How to Combat the Crisis
Now we all know that many startups may have suffered setbacks. At the same time, we are seeing other startups raising IPOs, funds and even establishing new ventures amidst all the chaos.
So there must be a way to steer through, right? What if this was all really the new normal? Wouldn’t we adapt? We sure would. That is how we are designed to continue evolving through anything that comes our way.
Same it is with the startup. Here is a list of top 10 tips that worked with a couple of my clients and additional 3 tips on what DIDN’T work.
1. Introspective Analysis - Firstly, take a breath, sit back for a few days and absorb everything from a drone view. Ask questions to self, team, co-founders. What is happening? How are we changing? How did we survive the last 2ish years? How is the user behaviour changing? What will “post pandemic” look like?
Yes, it has been tough. But sitting with that thought is not the solution you started up with. Major innovations have evolved in adversity. After all, all the startups are solving some problem for the masses right? And do we have more problems now or less? If the answer is more (which it should be) then that means there are more opportunities. Become aware, absorb the reality and now start to think, “how can we fit in?”
2. Delete - Now that you have had time to sit back and reflect, identify all those unwanted, unnecessary activities that have been consuming your organisation's precious resources. You will save a massive number of hours simply by NOT doing what you do not need to do at this point. If you really, badly want it, put it on the pipeline for later. Set your eyes on the most basic requirements to carry out and continue growing your business. Now remember, there may be a lot of things that may “appear” important, ensure you do not allow yourselves to get carried away.
3. Success Wheel - There is a Success Wheel behind sustaining and scaling every business. Identify your success wheel. What has worked for you so far, what hasn’t, what performed better over others. This may sound like an analysis but it's a lot more than that. When I coach my clients, we lay the entire business over 9 business blocks from Sales channels to Revenue channels to marketing and more.
Deep dive into your best performing areas and find ways to scale them by converting those areas into a department consisting of everything it takes to operate that area. Scale up by multiplying the methods that worked. This way, you will risk very less and grow consistently.
4. Realign - So we have done a thorough organisational introspection, deleted all the unwanted stuff, identified what's working the best, now it's time to realign the whole business model in sync with what has worked and what is going to work henceforth post pandemic.
5. Process - Set up clearly operable processes for everything that is going to happen going forward. Processes will help you scale super fast because it simplifies all business activities into documentable steps that can be monitored, automated and managed remotely. So yes, get your processes in place.
6. Automate - There are a lot of apps available that you can start implementing in automating your organisational processes, tasks, and mundane activities. Like chats can be automated using bots, finance can be automated to a great extent, tech testing can be automated using advanced testing tools. Larger corporations have been carrying out a lot of research and advancing heavily on automation to attain speed, reduce cost, and improve quality.
So be prepared to match up to them. Automation is here to stay and here to disrupt massively. Early adapters are definitely going to benefit.
7. Cut Costs - If you are still following through all the previous 6 points and are ready to take this seriously, you would have already cut significant costing by introspecting, deleting unwanted tasks and implementing automation. Furthermore, startups can move to inexpensive and smaller premises. Work from home works fine too, at least until you get the grip back.
Many of us are already very comfortable working from home now. Like I have the 3rd floor at my home which we do not use and I have converted that into an office. Works cool, saves transport, time, rent etc. Work From anywhere. Build your system to brace for the new normal post pandemic. People will opt for this freedom. And why not, save a lot of money.
When we summarise, the focus is on cost cutting. This will help in eradicating those unnecessary expenses out of the way.
8. Innovate - Innovation is what misses out in many startups. They start off with one idea and get so attached to it all the way not realising that user behaviour is changing rapidly and they need to keep innovating.
In other cases, they deliver certain products or services in a particular way and they keep doing that forever. This is the time when they need to research, analyse what their customers really want and how you can innovate in those areas.
For instance, one of my clients who run online ayurvedic stores, wanted to start offering doctor consultation over the phone. While this worked well, I kept thinking as to what can we do better? So we installed certain tools and apps to automate the
● booking of consultation
● responses to patients regarding their booked time
● Consultation process over conferencing tools that were automated too
● Post consulting prescription was prepared online
● Based on the prescription, the prescribed medicines were added to the patient’s cart
● And they had to simply check out
This entire setup cost them almost zilch and innovated the whole customer experience to another level.
This is one such example but you know what we are talking about. Innovation has no limitations.
9. Reach out - Reach out to your guides, mentors, advisors to discuss and show them the new plan or take advice on how to improvise. For those who can or may have already done the realigning, innovating and planning, now reach out to your investors, board to present the new strategies. Communicate clearly.
Clear communication is undoubtedly necessary for all parties to stay informed and stay united for the way forward.
10. Do not give up - This is the most important part. Do not give up. It is alright if you have missed the targets, the whole world is at a pause. You are not the only one. Seek help, talk to masters of the game, your parents, friends, advisors, coaches or whoever you can get hold of. Business coaches take up that profession because they have been there, done that and most importantly they know what NOT to do. Not doing the wrong is far more powerful than doing one right.
So do not give up. Stay strong, keep going.