COVID-19: Things startups may consider while opening up business after lockdown


The Indian startup ecosystem had one of its most promising years in 2019 as together the startups raised a record $14.5 billion. Then 2020 happened and the entire world went into a tailspin due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

While businesses all over the world are fighting for their survival due to the lockdown, early-stage startups are the ones taking the hardest hit. It’s not just the loss incurred during this period that’s hurting them, there’s also an uncertain future looming over. Trade won’t be as usual even after the lockdowns are over as it would open up to widespread consumer hysteria, which can be deadlier than the pandemic. So, what’s the way forward?

There is no doubt that the road to reopening would be tricky and there won’t be any thumb rule either. They say, unprecedented times call for exceptional measures, so here are a few tips to take into account while formulating a revival strategy.

Stick to basic:

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many instances of employees’ layoffs and pay-cuts over the last few weeks leading to a general aversion to consumption. An uncertain future will further hurt consumer sentiments keeping them stick only to their basic necessities. If that is the case, startups may also think of going back to basics, thereby cutting down on unnecessary costs and improving the ROI. In such a case, the entrepreneurs have to go back to their early days and recall what problem they were out to solve while reconsidering their offerings.

Reconnect with stakeholders:

Communication is the key to boost the morale of stakeholders. At this time of despair, who doesn’t require some hand-holding? The key is to draft a personalized message and reach out to employees, investors, clients and consumers to reaffirming their role in the business. Also, the founders must assure them of their conviction to fight back as a team. They can write an email, use social media, or maybe video conferencing to communicate.

Look for opportunities:

Industries have been closed, demands have dropped, the economy is shrinking and the future still looks gloomy. The government is desperate to revive the economy as quickly as possible and is looking at the startup ecosystem with a hope that it would play a vital role in this quest. At this critical juncture, it would be a smart move to look for opportunities around. For instance, considering the option of hiring a professional financial consultant, who can guide them with the various schemes by the government and other sources.

Get innovative: 

The one thing that is hurting entrepreneurs the most is the ‘cost’ factor. On a regular day, businesses generally accumulate costs that don’t impact the value creation directly. The time has come to go lean. Entrepreneurs must revisit their current business processes and find some out of the box ideas to get rid of the additional cost.

Realign your team:

It’s been almost two months since the teams are working remotely. A strategic plan to hone the skills of the employees can be one of the contingency plans that founders can adopt. It is the need of the hour to realign the teams, keep their spirit up and prepare them for the track. I’m sure the founders don’t want to see themselves tying the shoe when the starter pistol goes off.

Saura Panigrahi

This is an authorised article by Mr. Saura Panigrahi. He is a brand consultant with over a decade of experience in creating and nurturing brands in India and overseas. He is the founder of This Side Up, a creative communication agency. He writes on brands, communication, and startups.

Disclaimer: do not endorse author’s views.

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