• Taylor Desjardins

COVID-19: Startup Survival Guide


As the world remains in a standstill, companies are opting for new ways to conduct business amidst the government's stay-at-home orders. How is your startup adapting during the economic downturn we are facing?

Analyzing your response to the virus, the changes to your workforce, supply chain disruptions, cashflow management, and how to keep your brand relevant are all critical factors to look at to keep your startup afloat.

Our checklist takes you through the essential elements of your business and what you can do to minimize the effect of COVID-19.

Download our PDF checklist and use it amongst your team!


Assess your Initial Crisis Response

The most crucial step is evaluating where your company stands in its current state. You want to establish what the immediate problems are and address them according to priority. Starting with an overview of the pressing issues will help you understand where you need to be putting your effort first before moving onto other aspects of your business that don't require prompt attention.

Reach Out to Your Customers

Now is the time to show your customers how much you appreciate their business. Explain to them how you'll support them during this time or what types of delays you are experiencing. Keep in mind, your customers may even have their own customers they serve with your product or service, so maintaining your reputation with effective communication keeps everyone aligned.


Keep Your Employees in the Loop

Many of your employees may be at the frontline of sales and customer service for your startup or small business. By properly training your staff on how to speak to customers about operation changes and product offerings, it is crucial to maintain consistent messaging and to understand the issues or changes underway.

The health and safety of your employees is the utmost important factor and giving them the option to work from home or the proper cleaning supplies and training if your business is deemed essential, and they are dealing directly with the public.

Contact Your Suppliers

Address any disruptions to your flow of inventory by contacting your suppliers and figuring out what types of delays they may be experiencing. You want to know all the details to understand what information you'll pass onto your customer to manage their expectations.

Manage your Finances

Preserving cash is going to serve you well during an economic downturn. Start as early as you can and try to plan for the next 12 months for how you'll allocate money. Many health specialists believe we are 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine, so planning and evolving your core business model is imperative. To plan, consider rolling out a weekly cash flow spreadsheet that will list all inflows and outflows of cash.

Look into how the government is supporting small businesses across Canada to make sure you get the help you need.

Align Your Startup with Investors


While some angel investors and venture capitalists are looking for new investment opportunities that arise during this uncertainty, others are reserving funds for their current invested ventures. Keep in mind that when you are planning your rounds of funding, to factor in a potential pullback in investor spending. The best approach approach is to maintain secure communication with your investors and notify them of your current status and challenges you are working through. If they understand the troubles you're experiencing, they may be able to advise you or provide you with funding/resources.


Search for Opportunity

Look for opportunities where you can offer customers newfound value in your brand. Analyze your product or service and try to think of any way your product can be positioned or modified to help people during this difficult time.

Online traffic levels have increased significantly due to the virus, so utilizing an online store and promoting it on social media is a great way to take advantage of the increase.

If you are interested in building your first online store, check out our Shopify For Beginners: 6 Tips & Resources blog to get started.

Utilize All Your Resources

Many businesses are offering free resources and digital tools to help businesses of all shapes and sizes obtain helpful insights to plan and strategize for the future. Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, and PWC offer incredible articles featuring business experts and digital tools that can help you navigate these uncharted waters more effectively.

Also, find out all the skills of people on your team to see how you else they can support your startup. Leveraging your team’s skills can help them feel accomplished and uncover innovative solutions to your business problems.

Create an Alliance

Connect with all the people in your network to find ways you can help each other and understand how they are adapting to the new world we live in. It could also be beneficial to source from your competitors to continue supplying your customers if you are running low on inventory to maintain trust and reliance your customers have with you.

Cut Unnecessary Costs

Downscaling on your operational costs is a must if you don't have enough conserved cash or cash flow. It would be best if you were very realistic about how you proceed with downsizing your company. The first thing you need to identify is the core of your company by finding out what your most profitable product or service is, what work is crucial, and ensuring you serve your best customers adequately. Any recurring costs that can be minimized or cut, should be thoroughly analyzed to ensure the implications of your decisions don't cause more harm than good for your business.

Key Takeaway

Seek opportunity in adversity. Preparing your company for the upcoming months, as early as you can, will help it come out of Covid-19 in better condition. Look at all the ways your company can offer a hand and further support your consumer-base with excellent value. We are all in this together.

What type of setbacks, brought on by Covid-19, has your company faced and are there some that surprised you? Let us know in the DMs of our Instagram or Twitter channel.

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