As we start to slowly ease out of lockdown, many founders will be reflecting on what was a challenging year across all sectors. Despite the unforeseen obstacles brought about as a result of the pandemic, some savvy founders have found practical ways to pivot and continue turning a profit. Whilst 2020 was mainly about surviving, for most startups 2021 has been about thriving as we enter into this post-pandemic world.
To help founders navigate this new reality, Kyle Brennan, CFO at Feeld and Co-founder of Ralston created the handy video guide below to prepare for the unexpected and capitalising on new opportunities. Below that, we’ve also listed out Kyle’s seven tips. Remember, Winston Churchill famously said “never waste a good crisis,” and in times of crisis comes plenty of change to ultimately create opportunities.
Identify gaps in your market
It’s a simple formula of supply and demand. When COVID first hit, you had demand change radically for most businesses and as a result, the market’s irrevocably changed as well.
So as supply decreased, many of your competitors either went out of business or really scaled back their operations. This gives you a window to prepare your offering as and when demand does eventually return. There’s always going to be a gap in your market as well as a need for that supply and when the economy does bounce back, you’ll want to take advantage of that.
Get yourself in front of new people
Right now it’s really easy to stay at home and put the blinders on, but this is a time of transition for a lot of us. People are picking up and moving to new cities. They’re wanting to be closer to family or they want to start families. Maybe they want to start new careers and change jobs. You have a lot of talented people that are looking for new opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be there. So the key areas you want to focus on are business partners and new hires, particularly in this new hybrid workplace.
Put your foot on the gas
This is even more important if you’ve just been waiting things out or stockpiling cash in preparation for the post-pandemic economy. Now is the time to really start looking at accelerating your business. There’s going to be a lot of opportunities that come up and the companies that will be successful are the ones that are quick and decisive to jump on those opportunities.
Reward your team
The mental health impact of isolation and remote working during COVID is very real. You know that people make the business so reinvest in your people. Many companies have saved a lot of money over the last 12 months because their business overheads like office costs or rent have drastically reduced. Consider how you can reinvest those funds into your workforce. Where can you upskill your people? Where can you reward your people? How can you cater for their mental health?
Balance your marketing mix
Largely during the COVID crisis, most marketing activity has been digital but eventually, we will see a return to offline in-person events. The pandemic has also seen shifts in consumer behaviour when it comes to how they communicate with brands as well as the products/services they are purchasing. You’ll need to adapt and evaluate your marketing mix to identify what channels are driving ROI, what new channel opportunities are available and which channels can you abandon altogether in a digital world.
Maintain a good cash reserve
Bill Gates always said “you should have 12 months of expenses in cash”, which is easy for Bill Gates the billionaire to say! Whilst many businesses may be unable to save 12 months of expenses and cash, it is helpful to have at least have three months of expenses. What that cash reserve is going to do is give you breathing room. It’s going to give you time to adjust the business. If tomorrow your company didn’t have any revenue could you survive without a cash reserve saved up?
Watch external trends
It’s very easy to focus on things internally in your company. Remember things are constantly changing around you and the opportunities are going to come from the external environment. The smartest and richest entrepreneurs in the world don’t always know what’s going to happen next and that helps levels the playing field if you’re still figuring out a path for your business journey.