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November 24, 2020 | 19:11

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Planning the Startup Strategy for 2021

There is a saying that only stupid people don’t learn from their mistakes, 2020 can be considered a year of mistakes. Before thinking about a vivid, colorful, and successful 2021 we need to take a step back and cool our jets. From this article, you shall get all you need to know to learn from the difficulties you had in your enterprise to make a better profit in 2021 or rather minimize the damages and repercussions of 2020. Has COVID-19 pushed or budged off the hooks? I guess the answer is yes. 

Here are some of them: 

  • Temporary business shutdown
  • Reduction of sales
  • Temporary lay off
  • Business operations changes
  • Health guidance compliance
  • Survey Point of View

    Effectively the COVID-19 has caused evident damage to all the startups and enterprises. On the chart below you can see which countries have managed best the COVID-19 and the four lessons we can learn from these mistakes according to the site Startupsandplaces.com   

    COVID-19
    COVID-19: Four important lessons from European startups

      Startupsandplaces.com had to make a survey launched in June 2020, this survey helps to share the trends for the European startup ecosystem. They shared some preliminary findings with more than 300 responses from the European Startup Ecosystem. Here are the 4 important lessons we could learn from this challenging period of COVID-19.

    COVID-19: German voted as the best crisis manager in the E.U

    Among all the EU states Germany is the best in the management and resilience of crisis. COVID-19 is not an exception, the German Government allocated funds and policies to follow up the startups during this period.

    COVID-19
    COVID-19: Four important lessons from European startups

    Better don’t plan major offline conferences before 2021

    A survey was made on the postponement and cancellation of International Tech conferences. some conferences were moved to an online format rather than offline. From the survey, nearly 47,7% of the participants would rather not attend major International Tech Events in 2021. 

    The survey takers relied on a number of factors to know the reason why people wouldn’t attend major Tech conferences. The leading factors are the infectious rate in the destination where the Tech. the conference will take place 53,8% and whether the trip is a necessity for attendance for the business 52,9%.

    Factors to manage COVID-19
    COVID-19: Four important lessons from European startups

    Offline is not over

    While In-person conferences are struggling, startup companies try to maintain the personal networks created especially before the pandemic. As a whole 4 out of 5 start-ups rely on the international network that is created during conferences and International conventions. COVID-19 is a threat to these networks and bonds although a  huge share of 30 % seems unaffected, 40% have agreed that COVID-19 waves reduced or made it harder to perpetuate the bonds they had with their international clients and investors.   

    COVID-19
    COVID-19: Four important lessons from European startups

    Regardless of the rise of online and virtual events, startups are aware of the limitation of this format especially when it comes to doing business. From the survey, only 30 of startups are convinced virtual conferences and meetings are as valuable as in-person conferences. The inability to have offline meetings has brought different channels through which startup maintain valuable international networks. The survey shows the introduction or the increase in the use of virtual conference platforms. From the survey, a huge part of the participants prefers traditional ways of maintaining contacts, like their LinkedIn and personal networks. 

    How Startups Can Be Proactive?

    The harsh reality of COVID-19 made many startups to be forced to find a proactive mode of functioning. COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed the major activities of startups from presence at Tech conferences to logistics of products produced by these startups. A proactive mode is needed to minimize the loss,  take advantage of the pandemic, and create resilient measures. Currently, a majority of startups have transitioned their workforce and systems to imply remote working.  

    This massive transition in a short period of time need specific measures of operation as follows:

    Assess Vendor and suppliers 

    One of the last things in the mind of start-ups management of key vendors and suppliers as well as environmental security.

    Ideally having an established regular schedule of the framework and work whereby startups assess the risks pertaining to principal vendors, especially those hosting principal businesses and IT functions, host and process critical data. Some even were lucky enough to complete the schedule just before COVID-19. If not, some critical actions must be taken. 

    Functions, activities, and systems may be outsourced in critical cases but responsibilities cannot. This situation leaves customers, regulators, our team and you must endorse all responsibilities are constantly assessed on their environment’s effectiveness and stakeholders to be held accountable for the keeping of sensitive data safe, regardless of whom and where the data is processed. 2 steps can be outlined to relieve the issues.

    Step1: Commence a Vendor and Supplier audit 

    An inventory must be done to check on the vendors and suppliers; try to emphasize knowing what they provide as service to you and where they are found. A principal part of business continuity is planning and determining the abilities of your vendors and suppliers to meet the appropriate obligations during the crisis Even if you have outsourced professional services or software technology, you have to take full responsibilities for assessing the business resilience, reliability, and security of vendors and suppliers whose support may be critical to your startup.

    After making an inventory of suppliers and vendors, they must be categorized based on the criticality of the provided service to your startup. Data and Sensitivity levels must also be outlined on your behalf. After pay attention to those who can have an impact on your finances, customers, business operations, and of course your reputation. 

    Step 2: Assess the ability of vendors and suppliers to continue providing support and control frameworks 

    A plan must be established and a framework to evaluate, these key suppliers, and their abilities must be assessed to evaluate if they can support you during the crisis. The robustness must be evaluated as well.

    A close and permanent relationship must be done between suppliers and the leadership to establish accountability.

    Your supplier’s assessment should also consider:

  • Remote management: the main question is your suppliers and vendors working remotely? Determine a safe route to protect the information transmission, data, and system. Make sure it is ultimately secured.
  • Continuity and resilience: How effective suppliers and vendors can continue providing services in the course of the crisis? Assess the geographical location and backup should be resilient. Cloud-based suppliers that host, manage, or process the system and data should be tested on the redundancy abilities.
  • The viability of the business: consider the major impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your suppliers and vendors, taking into account their ability to continue providing the required service.
  • Information: Assess your security, incident response, the privacy considerations as well. You may also get your suppliers and vendors to get assessed themselves or by a third party.
  • Keep in mind there is no zero risks all vendors or suppliers may be exposed to the crisis as well. It is important to make sure that your vendors and suppliers have a risk management structure and that they are constantly assessed on the effectiveness of their environment. Remember at the end of the day all responsibilities must be endorsed by our team and you. These responsibilities must go beyond the COVID-19 crisis. After the pandemic makes sure this assessment is done at least annually so as to reduce damages on the appearance of another crisis.  

    Investors 

    Investors and fundraising sentiments during this economically restrained COVID-19 period must definitely be rethought. Fundraising is challenging in the current moment. Firstly, with the inability to organize a fundraising event during the lockdown. Secondly, the inability of getting into new ventures or purchasing new deals instead of dealing with their private businesses. Investors might not be able to visit the site, visit the firm, and meet the startup team.

    Browse over the list of investors here: Startups Accelerators List

     Adaptation 

    Runway extension: the uncertainty of the future with COVID-19 has brought the whole business to a critical level, making the horizon blurred.

  • Duration: The predictions in the long term are very fishy because experts have never dealt with such a crisis. For example, on Feb. 26, President Donald Trump proclaimed 15 cases; The U.S crossed the 4 Million cases by October. Was anyone predicting 30 Million Americans filing for unemployment and more than 4 weeks shutdown? Who could predict this?
  • Runway Extension: This is more than holding periodical burn rate constant- some budget cuts must be done to make cash last over time till business gets to norms. You have to plan 1- time to raise your next round and 2- capacity to meet the milestone in advance to raise the next round. Below we can have an illustration of the cash burn with time.
  • stats
    How to adapt through COVID-19

    The blue line depicts the original budgeted case. Cash-out is assumed to be in Dec. 2021 so we will require fundraising to begin in 2021 at the latest.  The company plans for a rise in expenditure at the beginning of April 2020 and over a year of product development support milestones.

     To both extend the runway – depicted in red and green on the fig and keep the company on the same trajectory to raise values of future rounds. Your company must think very creative and maintain the curve in progressive mode:

  • Reduce the go-to-market spend, this implies an alteration in the pitch of the spending ramp.
  • Relocate fixed capital to the monthly burn, for example, reduction of your original capital expenditure plan.
  • Decrease non-essential expenditures and set the priority on value –creative activities which are important for future funding rounds.
  • Raise non-dilutive funding or additional dept. capital.
  • Another sense of adaptation is the involvement of free delivery, care package customers could send loved ones or elderly. You may introduce new product lines like masks or desensitizers, this may help you keep close contact with your customers thus maximizing the relationship. 

    Adapt your product to online services because of the lockdown your audience will stay connected online leading them to do enormous online purchases. Maximize the least budget on advertisement so as to get the maximum amount of potential customers.  The ability to build resilient measures will help you have a better approach for further issues you may have.  

    Be up with the News

    Constantly being updated with the news will let you know the upcoming measures you need to take for the survival of your startup. You must stay updated with the number of infected and dead patients. As these numbers may influence the decisions taken by the government. Your startup must be able to maximize profit before, during, and after lockdown. You should also keep updated with the measures taken by the government to support startups. Here are some points you can learn from keeping on with the news:

  • Tax deferment and extensions.
  • Paycheck Protection Program i.e. the help brought by the government to protect startup.
  • Tax credit for employers and employees.
  • Mandatory COVID-19 paid sick and family leaves.
  • Conclusion

    To all difficult moments, there is always a solution, the latest news updates are quite positive. The effective work of laboratories has led to the creation of 2 vaccines by 2 very popular laboratories i.e. Moderna laboratory. It is said, the first doses will be available in December in the USA and February in Europe. The COVID-19 crisis has to serve as a test for other further ones.   

    Tags

    #Planning business in 2021#Startups#Strategy
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