By: Nik Adhia, Senior Director Global Operations, Oracle for Startups
Founders and employees alike have been on edge given uncertain economic conditions, so let’s just get right into a few ways startups can think about running leaner.
Distinguish between needs and “nice-to-haves”
At times of challenge, it is important to examine activities and decide which are critical in the current moment. It is important for startups to operate lean in general, as it may not be easy to see when the next revenue will arrive. Now especially, it is a good idea to dedicate cash flow to required operating expenses that keep your business running. For those ‘nice to have’ activities, pause them, put them on hold, and try not to commit to anything in advance.
Focus on retention
The cost to win new customers and users can be very high and requires being authentic and committed to your end-users. If you have to choose between being aggressive with your pipeline or serving current customers, work on keeping churn rate low, growing your base, and re-investing in the areas where you’ve experienced success. Think of tending to an existing garden rather than planting new seeds.
Ask for help (and credit)
Around the world, there are government initiatives in place to help with minimum interest loans, while credit providers and suppliers are extending credit to their customers. Take advantage of what is available in your area and feasible for the long-term survival of your business. It requires some administration, but your employees, customers and backers will thank you if you can not only survive but even thrive in such times.
When in doubt, be transparent
Be open with your investors, advisors, and those closest to your business. Investors are there to support you through challenging times. If you are running low on your cash reserves, but your burn rate remains high, it’s important for investors and advisors to know the situation. Be proactive about asking for help if you need it. You’re not in this situation alone, as it is likely your investors and advisors are dealing with the same circumstances.
Now is the time to build resilience
Your business will go through unprecedented times, which can bring new levels of stress and busy-ness. Remaining positive and confident in your business is always a smart strategy. If changing circumstances mean you do have to reduce your staff, operating costs, or partnerships, do so while looking for the bright side. The world may look different in 6 months’ time and the smart, strategic moves you make now may pay off when the dust begins to settle.
To learn more and get live answers for your most pressing questions, connect 1:1 with Oracle for Startups’ Nick Mancini (availability limited): calendly.com/nick-mancini/mentor-hours
Nik Adhia is Senior Director, Global Operations, Oracle for Startups, having been on the founding team since its inception. Oracle for Startups is a program serving startups worldwide by enabling next-generation growth, business development, and driving cloud-based innovation for our customers. Previously, Nik was VP for Global Open Innovation at Barclays Bank Plc, responsible for the expansion and development of open innovation initiatives for RISE (including the Barclays Accelerator) – the banks innovation program supporting the co-creation of startups and entrepreneurs across the global ecosystem. Nik co-founded Tryum, a leading enterprise loyalty and mobile payment start-up showcased by the Mayor of London on his UKTI trade mission to Singapore and Malyasia. Nik regularly mentors student entrepreneurs and is a clean tech enthusiast, with a specific interest in clean water desalination technology.