Scaling in Difficult Times - What Seasoned Advisors Told Startups and Scaleups Amidst the Covid-19 Crisis

Scaling in Difficult Times - What Seasoned Advisors Told Startups and Scaleups Amidst the Covid-19 Crisis
Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi / Unsplash

Market shocks like the COVID-19 crisis don’t come around very often, but when they do the way successful businesses react to them can teach us a lot.

Of course the crisis was very advantageous to some business models, with online video software, home exercise and a variety of other industries benefitting enormously. But how did the businesses that experienced less demand, staffing issues, and volatile markets manage to survive and thrive?

Invigorate’s interaction with UK-based entrepreneurs gives us a unique vantage point to access the impactful advice they are receiving our experienced advisors. Many of our advisors have survived and successfully lived through the bubble, 9-11 and the global financial crisis, and understand the tactics to weather the storm. So when the COVID-19 crisis hit the markets, we collected the advice they gave the businesses they were helping, to give you a summary of how to run a business in a downturn or tricky period.

So what did we learn from the COVID-19 crisis?

  1. Now is the time to double down and reinvent yourself. Sticking too closely to previous fundraising processes, sales and hiring plans, failing to revisit your finances, or not addressing product roadmaps may well mean you fail to navigate this storm. It’s never been more pertinent to rethink your cashflows, fundraising and your sales from new and existing customers.
  2. Accept fear and uncertainty – it’s part of running a business. It’s not just about the ability to adapt, it’s about the lack of fear to adapt quickly enough.
  3. Innovation should not be viewed as an activity you do during strong economic times. Find ways to diversify and spread risk. Looking at the situation as an opportunity to innovate will energise you rather than putting you in a gridlock. And no, you don’t need ample cashflow to innovate, part of the innovation journey is to explore new normals – it’s an opportune time to experiment. “It’s an opportunity to be doing things differently, change the way you make, sell and distribute your product and service.”
  4. This may accelerate what you have been thinking but putting off. It’s less about putting plans on hold, this will have you running toward the future more leanly and organising your business to do this effectively.
  5. Communicate to your investors, communicate to your people. It’s a lot of change – no commute, WFH, isolating from colleagues, friends and family. Everyone is feeling the pressure of these unprecedented conditions. It’s your responsibility to provide that steady hand.
  6. No more unnecessary software subscriptions – focus on value add. Reduce burn and increase runway, but don’t compromise on outcomes.
  7. Experience, experience, experience. Look to those with the ‘grey hair’ for guidance. You may be letting go of your ‘muscle’, but you can still access experienced directors via Invigorate, who can guide you in steering ships and allow you to sail more smoothly.
  8. Inform customers of your approach and that you are still open to serve, it’s also an opportunity to show your true company values. Tailor your approach to their concerns or associate their needs with your service. Create helpful information once you understand what they need.

There’s no doubt it’s going to be a long and difficult ride.

Invigorate is here to help, giving you access to a network of business advisors who can guide and direct on optimal business strategies across all aspects of your business, as well as crisis management.