Startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in all domains, be it technology, hospitality or finance, are facing massive business turmoil due to the unfortunate coronavirus outbreak. While many startups have faced challenges in the last few weeks due to the sharp decline in business activity, most of them are being forced to adapt to a climate of fear and uncertainty spread by the pandemic.
A crisis is the perfect time to let one’s business grow and explore avenues you were always apprehensive about
The COVID-19 scare could propel opportunities for some, but for most it will prove a hindrance to business. An entrepreneur, myself I feel most business leaders didn’t see the catastrophe coming, and as a result, they had inadequate time to prepare.
I believe that the comprehensive effects of illness and business closures have only begun to appear. Quoting the legendary Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan, ‘till they get punched in the mouth”, these times of anguish create several opportunities ‘IF’ we know where to look and how to take advantage of the opportunities.
If we trace back history, many business leaders have conquered and expanded during times of adversity including wars, epidemics, economic depressions and recessions et al. A crisis is the perfect time to let one’s business grow and explore avenues you were always apprehensive about.
Finding it hard to proactively manage your business during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s an entrepreneur’s guide to startup resources during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Understand Your Current Financial Position
The first step in this direction is to determine your current financial position. Also, it’s important to make informed decisions about your business based on how to not just survive but to grow. Get in touch with your accountant/accounts team to discuss plans to minimize the impact on your business.
One’s ability to trade through this period, pay debts, keep employees will be determined by the financial position. Cash flow is critical, especially if your existing income and business have been significantly disrupted by COVID-19.
Identify Needs and Viable Business Opportunities
Perhaps it’s no revelation today that evolving alongside the changing workforce, technology has become a massive part of today’s business environment. Startups are bound to make the most difficult situations of what they have at their disposal especially in the current scenario.
Entrepreneurs at the moment are striving for technological innovations that could help in treating, testing, monitoring, and are looking for viable business opportunities.
Meet Those Needs and Take Advantage of the Opportunities
Many entrepreneurs have devised a strategy where they can deal with the situation and stay in business even as the market shows volatility. They have carefully evaluated the possible impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their future business operations, including on burn-rate, sales forecasts, marketing overheads, team headcount reduction, and optimizing capital spending. While the COVID-19 scare could throw up opportunities for some, it is up to us to make the most of it.
Free Webinars/Online Portals
Additional support is available for businesses via webinars that focus on dealing with business disruptions. Online portals have a special section that caters to start-ups where people across the globe come together and suggest a plan of action. These webinars are free of cost but registration is mandatory.
Build Your Network
This is an essential time to reach out to various networks for support, knowledge share and advice. Being able to keep control over your situation is good for your positive mental wellbeing. Communication with your support networks and with other small businesses will aid in sharing ideas and innovative practices.
Read more: Six Startups Helping India Fight COVID-19
Most startups and SMEs leverage technology and now most of their task force is working from home. In the current scenario, wfh may cause ill effects in the form of productivity and discipline. Hence, leadership can come on the forefront to play an important role in keeping panic at bay and getting the team to refocus on tasks at hand, especially in young new-age startups. Communication and active participation in situations like these will keep your core team involved and omit the chances of any mishaps involving business.
Guest contributor Ar. Himani Ahuja is a communications specialist and Co-Founder of One Digital, which works towards engaging audience with a unique online and offline communication experience. Any opinions expressed in this article are strictly that of the author.