Fostering your startup in the new normal.

Surviving in unexpected times and situations is not unusual for startups. But the recent pandemic has proved to be more.

May 7, 2022

Surviving in unexpected times and situations is not unusual for startups. But the recent pandemic has proved to be more than unusual for all businesses, whether you’re a startup or not. In these unpredictable times, how can startups survive in the ever-changing market, with fast-changing for consumer habits? In this blog post, we look at how startups can build a business that can stand the test of time, be flexible and find the silver lining in the dark clouds.
When the recent pandemic hit the world, the world as we know it stood still. Many bricks and mortar businesses that previously operated for decades had to close business. Many startups started worrying, especially those that were not either in the healthcare industry or essential products/services sector. But in those unexpected circumstances, startups that were previously overlooked suddenly were sought after by many people. For example, online learning tools, video conferencing platforms etc. suddenly saw an increase in customer base and revenue. It is no secret that during the pandemic many millionaires were born.

How could this be?

Part of it could be making the right product at the right time or pure luck. But the biggest reason for these startups to not only survive but thrive was their capability to quickly adapt their product for the hour of need.
For example, Microsoft Teams, which was originally focused on business teams, suddenly was made available and used by schools. Zoom, which was originally used for web calls, saw an increase in being used as a tool for hosting webinars and events.
These startups, build a product that they were able to quickly and easily convert into resolve problems that may not have been for their target audience. In doing so, they adjusted their business model and started serving a new kind of customer, thus creating a new revenue stream.
Not only did these startups start serving new customers, but they also started developing and expanding their products to offer new features and services. When most businesses were putting a stop to their research and development, these startups pumped more money into them. They were able to do so because they had excess funds in their accounts.
This is also a very important tip for startups. You must have funds saved up in your accounts for new opportunities or contingencies. Finances should be carefully managed so that everything is not utilized to cover operational costs.

A startup should always think big. The vision should be long term, futuristic and looking at resolving long terms problems. That being said, while the vision should be futuristic, your mission should be for the NOW. There must be a very good short-term plan to ensure the business is catering to real customer problems existing now.
When startups have a futuristic vision that is built in an adaptable way, it makes it easier for unexpected and unpredictable changes in the market, the climates and consumer buying patterns.
For example, eCommerce and online purchasing were existing for many years, yet both businesses and consumers alike were slow to move into these, despite eCommerce sales trends being on the rise. The pandemic suddenly shifted consumers thinking and buying patterns and even those who have never bought anything online, for the first time, started to purchase. This was created by necessity rather than preference.
With this shift of mind and behaviour, businesses such as online doctor consulting services suddenly saw a boost in usage. Prior to the pandemic, this was a futuristic vision with only a limited customer base using such platforms with the majority still opting to visit a doctor physically. However, these startup founders didn’t give up on their futuristic vision and as a result, the future they were envisioning, came much faster than expected.
If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, is that our current realities can easily change in a moment. Nothing is for certain and there is no NORM to follow. Everything can change fast and those who see the opportunities where the majority see problems are the ones who will, in the end, come on top.
As startup founders, while adaptability and flexibility are important qualities, the ability to see opportunity in every situation and having a futuristic outlook becomes equality and sometimes more important, to not only survive in the short-run but also thrive in the long run.
The saying ‘Every dark cloud has a silver lining’, sure makes more sense now!