Start Ups-Long-Term Planning for Success

Speaking to The Balance via phone, Ken Alozie, SCORE mentor and managing partner at commercial financing firm Greenwood Capital Advisors, said that COVID-19 has created a more volatile business environment, and to survive long-term, it’s important to be on top of the changes and ensure that crisis mode doesn’t lead to bad long-term decisions.

“Business owners are scrambling to keep up [with government programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program],” Alozie noted. “One thing that may be overlooked sometimes are the HR and legal ramifications of these decisions. So, I think companies would be wise to be sure they are in compliance with employment and labor laws, and that they have good advice in those areas.”

With the ongoing uncertainty around a second wave of the pandemic, Alozie also believes it’s wise to consider how you may go virtual with your business.

“The companies I’ve seen growing through COVID have a virtual element,” he said. “Or, they have been able to transition to virtual or remote during this time.”

In a separate phone interview with The Balance, Jennifer Neundorfer, managing partner at venture capital investors January Ventures, said that rethinking the go-to-market strategy is also important for businesses so that they can generate market traction quickly and demonstrate value for investors.

“That might mean thinking about a go-to-market strategy that is not a long enterprise sales cycle,” she suggested. The pandemic has made it very clear which companies are able to grow quickly and which are flat or shrinking—and traction is necessary to get investors interested at this time. “Still, companies with strong leadership and demonstrable traction are demanding a premium,” Neundorfer pointed out.

Alozie also signified the importance of planning for different scenarios during COVID-19, including projections for different states of being open and closed during any future shutdowns.

If you’re looking to raise capital, investors will want to know how you performed during COVID, and what your projections are under these different assumptions,” he said. “Businesses need to be prepared to discuss and demonstrate this if they are looking for funding.”