The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic problems have negatively affected millions of people globally — not only did it affect people, but it also harmed many businesses and startups, disrupting their day to day activities. The global pandemic has hurt businesses and the economy as a whole, but this is more worrying and sparks a lot of fear in the hearts of startup CEOs, founders, and team members as startups are less likely to survive in times of crisis. Here are five ways startups can tackle the effects of the outbreak.
One major effect the virus has had on startups is how it has disrupted team members’ normal day-to-day activities. Every startup longs for a culture founded on and promotes teamwork through in-office collaboration, but with recent worldwide shutdowns, companies have turned to remote working to compensate.
The magic of in-house collaboration, peer to peer conversations, and lunch breaks would be gone, affecting employee morale. Many employees simply won’t be able to adapt to a new way of working.
The pandemic has also affected the quarterly earnings of top companies. Startups are far more likely to record a plateau or a tremendous drop in growth, thereby increasing the chances of you missing your monthly or quarterly goals.
The virus has also stopped many supply chains in various countries, including China, one of the world’s biggest suppliers; this has affected startups that deal with hardware and the production or manufacture of physical goods. Many startups had shut down totally or minimize their local and international business travel plans to reduce the chances of an employee getting the virus.
Even with the various negative impacts of Covid-19, startup founders and CEOs can reduce the effects of the virus and their startups’ chances of closing down.
In-office collaboration can simply not be overstated; it’s essential for building personal relationships between coworkers, thereby boosting employee productivity; it is also essential for the creation of company culture, but what’s more important to you as CEO is keeping your customers and employees safe.
With social distancing policies that ban public gatherings being implemented, startups have had no other choice than to turn to remote working to keep their startups running. The popularity of Zoom, Slack, and Skype, apps great for remote working, have skyrocketed since lockdowns have been in place.
Limiting the number or set of people required to come to the office is important for reducing employee risk of getting the virus. Employees should only go to the office when a project is crucial and cannot be done from home.
Offering your team unlimited sick time can also incentivize workers to stay at home when feeling ill, thereby lowering the risk of spreading the virus to other team members.
As a CEO and founder, it is important to communicate what’s happening with your startup to investors, your plans, cash runway, new business strategy, and overview of how the pandemic is affecting your startup.
This is essential in letting your investors know if you’ll need money anytime soon, and the overall impact the coronavirus would have on your startup. It is important to communicate openly and on time with investors.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin.
Scrapping your old business plan and strategy and creating a new one from scratch is essential for the survival of a startup at this time, as former business plans were made with a normal worldview and might not work well in such times.
How you as a founder completely restructure how your startup operates depends on few factors; your burn rate and cash runway, how long your startup can survive assuming this problem lasts longer, and analyzing risk and resources expected. This ensures that if the present situation persists, your business won’t go out of business. Even though we don’t have enough info on the present situation, it’s important to change plans and adjust as new updates are released.
As a startup leader, you have to be transparent with your team as they are also in fear of what the future holds for their startup; this means being completely honest and open about what’s going on, regular updates on the state of your startup.
When it comes to communicating with your team and investors, It’s best to find the balance where you, as a founder, can be compassionate without sugarcoating and being too optimistic, harsh, or negative. Effective communication helps employees keep calm as they are less likely to make assumptions and panic about the startup’s future because they are being told what’s going on.
We can’t possibly know how long startups and businesses will suffer from the effects of the pandemic, or even when the global economy will heal anytime soon as it might take a few months for the virus to be fully contained.
However, CEOs and founders of startups need to learn from this by adapting their plans, increasing the flexibility of their future business activities, and how they operate.
Now more than ever, your team needs leadership. You panicking will only harm employee morale. You need to restructure your startup, reevaluate your expenses, be transparent, communicate effectively with the team, be compassionate, and, most of all, learn from the many lessons that are to be learned from this pandemic.
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