We have weeks to go for this nationwide lockdown to be lifted. Most of us were already a week or 2 into “work from home” mode and home quarantines by the time the lockdown got announced. While startups could be one of the most adversely affected communities across industries, founders don’t have to be. What can one do during this coronavirus quarantine period? Here are ways for us to discuss startup founders COVID impact on business, and also do some productivity and upskilling efforts. 

By design, startup founders are the most persistent community  with a prominent “fight-back” strain in their DNA. They are problem solvers. And building solutions in adverse conditions is what they do all the time. The constant fight for survival makes them naturally resilient.  The community therefore is hopeful of springing back into action, the moment situation gets back to normalcy and enterprise customers / end users are back in action. 

Amongst the socio-economic chaos, these tough startup founders see even the lockdown as an opportunity. They realise business shall be slow unless you are in one of the essential services sectors, pushed to limits these days like- healthcare/e-comm / fintech / online entertainment / Internet provider …etc.  And the slowdown will not get immediately solved. Considering there is at least a month’s time before the mainstream business picks up, Founders worldwide are trying to make the best of this forced slack.

Let us see how. You may want to pick one of these to pursue – 

  1. Startup founders are actively working on finding solutions for the different aspects of the COVID pandemic. One easy way to collaborate on this is to share your idea on MyGovIndia Portal.
  2. Founders are grouping themselves basis the target customers and getting into online conference calls and working overtime in building leads and doing PoCs for validating their assumptions. I participated in one such call where we put forth our services and got a couple of startups to try out our new feature. In normal course, founders are scrambling for time and can’t support others much, even if they wish to. But the slow market is enabling the collaboration.
  3. One very interesting activity that founders – specially the single founders are doing – is the full blown search for co-founders. I have come across quite a few posts on different social media groups including WhatsApp, where teams are facilitating co-founder match-making.  It is difficult to say what could the reason be – but it is highly likely that the business conditions may have suddenly made few founders or potential founders available for the co-founders market.
  4. Quite a few founders, including myself are investing in skill building. All leading MooC sites like – Upgrad / edX / Coursera / Udemy are offering some high quality subject matter courses.  Most founders who are enrolling there these days are either looking at building new skills or sharpening their existing saws. 
  5. Big businesses which don’t fall under the “essential services” category have shutdown.  While the senior management is still working behind the scenes to find ways to cut losses and ways to optimize expenses, they also have lesser pressure than usual – Which gives the otherwise super busy leaders, some time for mentoring.  Connect with them on Linkedin/ Twitter/ References and seek all the advices you have been looking for.  
  6. Lot of big companies are backing out of the internship offers made to even some of the premium institutes. April to June is the internship period. It is unlikely that these students will get alternate offers from traditional recruiters. Startup Founders could invest this time into scouting some of the best available talents and doing some intern-shopping.
  7. AWS, Google, Microsoft , NASSCOM and TiE Delhi-NCR are conducting some very  interesting online events where investors and startup founders from world over are sharing how they are handling the business issues faced due to the marketplace shutdown/slow business  during the lockdown. These are very valuable events. Try and attend these.
  8. While there is not much discussions happening around fitness resolutions, founders are teaming up to be fitness buddies and to motivate each other to engage in home based exercises like running up n down the stairs, do treadmills. Lot of fitness coaches and apps are offering interesting new regimes to do indoors. This could be a good time to get into fitness mode if you have always wanted to but never got time to do it.
  9. And finally – the Hobbies. Not having an office to go to and not having a fixed routine could very well demotivate you into laziness. In such situations, occasional defocussing and then focussing improves ones productivity and efficiency.  Startup founders are developing a hobby to help them defocus. This is a good time to develop a good indoor hobby – like – nail art, cooking, dancing, stand up comedian, writing, learning to code..etc. Look for online classes for any of these.
  10. Last but not the least – Founders are building their reading lists and making themselves smarter.  If you are one of those founders who have always wondered how did people get time to read – maybe it’s time you got started.

By the time the quarantine ends, the startup founders may actually be geared up with real good preparation to deal with the potential issues that could come up in their businesses, instead of wasting the quarantine time in going through anxiety and worries.

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