In this podcast, Paresh Masade, the founder and CEO of Vaave, an alumni networking platform, shares five key strategies that he believes will go a long way in helping startups navigate the current
Coronavirus crisis and prepare for an economic slowdown that appears inevitable. According to him, if startups have to overcome the adverse market environment due to the pandemic, their leadership should be strong enough to help the company adapt to the uncertain times. Masade recounts the three occasions when his startup survived a near-death situation in the last
decade and how the business pulled through every time. This was largely possible, he says, as Vaave already had many of these strategies in place, thus, allowing the team to quickly adapt to the new situation of working from home. Also, crisis or no crisis, Masade is of the view that a business continuity plan should be in place that reflects the company’s processes and work culture. The weekly and daily ‘all hands’ will help the team effectively communicate the management’s end goals. A clear organisational structure will enable every team member to optimise his or her output. For best results, employees should be empowered to work independently sans micromanagement from the top leadership. Here are his five tips to startups to help them survive the dire circumstances presented by Covid-19:
- Start working remotely to prevent deliverables from getting affected. This was the proactive
approach Vaave took that didn’t impact the team’s productivity and targets when the Coronavirus
- Prepare the team ahead of time to help them cope better with unforeseen circumstances.
According to Masade, his team was well-prepared to deal with a possible lockdown even before it
became a reality. This, in turn, helped employees remain focused, despite the changed business
- Communicate effectively to assuage the concerns of your employees who are expecting the
pandemic to hit their next pay cheque. As they look up to the leadership for answers, startup
founders should be candid with the workforce and present a realistic picture of what is to be
expected in the days to come.
- Value your employees’ opinion to find a solution to the problem. Startup founders are not
superhuman and don’t need to do it all. They are allowed to show their vulnerability during a crisis
like Covid-19 and reach out to the larger team for their suggestions. This approach will help teams
emerge stronger and bond better.
- Conserve cash and cut down unnecessary expenses. “Like they say in the Game of Thrones,
‘Winter is coming and we don’t know how long it’s going to last.’” Startups with sufficient cashflows
are more likely to survive the downturn than the less prepared ones. “[At Vaave], we have been very
frugal and will continue to be so in the months to come,” says Masade.
In conclusion, Masade urges entrepreneurs to prepare adequately for the storm that lies ahead. He
advises them to hold on to their belief system and be confident that they will lead their company,
employees, business partners and clients through this rough patch and emerge victorious on the