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Startup’s Immunity Guide Against Pandemic

Dawar Fuad 09/8/2020

“Use your mask and keep social distance” is the phrase that could be chosen as the slogan of this century. Almost every corner of this world is filled with this phrase.

if wearing a mask and keeping social distance saves our lives, it is with no doubt that adapting new innovative technology and building remote work culture will save your startup during any pandemic

The purpose of this phrase is to keep all of us away from the global pandemic, COVID19, and save our lives. It is with no doubt that the consequences of COVID19 has passed the circle of only our lives. Almost every aspects of our social and professional life have been negatively impacted. Now, it is the time to ask if wearing a mask and keeping social distance saves our lives, how we can save our startups and businesses from this pandemic?

Before we go deep down into the subject, let me share with you a personal story that I have been through. At the beginning of 2020, we found our first startup, which is now a company, named Plus the Edge, PE. PE was a bootstrapped business found by a partner of mine and me without any investment from anyone. PE is a consultancy and technology firm focusing on empowering business with the power of technology. The market that we entered was intensely competitive, and the imaginary picture of PE compared to the competitors was similar to a cute little child standing next to a grownup experienced adult. Very inequal competition! Isn’t it? Upon this intense competition in the market, the overall economy in the region was and is highly volatile. Government is not able to pay public employees’ salaries for more than three months. The overall market status was suffering, and all the economic signs were and still point to declining in the economy of the region. Right in the middle of this volatile market and intense inequal competition, a monster joined the theater, COVID19!

COVID19 radically changed everything! Literally everything! As a startup, we were not able to meet people to talk about our services. We lost a considerable number of potential customers because of the bad economic status, COVID19 made the economy even worse, and suddenly there were no potential customer! We were planning to exhibit our services in few huge expos, and of course, due to COVID19, they were all locked down, and that dream died forever!

Despite all these issues that we had, one of them seamed to be the real obstacle. Lockdowns imposed, and companies emptied their offices. “If we leave our office, how are we going manage to keep working?” In a startups point of view, communication is the most essential skill to survive. Internally, the teams should always communicate to create the chemistry that is required to achieve efficiency. On the other hand, communicating with potential customers and leads is the only guaranteed way to stay in the market. If communication fails, your startup fails. Period.

That time, my partner and I were in front of only two paths. The first one was to give up and stop this because we were seriously overwhelmed by all the obstacles that were surrounding us. Or, on the other hand, to follow a global trend, which was to adapt remote work and continue working and improving our business. We chose the second route and decided to continue the journey despite it being very tough.

The main reason behind the decision of adapting remote work were two main points. Firstly, COVID19, similar to the other pandemic, might have next waves, which is historically proven that pandemic may have next waves, meaning that there will not be a near finish, and even it unpredictably might get even worse. Secondly, the tech giants were preparing for the next wave of COVID19. It was an obvious pattern that if the tech giants are planning to adapt remote work and prepare themselves, that was a good sign that COVID19 will stay for a while.

As we decided to adapt remote work, at the beginning, we were very confused about how to collaborate on tasks, how to manage tasks and deadlines, how to meet regularly to discuss the plans, etc. These problems seemed very undefeatable; however, with the reflection on our own mission, which was “to empower businesses with technology”, it was very obvious that we need to empower ourselves first. We started to study the communication and collaboration tools that existed. We were amazed by the fact that there are tens of tools prepare to facilitate remote work. Furthermore, what is need to be taken into consideration is that only adapting the right technology will not help, but you need to promote the culture that believes that this model of work can be as efficient as working in the office, which most people see as a dream.

After three months of adapt remote work, we have completely adapted the culture, and we are operating as we were in our office. Building the culture affected as so much that we are not planning to return to office work unless we must to, which we do not find any reason for it now. During the process of building the remote work culture, we tried to be as communicative as possible, which lead to the fact that we were very honest with our mission that we believed in. Indeed, technology can contribute to empower your business in all the circumstances.

As we were going through the crisis, another pattern explicitly shined. With crisis, there is always a room for innovation and creativity. Creativity is one of the most powerful skill of humans, and it actually is one of the characteristics that differentiates humans with other species. During the pandemic, it was an obvious and rational point that accompanied with adapting the remote work, making an innovation would greatly help the survival process in order to adapt the circumstance more. In our case, we came up with making an innovation in the marketing field by introducing a new marketing tunnel to the market, which we name it CasperText. CasperText was and is a powerful tool to send marketing campaigns through SMS. Brands and companies could send their marketing campaigns with SMS without the actual need for having internet access from the customers. Not just that, we started to acquire our own datacenter to provide a better hosing services to everyone with a cheaper price.

Finally, what is left to say is that if wearing a mask and keeping social distance saves our lives, it is with no doubt that adapting new innovative technology and building remote work culture will save your startup during any pandemic.