Startup leaders must brace themselves for a two-pronged battle amidst the coronavirus pandemic: a health crisis that endangers the safety and well-being of their workers and employees, and a global disruption of everyday living and businesses that threatens to upend their companies and enterprises. It is way past the point of believing that things will eventually go back to normal as if nothing happened if they’d just wait and sit it out; indeed, startup leaders should already be in crisis mode for managing and dealing with the new normal caused by the covid-19 outbreak. Acknowledging that their startups are battling crises on two fronts is crucial for startup leaders and founders because their startups’ relatively small size means that they usually do not have the depth and spread of resources that larger companies and organizations have at their disposal for dealing with the global disruption and health crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic. It is quite rare for startup leaders to have to deal with a battle fought on two fronts; they have to look out for the health of their enterprise and ensure that their operations are not overwhelmed by the extensive disruption to business caused by the outbreak, while simultaneously ensuring that the health and well-being of their workers and employees are well taken care of.
It cannot be stated enough that startup leaders and their teams need to meet frequently, some would say daily, to keep abreast of any new developments and events during this time of crisis. As the widespread disruption and changes caused by the pandemic is extremely fluid, leaders should set up a crisis team that meets as often as possible to navigate the startup adeptly through heretofore uncharted waters. These meetings should keep things straight to the point and be absolutely honest and transparent about any newly revealed information or data that can be acted on to guide the company through these uncertain times, even if the information may not be palatable to most. As social distancing measures are now commonplace throughout the world to prevent the spread and transmission of the coronavirus, startups can and should adapt themselves to move their meetings entirely online via videoconferencing and livestreaming platforms such as Zoom.
Amidst the uncertainties and upheaval caused by the covid-19 outbreak, flexibility and agility are the name of the game to survive the crisis. At a time when situations and events are changing almost daily and businesses worldwide are impacted directly by the pandemic, leaders have to allocate their resources and manpower in such a way so as to be able to respond effectively and efficiently to any new developments in a timely manner. Again, constant and open communication is key to keeping things running agilely and smoothly in difficult and challenging times like these. Assessments should be made daily so that processes can be adjusted accordingly to keep ahead of the curve.
For startup leaders and founders, the one silver lining from the coronavirus pandemic is that it presents an opportunity for them to further improve and sharpen their leadership skills during times of crisis. By taking decisive action, they can create a positive and lasting impact for their employees and startup.