Entrepreneurship is a tough ride and challenges you all the time to keep improving elements that impact your business. This starts with you (the entrepreneur) and spreads through the customers, products, team and culture et al that you build. The last three months have hit businesses severely and the coming two quarters, at least, offer at best a slow recovery curve for them.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has junked the prospect of business as usual, many founders will sail through the ongoing ordeal. Because that is what is asked of entrepreneurs all the time. Find a way. Some of the best ones simply do it better.
Ever since the lockdown has been enforced, we have been tracking layoffs, pay cuts and disruption across sectors. These are not going to stop anytime soon. But don’t let it fool you into thinking things turned bad just due to Covid-19 pandemic. These issues have accompanied startups in almost all periods, only the extent has differed. More importantly, should you allow these to decide your own decision making? Starting with the most obvious one.
Is it the right time to venture into entrepreneurship? Should I defer plans and see how long this virus crisis lasts and take the plunge when things are back to normal? For would-be entrepreneurs, and those who have been there done that, there is only one answer. Do it if you believe you have done your homework.
In fact, if you are confident and have resources to bootstrap or manage funds to sail through the next 18-24 months, the current time frame is like any other. Just look around at some of our biggest success stories forged in really tough times. BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, even the venerable Naukri.com all outlasted some very tough periods to survive and thrive.
Consider that while the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy and business, with corrections in the funding cheque size and valuation, it has also delivered a reality check on salaries asked by tech, product marketing, ops executives. Unlike growth at any cost, venture capital-backed companies would go for sustainable ways to acquire and retain customers for the next 18-24 months. These corrections favour those who will be starting up now.
Chances of scoring institutional funding after demonstrating product-market fit and initial traction will also be high for the next 12-18 months as there would be a lesser number of startups competing for investments. Firms that make it in this stage will not just have a badge of honour, but also the startup memory to handle future disruptions with far more calm and poise than we have seen from many of our well-funded startups recently.
As the popular adage goes: Smooth seas never made a skilful mariner. The Covid-19 pandemic will make more stable and finer entrepreneurs.