Covid 19 arrived, the world has stopped and everyone watched with disbelief as it spread to every corner of the globe. As people need to stay indoors and away from each other, the challenges startups face, particularly the ones with a high physical component, are only increasing. As countries, in a confused movement, try to fight the unprecedented outbreak with complete lockdowns, businesses have been stalled, global trade has been impacted and supply chains have been disrupted.
While nobody has all the answers, we hope this will help answer some questions and provide founders with a framework on how to approach the challenges ahead:
A. PATIENCE IS THE NEXT BEST SKILL:
The goal for a startup right now should be to have 12-18 months before they run out of cash. Valuations will be reset due to the global economic scenario. Funding will be harder to get and down-rounds will be the new normal. A Company should consider flat round of funding to stay afloat for the next 12 months. Startups need to remember the innings of Rahul Dravid and VVS laxman in epic test match in Kolkata in 2001 against Australia. “Tough times don’t last, tough men do”.
1 [Image Credit to: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/sachin-tendulkar-reveals-interesting-story-about-rahul-dravid-vvs-laxman-partnership-in-historic-2001-test-against-australia-at-eden-gardens/story-6FHNa8mG4BJ0QHpsS5a7bJ.html].
B: PARTNERSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT:
Kaif and Yuvraj joined hands for a 121-run stand to drag Sourav Ganguly-led India out of a hole and guide them to a two-wicket victory against England at Lord’s in July 2002. The founders/ promoters should not worry of any flat-round or down-round of funding or for that matter, getting diluted, as staying afloat for few months is important and capital raising and partnership with existing investor or a new investor will thus be critical.
C. STAY POSITIVE AND BE FOCUSSED:
Motivation, de-motivation are very common. Everyone goes through these feelings. In this regard, we need to remember, “Kumble bowling with a Broken Jaw”. This is the power of motivation and positive thinking. Founders need to be positive. Further, people might seem to think that you’re just Bits ‘n Pieces, but let’s not allow the opinions of others define what you really are. No matter what people have to say, be focused on what you do. Only you know your potential, so go out and build something out of bits and pieces.
3[Image Credit to: https://www.dnaindia.com/cricket/photo-gallery-happy-birthday-anil-kumble-from-perfect-10-to-bowling-with-broken-jaw-greatest-moments-of-his-career-2676246/anil-kumble-bowling-with-a-broken-jaw-2676251].
4 [Image Credit to: https://hwnews.in/news/sports/ravindra-jadeja-hits-back-at-sanjay-manjrekar/104438.
D. NEVER GIVE UP AND CHANGE WITH CHANGING ENVIRONMENT:
Despite being diagnosed with ‘mediastinal seminoma’ (in 2012), Yuvraj Singh remained unfazed and battled on with the solitary aim of reclaiming his place in the Indian limited-overs team. By vanquishing cancer, he not only won the biggest battle of his life but also radiated uninhibited grit in its purest form. Although the latter phase of his career has not been as productive as his younger days, the very fact that Yuvraj looked cancer in the eye and subsequently returned to the Indian team across all three formats in a matter of mere months is testament to his will. Covid 19 is not going to last forever and neither it is the “End of World”. The Founders should “Plan, Plan and Plan” and change with changing environment. How Cricket itself has evolved is a prime example of that. Once upon a time, the only matches played stretched over 5 days. Called “Tests”, it seems they were more a test of viewer’s patience. This format gave way to the more popular one-day engagement. In the modern world, time is in short supply. That has resulted in a relatively new 20-20 format. It became a huge success and even gave birth to the most commercialized version of cricket. The Founder should consider what would need to change to address potential impacts of Covid 19. Don’t be discouraged at this point by feasibility. Record any potential solutions and assess them later.
5[Image Credit to: https://jobloo.in/download-yuvraj-singh-images-wallpapers-photos-in-hd/.
E. MANAGE WELL UNDER PRESSURE AND CUT FAT:
The ability to stay calm and collected is one of the most important virtues of great cricketers, especially captains. This helps in calming the nerves of the rest of the team and ensures that they remain focused and continue to believe in themselves. Our very own man, MS Dhoni is a lesson for all corporates in terms of his ability to manage extremely stressful work environments. Managing periods of high stress without losing your composure is the key to long-term success. Further, inside your business processes you have fat, it is slowing you down, it is closing off opportunities for you, and it is making you feel sick. In this situation, you don’t have the luxury to carry it! Get rid of it and transform your business from fat to fit like “Virat Kohli”.
7[Image Credit to: https://www.befitandfine.com/virat-kohli-workout-videos/].
F. BACK-UP PLAN & BE SUPPORTIVE EVEN ON FAILURE:
Covid 19 has taught us that having a backup plan in this unpredictable world seems necessary as long as it doesn’t inspire you to focus less on your original plan. Cricket is a funny game; it was that day when we had our Semi-Final against NZ in 2019 world cup. With the way Indian top order had been performing all the way to the Semi-Final, nobody would have foreseen India landing in such a situation after 10 overs into their batting. It all seemed like we had never prepared for this occasion and had no clear backup plans, as the middle order and tail-enders were almost never exposed and always covered by in-form top-order batsmen till then. Until Semi-Final, our team had been doing amazingly great, proved by the fact the we topped the table, and was considered one of the title favourites as we witnessed their spectacular performance and entertainment. Certainly, results matter, so does the team who brings it. So it’s important for you to appreciative of what your team has done so far and be supportive when your team goes through tough times. In life, there will be times when your plan won’t work. We need to come up with an alternative to stay relevant.
G. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE AND STAY DEDICATED EVEN AT THE HARDEST OF TIME:
The below picture says it all – nothing is impossible. Don’t give up, because this too shall pass.
When a loved one passes away, it hurts. Negative emotions can mentally cripple even the best of us. One needs immense strength and fortitude to get back up and start working. What sets the best of us apart from others is the way we deal with grief. Slamming a century, a day after his father’s death is what transformed Sachin from a legend to God.
Author: Prashant Jain, Co-Founder & Partner.