Unless you’re on a remote island or mountain with no cell access, you’re probably already starting to feel the ripple effects on the economy and in our everyday lives from COVID-19 – which was recently categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Given the unprecedented nature of this outbreak (both Mark Suster and Sequoia Capital have called this a Black Swan event), we wanted to share a few points to help you and your team prepare for the future. We take our responsibility to you, your company, your employees, and your shareholders seriously and hope this message helps you navigate these uncertain times. Here are some tips to prepare your startup during COVID-19:
Manage Burn, Plan for Low Demand. These kinds of conversations are never easy, and some of you may have already had them. As we look into the future, burn is going to be of critical importance, as raising funds will be more difficult in the current economy and revenues will be harder to generate due to reduced purchasing power and demand. To weather this storm, startups will need to find ways to reduce expenses and extend their runways, while remaining adaptable against a quickly-changing economic landscape. I believe Darwin said it’s not the strongest or smartest who survive, but those who are most adaptable that will. Now is a great time to revisit your business’ core assumptions, understand where and how your money is being spent, and create a contingency plan that will allow you to survive in this new environment.
Be Remote Friendly, Cut Down Travel. The best way we can contain the spread of the virus is by reducing social gathering, so many companies have begun urging employees to work remotely. We got a head start by going remote in 2019, but instead of listening to me talk about how to operate as a remote-friendly startup, here’s some advice from Skylar Norris – our Director of People who oversaw our move to remote work and also helped build Protocol Labs into a 200+ employee, global remote-first organization.
Follow Recommended Health Guidelines. They are out there for a reason, use trusted sources! We recommend following the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for updates, warnings and other COVID-19 information.
Feel free to share anything you’ve found useful as well. I’d love to learn about how you plan to move forward into the coming months, as it could help other organizations we work with. As always, we appreciate your trust in us and the work we do together. Good luck, stay safe.