Startups and 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.
While the COVID-19 scare could propel opportunities for some, for most it will prove a hindrance to business. Business leaders across the globe didn’t see the catastrophe coming, and as a result, they had inadequate time to prepare.
The comprehensive effects of illness and business closures have only now begun to appear. As the legendary Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth”, these times of anguish create several opportunities, ‘IF’ only we know where to look and how to take their advantage.
If we trace the history, many business leaders have conquered new markets and expanded during times of adversity, including wars, epidemics, economic depressions, recessions, et al. A crisis is the perfect time to let the business grow, and explore avenues that company leaders have been apprehensive about.
If you are finding it hard to proactively manage your business during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s a guide to reflect, strategise and plan for a better future, post the COVID-19 outbreak:
1. 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 to not only survive, but also to grow. Get in touch with your accountant, or accounts team, to discuss plans to minimise the impact on your business.
One’s ability to tread through this period, pay off any debts, and retain employees will be determined by their financial position. Cash flow is critical, especially if your existing income and business have been significantly disrupted by COVID-19.
2. 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 the business environment. Entrepreneurs at the moment are striving for technological innovations that could help in treating, testing, and monitoring, the coronavirus, as well as looking for viable business opportunities.
3. Meet those needs and take advantage of the opportunities.
Many entrepreneurs have devised a strategy to deal with the coronavirus 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 burn-rate, sales forecasts, marketing overheads, team headcount reduction, and have taken steps to optimise capital spending.
While the COVID-19 scare could throw up opportunities for some, it is up to us to make the most of it.
4. 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 startups, where people across the globe come together and suggest a plan of action. These webinars are free of cost, but registration is mandatory.
5. Build your network.
This is an essential time to reach out to various networks for support, and to share knowledge 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.
Most startups and SMEs leverage technology, and now most of their taskforce is working from home. In the current scenario, working from home may cause ill effects in the form of reduced productivity and discipline, but the company leadership can play an important role in keeping panic at bay and getting the team to refocus on tasks at hand.
Communication and active participation in situations like these will keep your core team involved, and omit the chances of any mishaps.
(Edited by Aparajita Saxena)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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