Startup Strategy in Covid times – Digital Methods to the Rescue & Reboot

Startup Strategy in Covid times – Digital Methods to the Rescue & Reboot

Sridhar Rao

Management Coach & Business Mentor


InfinumGrowth’s learning platform had the pleasure of co-hosting a webinar on Revisiting Startup Strategies in Covid times and beyond; at the request of the Kerala Startup Mission, the main host. Here are some key aspects of the current situation and the startup strategy and opportunities that were discussed.

Every disaster brings with it an opportunity to reboot

 Every natural disaster brings with it an opportunity for a fresh revival. Be it just a storm or a typhoon or even a volcano, once it settles, nature emerges afresh, with different kinds of living things re-emerging. That’s nature’s way to reboot.

Human beings are a part of nature. We will also re-emerge, after the Covid disaster; with a reboot for many aspects of our lives.

Thinking and working towards change has already started happening. The human resilience and will to move on are visible, in the way people are adapting to the virus fears and the lockdown conditions. We are reinventing our lives; dropping inconvenient methods for new ways.

This time, it’s Digital all the way!

In every aspect of our lives – starting from the food we eat and the way we exercise our bodies; to the way we manage our homes or do our jobs; the way we entertain ourselves or buy things; or, even the way we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries! Everything is changing…rapidly.

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India has some very important assets to thank for this – the telecom sector, the internet, our IT capabilities and one very important set of professionals, the innovators in all areas, many of whom are startup entrepreneurs; who, over the last two decades or so, have been initiating new ways to do things. These new ways are coming in very handy today.

Above all, we need to thank the amazing entrepreneurial spirit of the large number of retailers, small businesses and self employed individuals, who are quickly pivoting on to this digital bandwagon, to help consumers through these difficult times.

This disaster is bringing a huge opportunity to bring about even greater changes; since the consumer is now fully ready for it. Some of these changes are already visible, thanks to the agility of these professionals. Much more will now be seen every day.

The startup industry has a huge opportunity to contribute and rebuild processes. Here are the three sets of actionable items as a part of the Startup Strategy –for the present, the next few months and the next couple of years, that were discussed in the Webinar.

 Startup Strategy and Opportunities

Startups come up to solve existing problems of consumers or businesses. The disaster today, has unveiled a whole new range of problems and needs. Startups are in the best position, in terms of innovative thinking, to use this opportunity to drive change for the better. However, like most other small and medium businesses, many of them are also constrained by resources.

The webinar discussed the following three sets of actions that could help startups do their work and be effective.

 1.Protect the business in the present

  1. With share markets and financial institutions under pressure, investor push will be towards conserving cash, self reliance and profitability.
  2. So look hard at all costs; and every revenue opportunity that can be addressed with present assets.
  3. Work out smart ways to ensure the team stays together. Redesigning compensation packages is one key step.
  4. Your IT capabilities are your biggest asset. Redirect this asset to focus on immediate revenue gains by meeting emergency needs of other businesses or consumers.

2.Quick Pivot to meet immediate market needs

  1. All eggs in one basket may not be a great idea. It is good to have two or three streams of revenue, rather than only the one you had visualized.
  2. In business, there are no holy cows. Agility and smart pivoting are key to survival.
  3. Investors will also prefer businesses that can take advantage of the changes happening in the market, to grow fast.
  4. The government is also continuously seeking smart solutions to resolve issues emerging due to the lockdown.
  5. Whether in the health sector or in meeting daily essentials, startup technologies are quickly getting deployed to address new problems.

3.Diversify quickly to align to new market needs

  1. Exports and Imports of goods will be limited for sometime to come. So India and many other countries, will need growth in local production to meet domestic demand.
  2. Consumers and Businesses are shifting to a lot more online and IT enabled methods to minimize human connect and attached risks.
  3. Post Covid, many of the new ways of managing life will become a habit. They may not change after the lockdown is over; and people will see advantages in the digital ways of doing things.
  4. So, the online ordering, home deliveries, working from home etc may become the norm.
  5. India has the unique advantage of a huge population. Therefore, both the consuming market size and the manpower to manufacture and service their needs, exist within.
  6. Thus, a massive opportunity for growth in manufacturing and service jobs in India.
  7. A critical part of the new Startup Strategy will be to visualise the new ways early; and redesign products and processes.
  8. Capitialise fully on your core asset – product development and the team.
  9. Don’t wait to raise funds or add team members. Instead, collaborate with others to synergize. So, instead of B2C, Go the B2B2C way; And instead of B2B, go the B2B2B way, if required!

 Move fast! A new, smarter, health, safety and convenience conscious society is waiting to happen.

Milind Shah, Advisor, Strategy and Management and Sridhar Rao, jointly facilitated the Webinar which was co-hosted through the learning platform of InfinumGrowth. 

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