The Best Advice for Startup Founders During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 12, 2020
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The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting communities—canceling events, shuttering offices, and suspending classes—around the globe. Of course, the focus is (and should be!) on preventing the spread of the disease, but the economic effects of the outbreak are impossible to ignore as companies large and small adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of the crisis.

In the last few weeks, the OECD cut global economic growth projections in half, the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) fell to its lowest level since 2009, and U.S. stocks had their worst day since the 1987 stock market crash. Needless to say, supply chain disruptions, facility closures, and staffing deficits can put extra strain on startups.

Here are three things that startup founders can do now to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Set up business tracking and forecasting.

Fluctuations are inevitable in the midst of a crisis. “Put in place rapid-reporting cycles so that you can understand how your business is being affected, where mitigation is required, and how quickly operations are recovering,” notes Harvard Business Review. “A crisis doesn’t imply immunity from performance management, and sooner or later markets will judge which companies managed the challenge most effectively.”

Plan for remote work.

With the CDC recommending social distancing and zero-tolerance sick policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, planning for remote work is essential. “Be clear on your policies—where they apply, how they will work, and when they will be reviewed,” advises Harvard Business Review for the best results.

Microsoft, Google, and Cisco Webex are among a number of tech companies providing free remote working tools during the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, Slack’s Guide to Working Remotely, Gitlab’s Guide to Remote Work, and Google are all great resources for setting up a successful remote work strategy.

Be a part of the broader solution.

“As a corporate citizen, you should support others in your supply chain, industry, community, and local government,” notes Harvard Business Review. “Consider how your business can contribute, be it in health care, communications, food, or some other domain. Focus on the intersection between acute social needs and your specific capabilities—in other words, live your purpose.”

Head over to Harvard Business Review for more advice on how to lead your business through the coronavirus crisis.


For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 outbreak, we recommend referring to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.

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