10 tips for startups in times of COVID-19

Hope for the best and plan for the worst. Here you'll find ten tips for managing through and building resilience for your startup during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Extend the cash runway

Cash management and financial planning have never been more crucial. In a recession, cash is king. The most important thing to focus on right now is extending the cash runway: produce a plan to extend it to 24 months. Also, raise your line of credit.

Be communicative and transparent

Be transparent with your struggles. Not only with your business partners but also with your customers and your team. They will appreciate your transparency.
Ask your financial institution for some relief. Many companies are offering solutions in this area, don't hesitate to contact them.
Communicate authentically with your customers; don't be tone-deaf and understand how your products and services can be useful or helpful during this COVID-19 outbreak.
Don't forget about your team—Overcommunicate with them, share the bad news too. Show them that they are not alone: right now, understanding and empathy must come first.

If you're not online yet, now it's time to go for it.

Launching your business online is going to be some seriously hard work, prepare for it. Design a plan and put it into action as soon as you can. You are going to need to count on your team and probably on new collaborators too, but it will benefit your business in the long term.

Reevaluate your financials and get lean

Start a budget -if you haven't already- and try to run the budget until the end of this year, as COVID-19 effects will linger for a while.

  • Cut expenses in categories where you can: for instance, invest in marketing channels with good ROI, stop spending on channels with little return.
  • Create a cash forecast and see where the gaps are.
  • Stress-test your financials.
  • Extend payment terms on your most significant contracts; renegotiate your largest vendors.
Be the leader your team is craving right now

This is when true leaders are born. Keep your team engaged and positive in these chaotic times: motivation is the key. Set goals and expectations for remote teams, keep the conversation alive with your team members and stay productive while working from home, encouraging others to do the same.

What's Working?

Follow the steps that large companies and your competition are implementing. Some companies are already applying a new business model, and it's working. Focusing on the community is working. Creating content that is supportive of consumers is working. Don't miss out on what may be a great opportunity, reinvent yourself if necessary.

Prepare for multiple scenarios

Add potential downside to gross margins, reductions in working capital, and adjustments in inventory planning and purchasing cycles.
In each scenario, maintain a 24+month cash runway and get alignment across the exec team and with the board on the steps the company must take to achieve that.

Try new things

Find out what is the 'new normal' and what works for you. Set up a new working flow and a new routine for your team, including new schedules and goals. Try new products or services that might relieve you and your team in this WFH environment. Move live events to virtual ones: maybe you don't need to cancel some of the planned activities; instead, try hosting a webinar or organize live sessions on social channels.

Prepare a customers service plan

Proactively share information with your customers. Take advantage of the tools you already have: communicate with them through email, your website, Facebook page, Instagram profile, or however you habitually connect. Prepare for incoming questions and requests. Draft templated responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for right now.

Apply for resources from your government or large companies

Be aware of new initiatives and assistance: Government resources on the deferred payroll tax, resiliency funds, SBA loans. Also, look for support in new programs from larger companies such as Facebook, Google, and banks.

star Extra tip
Don't underestimate the importance of mental well-being
  • Prioritize your well-being. In order to be available for others, you must first be available for yourself. Sleep properly, exercise, and stay as far away from junk food as you can.
  • Stay connected with your loved ones. Maintain social connection with them.
  • Focus. Keep working as if you were at the office. Avoid stressing over deadlines and backlog.