Dear startup CEOs: It’s time to shift your mindset.
Last week might have been about growth and funky new initiatives. It could have been about hiring employees and closing that new financing round and launching that new product. Last week was about shiny things. Growth was your religion, and your North Star was closing deals and booking revenues. Amen.
But we woke up in a different world, a world where part of the population is shielded from normal social life (or will be soon) due to the spread of coronavirus. This new world calls for new rules. Your new religion is now survival, and your new God is called liquidity.
I’m willing to bet none of you had a “global pandemic” section in your 2020 financial planning sheet.
I spoke to a VC today who summarized it nicely: “In 12 months it will be easy for you to explain why your startup didn’t grow in the last six months. But it will be very hard to explain why your startup is dead.”
Whatever your priorities were in the last couple of months, your new top priority needs to be cash. But there are more things to consider in times like these. Managing a crisis can be hard, especially if it’s your first and has the magnitude of the current one. So consider these points as a guideline to give you a bit of a direction:
1. Dump your 2020 strategy and business plan and take out a blank page
Most 2020 plans were created based on a more or less normal worldview. I’m willing to bet none of you had a “global pandemic” section in your 2020 financial planning sheet. So you might as well clear out the entire document and start on a blank page. New realities call for new plans.
There is not enough information and clarity about the whole situation to create a robust new plan just yet. Steering your ship in times of crisis will require a lot of course corrections and smaller maneuvers. So make the planning part of your daily war room…