10 ways Startups should be Prepared for the Coronavirus Crisis

The COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak has turned into a global emergency. It has no left no choice to entire nations but go into lockdown mode and economies prepare for impact. Many businesses across the world have already paused their operations as the pandemic requires social distancing, the closing down of services, offices and cancellation of events. Emergency preparedness plans have never been more in focus than this situation which has devasted many businesses.

It’s true, we can’t neglect the fact that the Coronavirus hasn’t spared the startup communities. Just the opposite, many startup founders are worried about the consequences of sweeping lockdowns and restrictions and difficulty in managing to stay afloat and keep their staff onboard. In such situations, startups are more vulnerable than established corporations because of limited access to services & capital. So startups are understandably more worried. Many startups are calling for hiring slowdowns as well as spending curbs, cutting out travel and preparing for a very tough time ahead. For startups, funding seems to be the first casualty and those that are in the middle of a fund-raise or have small reserves of cash are looking for solutions. Those that have already raised funds and have at least six months of operating capital should be fine too. According to reports, though overall funding has slowed down, the best companies will still get funded with delays.

However, pre-seed and seed-stage startups might find the going tough as burn rates rise and sales fall. It will be tougher for these startups to gain customers, find potential new business and scale-up. This, in turn, would make it more difficult to raise the next round of funding. Although we don’t know how the pandemic will play out over the rest of the year, it has many lessons on crisis preparation and management.

This includes taking care of and preparing for impacts upstream and downstream as well as for potential impacts within the organization. Don’t forget that many of these ideas could also help lead generation and getting people to know about your company and your expertise, so the effort you invest in these good deeds will your company and help you too. Here are ten steps to keep top of mind while dealing with this crisis.

Employees’ Safety first

Your staff should always be your first priority. Make sure they are safe. That may mean rethinking some work practices – you may need to restrict travel and switch to meetings via video or audio conference calls. Some offices may need to temporarily shut and employees be asked to work from home; most companies have already implemented this for desk workers.

Offer products and services free of cost

During this coronavirus crisis, many messaging platforms,video conferencing companies, online learning platforms are free offering services and removing the limits on their services to help the students and employees working from home. Some startups have been wholeheartedly offering free or substantially discounted services and products to help. If your brand offers anything that can support either people hugely affected by the pandemic or those who are staying at home in a need of a boost to keep up with their lives, this is the right time to give a hand. This will leave a long lasting impression on people’s minds which will surely help in future.


Also Read: Coronavirus Impact on Digital Payments Startups


Work on innovative tech solutions to fight the Coronavirus

What else could be better solution than finding the tool or technology that helps in containing the spread of Corona virus. If you have an idea for developing a tool that could in any way be of help in the fight of the COVID-19 virus, then start working on it right away. Even Government of India has also arranged COVID-19 Solution Challenge to encourage entrepreneurs to find a technology that helps find the coronavirus. The entrepreneur or startup providing the best solution will receive the money prize. So startups can see this as a good opportunity to earn funding during this crisis. Just act quickly and remember that even a simple app that would encourage the citizens to adapt more easily to the changed conditions can take your organization ahead.
To know more about this challenge, visit the Official Website -
https://innovate.mygov.in/covid19/

Connect with the startup community

Coronavirus outbreak has just started affecting the Indian market but it has affected Chinese and American market many weeks ago. So their experiences & mistakes in dealing the crisis can be used as guidelines on how to survive in the crisis. So it is advisable start connecting with the startup community not just in India but communities worldwide.  Some ways and solutions can definitely hey be found be found by interacting with these tech and start up communities. Just take Estonia, for example, whose tech community has already been tackling the coronavirus through various activities. Portugal has also put together a page for collaboration. There are many ways to help in the quick and smart development and implementation of the necessary measures. So, get as involved as you can and encourage others in your community to do so as well.

Companies are organizing Hackathons for others to Participate remotely

Organise or attend hackathons

Many companies & startups have organised hackathon. This has paved the way and many innovative solutions that arose as a result of the to-date organised hackathons aimed against the Coronavirus are now on their way to be developed and implemented. So this can be done in India too. Many revolutionary products emerged exactly at these events and we now desperately need more of them to combat not only the emergency circumstances but effectively manage the post-crisis period and prevent further isolation and loneliness.

Host free online webinars, podcasts or Q&A sessions

In light of the latest developments, many event organisers are shifting their conferences online. It’s uncertain until when we’ll all be at home. So, people have enough time. This is the right time to stay connected. This can be done in many ways. One can go live – whether it’s alone, with your team or maybe with professionals from other startups. Online event, webinar, podcast, YouTube video, Q&A and what not available to keep in touch & increase the network. These platforms  can be used to give advice based on your expertise and help people to stay motivated.

Offer your advice on remote working

Majority of the companies have asked their employees to work from home. As a member of a startup, you are probably very well acquainted with the ‘working from home’ concept. But, bear in mind that millions of people have just had their first day working remotely. The newly-created situation has given thousands of managers no other choice but to lead their teams online, completely unprepared. This situation can be used to help them with tips in a blog, LinkedIn post, webinar to encourage people to get in touch by recommending them video conference tools & software.


Also Read: 8 Tips to Stay Productive while Working Remotely


Just Keep Marketing even in Crisis

One of the biggest mistakes companies make in times like these is to cut back on marketing. It will be the end of you. At best, a slow death. Although, it is difficult to sell products & services in this time but it is a good opportunity to market your services & products. Do demand a better ROI on your marketing. This may be the right moment to expand and pick up the slack from your competitors and seized their market share.

Check your coverage

Business interruption coverage covers income lost when you close down your business due to a disaster. However, it typically doesn’t pay out unless there is physical damage to the business. Talk to your insurance agent to see what, if any, coverage you would have if coronavirus forces temporary closure. If got, this can be used to keep the money flow going.

Have Patience

This is the time wherein many entrepreneurs can lose their hope due to things not going well. It is hard to predict how long this is going to last. However, it is the most important to not give up. Though it may look difficult to put the things back on track, it is essential to have patience because like any other time, “ This too shall Pass.” Have faith.

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About Varad Kitey

  • Pune
StartupTalky
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