COVID-19: How Innovative Startups Will Leverage This Fast-Changing Environment

Now is the perfect time to pivot 
As COVID-19 leaves no choice for many people but to stay home and self isolate, many companies, small and large, are left with having to act suddenly with a business model change. Many businesses will move their offerings online, some companies will instantly thrive, while others are left to search for a new path to success, and fast.
Startup companies are always faced with a certain level of uncertainty, and this is another bump in the road. Not to say we take this situation lightly (you can find all of our resources on COVID-19 for startups HERE), but if your company can get through this turn of events, it will be ahead of the digital disruption game for decades to come.

COVID-19 will enable new categories of business.
Although COVID-19 is a new issue, pandemics are not, and there is at least one thing that all pandemics have in common: they spark a new wave of innovation. These events disrupt normal lifestyles and force us to change how we think and act, causing a need for new solutions.
We are in a new age of innovation compared to previous pandemics, and that means most solutions needed at this time of isolation, if not all, are digital-based.
People are flocking to their devices, so certain businesses thrive without needing to make significant adjustments, such as mobile apps, online subscriptions, streaming services and the online gaming industry.
Other businesses are able to pivot their service to stay relevant. Educational classes and workplaces have turned to video conferencing, so platforms like Google Classroom and Zoom are able to increase their user-base. Location-dependent businesses, such as tourism and events, are starting to turn towards virtual and augmented reality. Restaurants rely on their partnerships with Skip the Dishes and UberEats, and grocery stores have implemented mobile pick-up options. Now is the perfect time for meal subscription boxes like HelloFresh to step up.
This situation also provides an opportunity for completely new innovation, as never-before seen problems start to arise in communities.

So how do you get ahead of the game?
The changes you need to make at this time are changes that you inevitably would have had to make in your business anyways. If you haven’t yet utilized the digital marketing side of your business, now is a sign to do so. In the next decade, we will see businesses of all sectors shift online in one form or another. This situation is just accelerating the process.
If you are providing a service that can be done online, there are many existing platforms that can make the transition easier for you to reach your customers. Tools like Facebook Ads will likely be taken advantage of while more users are spending their time online. Businesses that are selling a product will need to have an impeccable online presence and online store. If there is a way to angle your product to be beneficial during this pandemic, even better. And if you have an idea for a solution, now is the time to make it happen.
Marketing messages have also changed significantly. Companies will need to find new and innovative ways to connect with their customers while not breaking the bank. It is important to be mindful of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and remind your customers that you are here to help. For example, email marketing can be an effective and low cost way of reaching your customers. Brands that are aware and understanding of the situation will be the ones who will likely bounce back quickly in the aftermath. Be lean and market efficiently. Now more than ever, share of wallet is being tested. Potential customers are are being more careful with their spending since for many people the future is uncertain.
As this situation has only just begun, businesses first need to ensure the health and safety of its workers and partnerships. In the long-term, the way businesses operate and compete will change for years to come. Correct your strategy now, and stay successful in the long run.

If you are looking for support, please visit our COVID-19 resources page and apply to become a client of our incubator including one-on-one coaching with our Innovation Specialists.