As states begin to start easing restrictions on stay at home orders, people are continuing to wonder what the new “normal” is going to look like, especially for businesses. While it is clear that every business, regardless of industry, will need to figure out what adjustments they will make going forward, there is good evidence that entrepreneurs and startup companies might be the best equipped to succeed in the post COVID-19 world.
Knowing How to Pivot
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, most, if not all, businesses are going to have to make some type of pivot. It should not be a surprise that most entrepreneurs and startups are normally the best at adapting to changing environments and opportunities since many of them face these challenges in the initial years of starting their business. In fact, many businesses have already started doing this and have had great success at it. In just the St. Louis region, we have seen startup manufacturers and developers shifting part of their production lines to help mitigate the spread of the virus. They were able to modify their business model and start these new lines in a matter of weeks. They are proving as changes continue to evolve, there is good opportunity that many of these companies will be able to adapt and pivot to these changes.
Leading the Way in Virtual
As people are still hesitant to leave their houses, businesses need to think about having more options in order to run a virtual business. Not only for the safety of their customers, but also for the safety of their employees. While this may not be the easiest change for many businesses, if they can make this change, they will see great success in their businesses model. Within the startup and entrepreneur enterprise, these virtual businesses were already starting to be created, but with the pandemic, we have seen them expand significantly. Even the organizations that support entrepreneurs have quickly moved to create new ways in order to connect virtually. We have already seen these changes being made by organizations like Venture Café, which has changed their weekly networking meetings into virtual networking meetings. While this may be a different way to connect people, Venture Café has made this pivot in order to meet their goals of the organization and they have made this change successfully.
During the pandemic, there has been a significant decrease in investments into startup businesses as people are understandably becoming more conservative with their money. Not only that, but for those investors who are still willing to invest in new companies cannot decide on what companies to invest in since the majority of businesses pitched their company to investors in person before they received fundraising. While this is a downside for many entrepreneurs, fortunately, many of the programs are finding new ways to connect with their entrepreneurs. For example, Capital Innovators still had their annual Demo Day, but this year they converted the Demo Day to an all-day virtual day where all the companies have pre-recorded their pitches which can be viewed by investors at their convenience. Invest Midwest is another example of an organization going virtual. Both of these prove that the entrepreneur support group has already been working on ways to improve processes and with more time, these programs will become even more robust.
Entrepreneurs and startup businesses have proved that we are all in this together and together we will all get through these unprecedented times. They are already proving that the companies who learn to adapt and can pivot will be the most successful companies emerging from this pandemic.All Insights