Covid-19 has created a crisis none of us could have foreseen, and at a scale that no one was prepared for. These are uncertain times for everyone.
In some ways, small businesses and startups have been hit the hardest.
Yet, I do believe that these unique challenges have also proved to be our strengths, as startups are responding in dynamic and agile ways.
As a startup with just five years behind us, we too were caught off-guard when the Covid-19 situation arose. Our AI-engine coaches sales and customer service teams — most of whom haven’t been to work through the lockdown.
We had business deals in the pipeline and our engineering team was in the process of developing some important new features for our AI engine — all of which abruptly came to a halt.
We quickly realized that the magnitude of what was unfolding was severe and a resolution was a while away. As the leadership team, we decided that the best way forward for us would be to tackle this thing head on.
Here are 4 key areas that we focused on to enable us to move forward:
1. Our people
At the outset, our people always come first and we wanted to minimize the impact of this crisis on them. This has meant ensuring that they are taken care of throughout this time — handling their concerns and worries as best as we can.
Now more than ever before, we’re communicating clearly and openly as a leadership team. As teams moved into a remote working mode, we’ve made staying in touch a priority and kept all our employees apprised of where we stand as a company, and what measures we are taking to tackle this crisis.
Through weekly calls, we’re ensuring that our teams are rallying around a common purpose and staying connected to our vision.
2. Our customers
We recognized that our customers, large enterprises, were facing this crisis on a much larger scale than us and needed all the help they could get.
We decided to go above and beyond our product and extend every help to our them. This included using our AI engine to help them stay in touch with their teams for more than just sales and productivity.
As an example, we launched health advisory banners with WHO guidelines. We’ve also created quizzes to help sales teams in lockdown stay engaged even if they can’t be on the field.
3. Multiple scenarios
We’ve planned our moves looking at three possible scenarios — each one more severe than the last.
We’ve looked at how to ensure the company remains financially secure — cutting down on costs and compensation wherever possible as well as finding a funding bridge to get past this crisis.
Currently, a plan is underway with our investors and as a company I believe we’re reasonably secure.
4. New opportunities
Even though business development hasn’t been possible, we’ve looked at creating opportunity within our existing network of customers and prospects by finding innovative ways to be of help to them.
Much of these opportunities were realized as we launched new modules and initiatives to help our customers tide over these times.
We’re also using this lockdown ‘pause’ to focus on product development and internal processes. In fact, our teams have put together several initiatives that are going to bear much fruit in the long term.
We’re also examining the opportunities we have, to reposition ourselves. We’re driving innovation in our teams by providing them with a safe space to explore creative new ideas — however crazy they may seem! And we’re already seeing some brilliant new ideas emerge.
As an entity, we’re making a deliberate attempt to view this whole scenario as an opportunity for us to make changes, to become more agile and innovative, and to create a greater sense of teamwork in our organization.
I sincerely hope this crisis will push us all to grow and come out more robust on the other side.
This article was written by Ramesh Srinivas, co-founder and CEO of Worxogo, an enterprise sales productivity technology company, that uses AI-driven behavior design and neuroeconomics.