How to run a startup during uncertain times

Today, we’re all facing the same beasts. From industry collapses to the looming dread of a progressing pandemic, many things are unknown, and new studies arrive by installments. As we strenuously brave everyday happenings to the best of our possibilities, we submit ourselves to the new normal. 

How much longer will we need to keep working from home? How will this impact how the workforce operates as a unit? How much longer will we hold meetings virtually? What active steps are health and tech experts taking to meet the needs of the worrying public better?

Like how drastically airlines have imposed new travel guidelines after the 9/11 tragedy, so are healthcare institutions that are ramping up their policies and initiatives to accommodate more patients. Regulations are being bent to allow remote consultations, and new innovations are being published at lightning speed to assist conversations between doctors and the sick. Although we can debate that there’s still so much to be done in commercial healthcare technology, it’s hard to imagine going back to pre-telemedicine days. 

The strategies and tools we now optimize to make remote work possible may soon be more traditionally accepted. If there’s anything we learned in recent years, it’s how once we find quick solutions that don’t compromise quality, we may not want to return to our old ways. Oppositely, when we do resume in-person corporate gatherings, we can expect more efficient workflows and worklists.

Many questions concern a wave of consequences that affect small businesses, communities, and individuals. Will manufacturers who now produce healthcare gear and other medical supplies resort to new business models and product lines? Who will continue creating what these companies used to make?

News publications cite that there are now multiple pharmaceuticals that are in their third phase of vaccine clinical trials. Roughly a year from now, if not earlier, many establishments will gradually reopen, with workforces resuming in their respective offices. Still, you can count that it will not be our old definition of normal.

Uncertain times demand rapid change and an opportunity to be better

This year’s whirlwind of events is the perfect time for businesses to re-think their brand and corporate strategies moving forward. It is critical to go back to the drawing board and assess how every structure in the organization will work from hereon. 

It’s safe to say that this is only the beginning, and today’s business set-up is merely a slice of what lies ahead in the next normal. With a newer sense of focus, adaptability, data, and processes, this is the atmosphere and time where startups are called to step up the most.

What’s referred to as the build-measure-learn loop, this process helps startup founders better tread uncertain ground by breaking the ambivalence down into testable and practicable hypotheses and then adapting swiftly. As everyone else in their professional and personal lives is slowing down and taking the time to let things settle, reflect, and work on enacting new practices and habits in your workplace.

Here are a few guidelines you can consider

Begin by prioritizing innovation

Innovation projects and labs outside your business scope may have carried a more promising value when things were steadier, but that isn’t the case today. Lean startup methods and tools can help protect your core business and maintain mission-driven operations enough to last one day at a time.

Bank on articulation

Next to financial mismanagement, almost every startup that fails can be credited to miscommunication. Because many startups are now composed of individuals who work separately and remotely, communication is a tad more critical to remain on the same page.

As we learn more about the pandemic and its after-effects from credible news sources, we should continue to touch base, albeit virtually, to ensure that every project, team member, and stakeholder, continues to share the same business vision. This should be an ongoing practice, not merely to remind everyone what the business goals are but also to cultivate a unified startup culture.

Data-driven practices hold more value today

It’s easy to assume things and conclude outcomes based on what we feel is right, especially during times like these. But you’ll be surprised how actual numbers can go against initial guesses. What are your assumptions about industry trades today, and how will you verify those beliefs?

Writing all of your assumptions down, and testing each of them is elemental. The more you get used to studying and interpreting data, the faster you’ll arrive at the facts you need the most. Since speed is of utmost importance in today’s business climate, learning to depend on evidential bases is the most pivotal survival skill you’ll need to work on the most.

You learn when you do

Acquaint yourself with all the methods and tools that deal with rapid ideation. Numbers there will be abundant. And although this isn’t the best time for ambitious, exploratory tech projects, learning how to prototype and test will make you and your team readier for tomorrow’s challenges.

Establish more refined priorities

Knowing clearly what the mission-critical projects are and then re-budgeting to accommodate them is the initial step. You’re most likely to save resources in the long run when you evaluate existing products based on how feasible they are in today’s context. You simply can’t let your business function on auto-pilot. You have to keep assessing processes and determine if these are worth keeping as is or updating. The earlier you identify what practices need to change, the faster you can save what’s left of your business’ funding.

Do you have other startup questions and efforts you’d like to know more about? Give us a call, and we’ll help you out!

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