• Devansh Lakhani

Start-Up Lessons Learned From The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hard hit every industry in some way or another. This pandemic has hit the global economy and as such we are looking to be at the cusps of one of the biggest economic slacks we have ever witnessed. The reason why this pandemic is problematic is the fact that every country’s economy has been hit. Many businesses have seen their doors close due to these extreme circumstances. This is true even for start-ups. The COVID-19 pandemic is a big wake up call to the industry of start-ups. The financial strain that our economy is seeing is in no way going to alleviate anytime soon. The same can be said for the pandemic. However, even with this precarious situation that we are facing, it is not without a few learning opportunities. That being said, here are some of the lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customer is King

You must make sure the product or service you offer to your customer meets their needs. In a situation like this pandemic, it becomes imperative to adapt your product or service to meet the real-time needs of the customer. If you help your customer in their time of need it’s sure to be reciprocated back in some way. An entrepreneur must be inventive with the way he/she decides to develop an off-hand method of keeping in touch with the customer base. Increasing online communication in the form of social media, newsletters, email campaigns etc. can help in a great way. This in turn helps keep your customers loyal to your company.

Health and Safety

In COVID times, safety in terms of hygiene has become very important. To make your customers feel as safe as possible, be sure to revamp or amp up your safety measure to protect both the customer as well as your employees. Any start-up advisor now will highlight the importance of cleanliness. Making sure employees wear masks and face shields is a must. The use of hand sanitisers and regular temperature checks will not just help keep track of employee health but will also ease the customer.

The Agility of a Business

Most industries were hit hard by the pandemic. Those companies that learned how to adapt and change their business models and business plans to fit the needs of their customers are the ones that survived the initial lockdown stages. They did this by providing a range of offers to their customers that would help them save in some way at the same time making sure the company itself got its revenue. The best example of this can be seen in the hospitality industry. Big luxury hotels like Taj, Oberoi, and Hyatt etc. all started home delivery of their food to increase the revenue they lost because people were not allowed to stay in the hotels. Other businesses such as fashion houses started making masks and helping curb the shortage that was seen early on. Many breweries started making and selling hand sanitiser.

One of the very important aspects of this pandemic is an online presence. It has forced start-ups as well as other businesses to have an online presence to help improve the business as well as create a larger awareness.

Create a Business Plan that is prepared for any kind of eventuality

One important thing seen in many start-ups across industries was that most of them did not prepare for worst-case scenario eventualities. This is a very important reason why many businesses had to close up shop. Start-up advisors are now helping companies and businesses focus on this aspect of planning. Creating a business plan that is well rounded and looks at different aspects of the economy and the fall of it is important. Being prepared for any eventuality is the best way forward.

The start-ups that have survived the initial stages of the lockdown and pandemic have done so because of being creative in the way they have done business. The past year as well the coming year has been and will be hard. However, try and be unique and inventive in the way you conduct business as that is what will help in the long run.

Further for any newly formed start-up, the best way to decide if it requires an angel investor or start-up funding is by having a complete business plan. Your business plan should also include a One-Page Business Plan. I have developed a one-page business plan for all start-up founders and entrepreneurs. This business plan helps you ideate what you would like to achieve the following year as well as the activities you are willing to give up. It helps you to understand the shortcomings of the previous year as well.

About Devansh Lakhani

Director of Lakhani Financial Services, and a Chartered Accountant, he helps start-ups raise funds from his network of investors. He guides and advises start-ups to scale up by providing efficient sales, marketing, team building, and business management strategies. He has executed fundraising by block deals on the stock exchange and conducted IPOs and right issues on the SME platform to the tune of over Rs. 50 Crore. He is currently working with start-ups from various sectors to help them channelize their business models and investments.

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