Startup CEO roles during COVID-19 times

March 25, 2020

The world will not be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic. And we sense in different ways how that’s affecting our economics, the way we can relate to each other, and how we conceive business in the short and long term from now on. 

From Wall Street, which has been turned upside down, to entire countries in quarantine, how do we go back to our companies in a way that’s most impactful in favorable terms for everyone? Let’s stop and focus on the most important startup CEO roles and responsibilities during a crisis like this, shall we? 

With a bit of a top-down approach to our business health, it must be a worthwhile exercise to check what we as runners of a business can be doing even better right now. 

Start by being supportive

In times of crisis, it’s OK to be worried, as our own CEO said, but we all want to be guided by a thoughtful leader. While CEOs can be thought of as much more than just that, start by being there for your teams. One of the peculiarities of this crisis is how many businesses are having to shut down or close doors to face plunging transactions. And we get it; financials mandate strict measures in uncertain times when the stock is going down without much light at the end of the tunnel, for instance. However, if you can keep yourself afloat through this pandemic, one of the most important things a CEO should be on top of during a crisis like this is being there for the company’s collaborating parties. 

Keeping track of those who were forced or decided to kick staff out and close doors is not a hard thing to do. It stays on the life experiences of those who must now wonder how to support their families, and it also makes an impression on consumers who can tell what business orientation is driving said companies during trialing times. Whether it was forceful to cut payroll down by a significant percentage, close doors altogether or you’re still able to make it through this crisis in a way that keeps everyone together on the same working line, CEOs need to start by making time for supportive and affirmative actions with those on whom the company stands. 

Especially if you can keep this business running, make it a point to be empathetic, stay united, foster your company culture, and create a relaxing working environment where your staff is most healthy. 

There are tons of ways in which you can turn staff concern into a positive working atmosphere. Be creative! Listen to what’s in your team’s minds, keep communications open, and center everything you know down to a rewarding time when they can feel proud to work with you. 

While we can’t be in your exact shoes, we can certainly imagine what it feels like to depend on a CEO’s attitude to get through challenging times. Everyone will be thankful for your supportive efforts, whether they can show it, acknowledge it, or recognize them. We can assure you that. 

Focus on long-term solutions

Yes, your company’s valuation must be dropping drastically. And you must have tons of very valid economic concerns about your business. As you try to investigate the immediate effects of coronavirus on startups, another one of the most important things a CEO should be on top of during a crisis like this is long-term growth and planning. 

Many companies will thrive despite the toll this crisis is imposing on everyone. And, to make sure yours is one more of those successful enterprises, make sure you’re focusing on your business’ long-term needs, as well. Predictions right now are as flawed as any. Those must fail from a mathematical point of view. However, stay updated on the most significant events and its deriving indicators. 

Now that we’re on it, this will also come in very handy as you near investors. How you can manage to ensure growth, in the long run, is not only an internal need but one in your relation to new potential business partners. 

Now’s a great time to innovate

Whether innovation in your startup means everyone going remote and online or whether thinking outside the box right now means thinking of a new potential product, a third one of the most important things a CEO should be on top of during a crisis like this is allowing themselves lots of room for innovation. 

The private sector allows for quicker movement and innovating in real-time. That fact alone can be of great advantage for your business. 

Allow yourself the option of disrupting with unconventionality if it fits at these times. We certainly don’t vouch for a reinvention of the wheel. Opposite to that, be skeptical about new measures you can conceive that haven’t yet made the public sphere for a reason. But be flexible and allow innovative approaches for new solutions to be a part of what this virus is also fostering. 

CEOs wouldn’t be alone in this case. The industry knows all the jargon for it. From disruption in technology to new design thinking, it’s a great time for leadership to excel as visionary. 

Consider your audience

More than ever, startup CEO roles need to stay attuned with their business’ target customers, potential audience, and market. Doing so should ease to speculate what their links to the most endangered population can be in real-time. Though customers reflect needs on their own, valuing how the vulnerability of the most health-impacted folks can affect your potential customers is a way to serve them better. People immediately want to keep their families safe. 

From shutting supermarket doors for some time to let older populations do their much-needed shopping, for instance, to turning your facilities around to suit more imminent medical needs, there’s now a peculiar need for innovation, empathy and market consideration to come into one for the better good. 

Though considering social change, taking measures as inspired above does not need to mean a lack of business profitability. On the contrary, it’s in CEOs’ hands to combine world and social needs with their company offer in the most effective ways. 

Know you’re not alone

Collaboration is another of the most important startup CEO roles, as they should be on top of during a crisis like this. It might sound here that CEOs are semi-gods. And in a business way, they tend to be. However, know the burden is not only and entirely on your shoulders. 

Inversely, now’s a time where almost the entire globe is facing the same daring circumstance. Use networking more than ever to come up with thoughts together. From professionals on Zoom brain-storming new options to literal CEO mental health groups to cope with the crisis, one thing is for sure; CEOs are not alone. 

Slidebean recently launched Startup Café on Discord: A 24/7 channel where you can interact with other founders, as well as Caya, who comes in occasionally when he’s having a cup of coffee.

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