Will The Real Entrepreneurs Please Stand up?
These are hard, unsettling times, full of unknowns, brought to us courtesy of COVID19; But this is what all entrepreneurs sign up for, knowing that they will have to chase their vision through terrible adversity. This is when the real entrepreneurs with a focus on their mission will be revealed.
Every founder is thinking, “What should I be doing right now?” The times of boasting are gone. It’s time for action, to lead from the front, to take charge with hard decisions for survival. It is time to deal with facts. Status quo is the enemy of opportunity. Do not make things worse through inaction. Startup idea, product, traction, subsequent funding is not a lottery ticket. It requires entrepreneurs with irrational perseverance to continue building business in tough times.
Next 100 days will separate the gritty from the vain.
Funding Is Not A Panacea
Entrepreneurs should not take funding as the end goal or solution to all their business problems.
VCs are favoring startups with a clear path to profits & grounded valuations.
Cash is King, Preserve Cash
All Weather Businesses Are En-Vogue
Leverage this predicament to rethink the business model and work to make yours an all-weather business. It’s necessary to do a pivot, to take a different approach to making money. Be where your customer needs you to be. The business is at a crossroads, take calls on what is working and what is not. It is the perfect opportunity to stop and reassess your work, introspect, retrospect, and make the changes at the core of the business. This you will have to do as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs afraid of rocking the boat can never get ahead.
Entrepreneurs Look For Solutions, Not Escape
Entrepreneurs start thinking once cash runs out. Today’s environment provides ample opportunity to become an even more effective and inspiring entrepreneur, and attract investor attention. Eliminate or reduce expenses that are not contributing to the immediate revenues. Discover ways to stay close and new ways to help users of your product and services tide over their problems.
The strength of engagement with users is a critical leading indicator for the investor.
Innovate to do more with less. Leverage the leanness and nimbleness of being a startup to go after new users while the incumbents are struggling to adapt. Involve your team, your customers, your suppliers’ in the business, make them and their insights part of all tough decisions. If founders can’t convince the stakeholders to work for the company for a deferred payment (suppliers) or advance payments (customers), then the startup has got a much bigger problem on hand.
A Crisis is not the time to be brave but to be paranoid, so share to make aware.
Even In The Darkest Of Times, Winning Entrepreneurs Have “Attitude”
- Get into tough conversations, be expressive & have the ability to say “No”
- An attitude of zero tolerance, no overlooking of facts, problems & errors.
- Never risk reputation, no innovation in legal and finance.
- Accessible to team, customer & investors, continuous communications.
- Be real. Act & think like a human. Do not take capacity as infinite.
- Respect money, build close investor relations.
- Take one step at a time, build a business with internal accruals & customer funding. Investors will follow.
- Scale customers first, products later.
- Priority should be on customer communication, education & engagement.
Startups are not for the faint of heart.