#covid, #startup, #technology
2 June 2020
Julianna Sykutera

How can startups survive Coronavirus pandemic?

Startups have to dynamically develop in order to compete with other businesses on the market. Unfortunately, the ongoing crisis blocks and severely slows down the development of many companies putting their future at risk. Since the lockdown consequences are difficult to withstand even for bigger enterprises, how can startups survive the Coronavirus pandemic?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way 

The current Covid-19 pandemic has turned the startup world upside down. Much of the startup events and tech conferences have been canceled or postponed. The investors aren’t as active as they used to be in times of the crisis and the businesses struggle with maintaining financial liquidity as well as their customer base. At times like this, we usually wonder what could’ve been done better to prevent the business from the crisis. Truth is, every situation can be well-played and now it’s not the time to think about the past. Apple and Google have already used the crisis to their advantage, creating the Covid-19 tracing tool. It means it’s time for you to get back on your feet. 

Software over Hardware 

Apple and Google software is not the only example of a well-played strategy. For many reasons, software development is a much easier and better choice than hardware production. During the world’s pandemic, the process of project testing, certification, and release is just incomparably difficult and long. Not to mention how much we rely on shipping politics and open borders with such an approach. Oh and on the smooth hardware production that won’t be interrupted by the deadly virus:) 

Hardware product disaster

To give you a bigger picture, let’s talk about the Coolest Cooler case. The project was originally funded through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. The CEO raised a campaign to build smart coolers with built-in blenders. Brilliant right? But the team put the product for sale before they even finished the whole production. The company that today is out of business, admits that they shipped roughly two-thirds of the 60,000 coolers they owed people. Now the blame is put on the tariff on Chinese imports that raised to 25%. And even if it wasn’t the only problem on their road to success, the example shows why the independence from external factors is important in creating an easily scalable product. 

Their hardware product was a disaster. Mainly because it wasn’t a response to any real needs of the target group. The startup was rather focused on creating the desire around some multifunction refrigerator. But as much as their product vision was weak, to some point, it shows that the production of the whole line of smart freezers is a way bigger undertaking that may outgrow any poorly prepared company. Let’s not forget that there are also other challenges waiting for startups during product development.

We think different now 

The Coronavirus pandemic made us realize what we really need and what our priorities are. We started to pay attention to things we truly value in our lives. The Coolest Cooler is not on the list as well as much of the hardware products we buy. In times of crisis, we are more likely to resign on any sort of subscription program that sends us protein shakes or shaving razors. That’s why a company offering these kinds of services should start building their technology background. This is how startups can survive Coronavirus pandemic as it helps the company change direction and maintain sales. 

Different times need different measures 

To survive on the market in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, startup founders need to be aware of the direction it is heading. Being up to date with the changing requirements, companies are able to maintain their brands. Either by creating a new product that meets new customers’ needs or by developing a modern strategy that turns your business into a tasty treat for bigger IT players. Coty company buying Kylie Cosmetics is an example of the second scenario. 

The key is always strategy 

Having a startup focused on hardware production is clearly at odds with nowaday’s global market condition. But let me repeat, every situation can be well-played. Even if you want to sell products in a subscription model or sell hardware, that is, to have a business model that relies on whether people go outside or not, it’s worth looking at the technological aspect of this approach. Do you know how to effectively measure sales? Do you know how to follow customers’ needs and interests? If so, then you can verify when your product becomes out of date and immediately respond to it. Only then it’s worth taking the risk. Remember that every start-up has to pivot during its development and it’s natural.

To sum up 

You have to notice the technology potential we have now and monitor changes that have occurred on the market due to the pandemic. Shifting into software delivery is something that can save your startup but it’s not the only way to do that. Only by adjusting your business strategy to the current world condition, you can greatly increase the chances of surviving on the market. 

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