3 Steps for Startups to Navigate Covid-19

For many of us this corona virus has come on dramatically and quickly, and we are yet to see the financial and health  implications in South Africa.

If the global stock markets are anything to go by, there is a see-saw ahead.

Your No 1 job as the founder of a startup or CEO of an SME, is to navigate this time with care and thoughtfulness so that you have a business that is thriving or a business that is resilient at the end of this crisis.

In the words of President Ramaphosa:

“we are not helpless. We have the knowledge, the means and the resources to fight this disease. If we act swiftly, with purpose and collectively we can limit the effects of the coronavirus on our people and our country. Although we may be limiting physical contact, this epidemic has the potential to bring us closer together.”

This encapsulates all that we do at Akro and Girl Boss Hustle. We are a community of startups founders and entrepreneurs, who want to use the collective to stand on each others shoulders to reach success and fulfilment.

So what can you do NOW for your business?

1)  Communication:
between any staff, customers and suppliers is important, giving guidelines as to how you are continuing or making changes within business.

Are you going to allow staff to work from home, can you still fulfill orders, are you going to reduce orders to suppliers, are just some of the questions to ask your team.
Sit with your team, or fellow founders, or a trusted mentor to strategise the different aspects of the way forward in a best case scenario, worst case scenario which will immediately give you a thought process for the way forward no matter what comes.

If you will be struggling to pay bills, do NOT wait until crunch time to advise suppliers. Be proactive in keeping them up to date with your situation and how you are tackling it.

This is not the time to put your head in the sand.

2) Analyse your business sales and see what is the most pragmatic way forward for the
i) next week,
ii) 6 weeks and then
iii) long term
to allow your business to be more resilient to weather the way forward.

Most founders don’t really know the financial status of their business. Now is the time to look at your financial statements: your income statement; your balance sheet and your cash flow. 

What is your profitability? How liquid are you?
And most importantly assess your own expectations.

3) Be flexible with the way forward and be ready to pivot. As a startup or small business, this is your most valuable asset.

You can reduce expenses and overheads as you need to; be competitive in pricing or service; provide a more efficient product way quicker than any bigger company. This may just be your shot in!

Do not set a course and stick to it rigidly. Bend and flex as needed. Keep re-looking at your vision and execution. Be intentional in this by setting a daily 15 minute scan of where you are and where you are heading. This may seem excessive but as a startup this is how you can be ahead of the curve.

Keep your head up, and push your sales.

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