by Tuhin Bhatt, co-founder of Intelivita
Remember the economic crisis of 2008? It was undoubtedly a challenging phase for the world. Gladly, we recovered, and the same phase gave us great startups like WhatsApp, Uber, Airbnb, etc.
Some of us might stay in denial, but the fact is, times of crisis open new channels in context to market and user expectations. People tend to get more open to friends and newer ways. This eventually serves as the much-needed fuel for startups that want to make their footprints globally.
After 12 years, the entire globe is back into the clutches of a pandemic, which caused a worldwide crisis. COVID-19 is about to complete a year, and we are still struggling to stabilize and sustain in the market. And not just the MSMEs or startups, even the big brands are struggling to keep their way through the massive storm.
The 2020 Crisis: A boon or curse for the startups.
Acknowledging that the crisis didn’t leave even a single industry unimpacted. However, things are settling with every passing day, and startups are thriving to make their way ahead. But if we give a closer look at the 2008 crisis. The era that gave us some great startups. There was a common trend that all of them followed, and that was meeting the needs. They somewhere didn’t lose focus on certain key aspects.
Wondering how you can grow and expand your startup post-COVID 19 crisis? Here are a few ways:
1. Innovation led by usage.
Innovation does have the potential to gain attention. However, an innovation that can meet and assist the masses in day-to-day needs is precisely what people are looking for today. Last few months, people have shifted sides from luxury to meeting their needs. Having said this, the primary focus of your startup should be on introducing an innovation that’s led by usage.
Let’s say, for example, the emerging number of mask and sanitizer manufacturers during and after the lockdown. Another example in this genre can be online shopping and home-delivery businesses. According to a report shared by IBM’s US Retail Index, departmental store sales noticed a drop of 25% in the first quarter of 2020 and 75% in the second quarter. It is expected that by the end of the year, the brick and mortar stores will face a fall of 60%, while the eCommerce industry will notice a hike of 20%. People in the last few months have accepted mainly these services, and it is believed that they will more readily accept the same in the coming days.
2. Being user-centric.
Being user-centric doesn’t just imply understanding, valuing, and keeping user satisfaction on priority, there’s much more that calls for special attention. While this is somewhat related to our previous point in a broader sense, a closer sneak will reveal some necessary considerations. Having said this, some key points that you need to keep in mind include user expectations, serving the minimal need, and user benefits over the long run.
Most businesses do crack sales at the initial stage; however, they tend to generate and feed the need over the long. This eventually makes the user lose interest. Hence, being user-centric with your product/service should be on your priority list.
Neal Taparia, serial entrepreneur and founder of various gaming sites explains how being user-centric can be a competitive advantage: “If your competitors are not putting the user first, you can differentiate yourself by prioritizing user needs through pricing or product experience. For example, to differentiate our solitaire games, we’ve made traditional premium features entirely free. It helps us stand out, and can be an x-factor especially during tough economic times.”
However, while planning or strategizing this, it is important to note that the user expectations have changed drastically in the last few months. Considering that they recently started to rely largely on web-connection, the way they research for product/service, the way they approach, and the factors influencing their decision have also shifted. Learning these and implementing the strategy or planning launch accordingly at the very initial stage will be one of the key factors determining your business’s future growth.
3. Test ideas with MVP.
Now that we are talking about being user-centric, MVP can be of great help. It means, Minimum Viable Product. It is always recommended that you test your idea with MVP at the initial stage of your product. Though you can try to do this by yourself, having startup MVP development services can be a more practical option. The reason being, you can have a team of experts that will do the necessary analysis and prediction for you. It has been noticed that startups that first tested their idea using a smartly defined MVP process have succeeded over the long run.
It won’t just help you establish an early relationship with your customers, it will also give you a clearer picture of your vision and core functionalities. While opting for the services help you make an early release with minimal risks, it eventually lets you engage your audience with a flexible approach and constant updates in the future. And when we say flexibility, we imply the fact that you can transform and implement your business idea depending on user feedback and their response.
Additionally, MVPs allow you to spend time efficiently. Darshan Somashekar from Unscrambled Words explains, “It’s important to assess quickly if an idea is worth pursuing. You can spend all this time on an idea only to find out that it doesn’t work. MVPs allow you to gauge if something will be successful early on, and if it’s not, you can move on to your next idea or hypothesis.”
Not just for a startup, the rule applies equally to any business form. Don’t miss sharing any detail that might be directly or indirectly crucial for a user to know. Transparency will help you build your target audience’s loyalty and subsequently help you turn your idea into a successful business. Having said this, your marketing strategy and approach should be defined, keeping utmost transparency with your target users.
While it has been of key importance for ages, in the past few months the vitality grew to a larger extent. The reason being, people have become more conscious about what they are adopting in life and its long-term impact on their life.
5. Spend less, invest more.
One thing that the pandemic times have taught us all is the value of money. Though the lesson is fresh for many people, the rule plays a crucial role in a business’s success. No matter how good your financial backup is, it is recommended to use your finances wisely. Focus on investing rather than spending your money unevenly. MVP can be a vital ingredient in doing so.
Another key element can be onboarding a virtual team rather than a hefty office space and spending a fortune on the infrastructure. Preceding months have proved wide acceptance of work-from-home culture and even the big brands got comfortable with it.
Last but not the least, consider investing your amount in building your product/service flawlessly. Mouth-to-mouth marketing can undoubtedly be an impeccable way to promote your business over any other traditional online or offline modus operandi.
It can’t be denied that COVID 19 has given rise to a worldwide disruption for almost all the industries. However, it won’t be wise to forget your business idea. Instead, launching it in a planned manner can turn out to be one of the best decisions you’d have ever made.
These were some of the most critical points that can help you bring your startup ideas to life in the post-COVID 19 world. However, a more in-depth study of the industry, competitors, target audience, and geographical location can help define a better strategy.
Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of Intelivita, a leading web and mobile app development company with offices in the UK and India. His expertise in Mobile Game, iOS, Android, AR and VR app technologies. With flawless command over app development, Tuhin also has a passion to share his expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.