more aspect of effective communication is showing understanding and empathy. As many people are worried about their families and their financial situation, right now it is significant to express support and encourage each other, even being on the other end of the line. Together with your workers create a strong defensive line to fight the various pressures of COVID-19.
Keep cash on hand
The reason startups usually fail is not because they run out of ideas, but because they lack cash. Your new plan will be productive if you take care of your expenses, reduce them where possible, and make efforts to preserve cash. The earlier you take substantial actions, the better impact it will have on your startup’s growth strategy.
If you plan for a year ahead and make sure you don’t run out of money till then, you will have good chances to succeed in such uncertain times. Even when coronavirus weakens sooner, we will be left with the mess it caused for some time longer. Having additional funds you can lean on will help avoid significant losses, which is especially true for startups.
Lead your team in a way they need most right now
Being the leader your team needs involves making the right choices despite the tough times. Safety is a top priority now more than ever, so show your employees that they matter, e.g. by practicing telecommuting. Leading your team in a way that defines a successful startup will have a deep influence on the survival strategy of your business.
- Be persistent
When starting up a business, being persistent is essential for achieving your goals. A successful startup stands out when it has a growth strategy and doesn’t quit when the road gets tough and full of obstacles. As startups encounter many difficulties, they will need to be persistent to overcome any challenges that arise on their way.
- Have a clear vision
While growing a startup, it is a valuable asset of every company leader to have a clearly defined vision. As it is the driving force that determines your company’s direction, a vision will ensure your business reaches the desired goal. Even in the dark times, it will act as your guiding star.
- Plan budget effectively
If a startup knows how to manage its budget, it has good chances to overcome difficult times without great losses. A good startup strategy must avoid unessential expenses and sensibly assign finances to different areas. What a true leader needs to weather any storm is to understand how he can reach the milestones even with a limited budget.
Startup leaders need to encourage people to follow them no matter how unclear the times look. Your workers need to be motivated, so give them a reason why they should stick with you and your company. Treating them in a humane way and inspiring them will create a bond of trust that will only foster productivity in your employees.
- Adapt to Changes
The startups who want to break through always have to adapt whether to new technologies or new market demands. And it doesn’t change with the outbreak of the virus, rather makes the need to adapt stronger and inevitable for your startup survival strategy.
- Stay ahead
To succeed at any given time, you must manage your business innovatively. Being able to pivot and keeping up with the latest trends will help you always stay ahead of your competitors. If you don’t want to be one of the startup companies who fall behind, make sure you are keeping an eye on the main trends in your niche. Don't wait long to modernize or you’ll end up outperformed.
- Have a firm belief
For a successful startup it is highly improbable to thrive without taking any risks. Be prepared that difficult decisions will have to be made and your initiative will be needed to overcome the challenges not only during the pandemic, but also in a post-crisis life. Rationality in making decisions will help you prevent downfall if things don’t turn out as planned, and a firm belief in your project will keep you going.
Not just survive, but grow your startup
Keep asking the question “how do I make my startup successful”. Life doesn’t stop with the crisis. Though the coronavirus complicated things a lot, you are going to be surprised how much creativity and out-of-the-box thinking arise, when the resources become limited and new ways of growing your startup have to be adopted.
The outbreak of the virus isn’t what we wished for or expected. We can’t change our reality, but what we can decide is “what to do with the time that is given us” as Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings once suggested. Don’t lose hope, maybe your company is only one step away from reaching the desired land.
Think of new opportunities
Successful startup companies stand out because of their innovative approach and their striving to grow. If you have the budget runway, now is a great time to improve your overall business operations and invest in software development that will bring your business to a new level. Yes, we live in challenging times, but you can use this period to make things better and be ready when the tides change.Business growth