As India ushers in ‘Unlock 1.0’ on Monday (June 8), Mahindra group’s chairman Anand Mahindra shared a peek into his thought process to operate in the post-lockdown world. He called these suggestions ‘Sanjivani Solutions’ for companies’ to emerge from the coronavirus-induced coma.
“Adopt a startup mindset, which means, become as lean an organisation as possible. Nothing is sacred; all business models are open for debate. Create ‘feedback loops’ that constantly test product/market assumptions. Share ideas and data across the company at warp speed,” Mahindra said in a tweet thread.
He added that companies should bid goodbye to all initiatives which are not directly contributing to their future success plans and raise sufficient capital, as this will not be a short trip.
Unlike any past recession, Covid-19 dried off both supply and demand for most businesses around the world. Most startups have had to rethink their business models and adapt to the current demand. An array of startups including Zomato, Domino’s, Paytm Mall, Club Factory, Meesho, Shopclues have entered the grocery delivery space. Even heavily funded companies like Ninjacart have felt compelled to experiment with their business models in these times.
According to the IMF forecast, the global economy is estimated to fall by 3% in 2020, making it the worst recessionary period in several decades. The impact of coronavirus on the economy has been acute, so much so that industry experts have recommended company leaders to act like wartime CEOs with an undivided focus on survival. There’s no right and wrong in a fight for survival. Every business has tried the best they can — revisiting plans and identifying the right areas to cost-cut, to stretch their runway.
“A peacetime CEO spends time defining the culture. Wartime CEO lets the war define the culture,” wrote Ben Horowitz. As the war against coronavirus, a new culture of community action is being defined by the startup ecosystem. From growth-stage to early-stage ventures, from serial entrepreneurs to first-time founders, from enablers to investors — everyone has contributed in different ways.
Marquee investors like Sequoia have in the past few months shared advice from their experience of weathering every business downturn over the decades. “Nobody ever regrets making fast and decisive adjustments to changing circumstances. In downturns, revenue and cash levels always fall faster than expenses,” the VC firm said in a timely blogpost which labelled coronavirus as the Black Swan of 2020.
Similarly, Blume Ventures started a series of conversations to support its founder community in mitigating Covid risks – ‘conversations led by the founders, for the founders’. In the announcement post, the VC firm made it clear that these are unprecedented times and the startup community will need an unprecedented level of preparedness to deal with the situation.
And it’s not just the investors who offered advice, seasoned entrepreneurs like Snapdeal cofounder Kunal Bahl also committed one hour daily to virtual brainstorming sessions with startups facing challenges due to the pandemic.