Can Startups survive uncertainty? The glass might be half full
With Coronavirus crisis causing disruption in production and supply, the following months will definitely make a difference for a lot of entrepreneurs and their business models. Even if the times may seem hard and full of risks, the world of startups can step in to help with something of great value: the mindset. Because if we are involved in building startups, it means that we already took some risks, we walked some unknown paths and we know how to be agile and adapt on an always changing market.
One thing we can be sure about is that the economic ecosystem will survive and that startups will have to adapt, as soon as possible. Is neither the first nor the last time when the world faces U-turns and when changes seem to come on a roller-coaster. Business and money always crossed industries, while being influenced by market tendencies.
"Land was wealth 300 years ago. So the person who owned the land owned the wealth. Then, it was factories and production, and America rose to dominance. The industrialist owned the wealth. Today, it is information. And the person who has the most timely information owns the wealth. The problem is, information flies all around the world at the speed of light. The new wealth cannot be contained by boundaries and borders as land and factories were. The changes will be faster and more dramatic."
(Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad)
No time to waste for Startups. Think Agile!
What we can be sure about is that crisis come and go, they test our resilience and our capacity to adapt. The market will definitely bring new opportunities but don’t force yourself to seize the moment. You can gain a lot by keeping an eye on the market tendencies but meanwhile, what about using this period to reflect on your business costs and model and use the lessons you learned by now to adapt and be prepared for the opportunities that will be unleashed by the market.
- Constantly analyze the market you are present in - be aware of the changes that can occur on the market and by the needs that influence the demand for various services and products.
- Analyze the customer behavior - in disruptive periods, customer buying behavior can change a lot, being influenced by immediate needs and expectations. By now, the market was dominated by price but a local provider of services and goods can engage customers by offering faster delivery services, even if this means a higher cost for the end client.
- Think fast - if you identify a new need in your target customer segment, go for it! Try to reduce the time to market period and focus on an enhanced user experience.
- Upgrade and customize the customer services you provide - at the end, your customers will value the quality of the services you provide in a period of uncertainty and this will boost the future engagement rate. Don’t limit yourself only at retaining the current customers, try to increase your market share by delivering genuine customer services.
- Keep an eye on the competition - track the online and offline steps made by your competitors and try to find innovative solutions for the issues faced by the market you are in.
Seattle startups quickly change their roadmap to help with COVID-19, while telemedicine and edtech services are expanding
Sentinel Healthcare, a Seattle health tech startup, was developing an app meant to better monitor patients’ conditions remotely and decided to upgrade its product in order to better answer the needs of its customers, during the COVID-19 times.
In response to increased demand in telemedicine services, 98point6 , another Seattle based startup, rolled out COVID-19 screening tools, combining the expertise of world-class physicians with features powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Vendatu, an Indian based startup stepped with a solution dedicated to students who want to continue studying while staying at home. The startup is committed to help parents and students while granting access to live classes and content, prepared by teachers.
The European Commission, governments and VCs all over the world finance startups that can innovate and deliver solutions connected with the challenges brought by this period. For example, the European Innovation Council offers EUR 164 million grants for startups and SMEs.
Thus, as always, the glass is half full, half empty. It depends on our mindset how we get over the following months.