Story by Gary Stevens
The emergence of COVID-19 has impacted the whole world in a number of different ways, from changes in behavior to new innovations to businesses having to be very creative to weather the storm. Startups need to think about a new world post-COVID and how to adapt to meet these changes and come out stronger on the other side.
It is not all bad news though. For instance a lot of Nordic startups have seen their businesses grow substantially in the United States during the pandemic. But we’re still not out of this yet, and there’s a lot of work to do to secure a future for Arctic entrepreneurs and startups.
After hearing from lots of different Nordic startups, entrepreneurs and founders, we’ve compiled a list of advice on how to survive the COVID-19 storm as a startup.
We are all going through this crisis together, and working collaboratively is definitely a way we can get through it more successfully.
Networking and being active in the startup community has always been a part of the identity, from incubation centers, to meet ups, to digital groups, there’s so many ways to support each other, and building a support system to discuss ideas is a great idea in the current climate.
Below are several different areas covered after speaking to Nordic startups and experts, bringing together ideas and solutions is vital to small businesses success post COVID-19.
Invest in a better website
Use this time to improve your systems and improve your customer experience with your brand, there’s no excuse for putting off projects, especially now. In fact, a major shift is that 60% of people in Europe believe they will continue to shop as they did in the pandemic, so this means a lot more online shopping, web traffic, and eCommerce.
With tighter budgets and margins due to COVID, startups need to invest more in web development, providing a seamless user experience, reducing bounce rates, and increasing conversions, a one-second delay can reduce conversion rates.
Despite a lot of other areas being negatively impacted, finding talented web development professionals shouldn’t be an issue as it’s currently the number one in-demand job in the tech field. You’re not in this alone, so speak to your peers and find out what adjustments they are making.
Embrace remote work
The Nordics have been at the forefront of digital and technological innovation for years now, and embracing new norms and making positive changes are part of the reason the happiness index is so high within the Arctic region.
Another area to look at to survive COVID-19 is remote. There is a common understanding that remote working is not a trend anymore, but a viable solution for startups and companies of all sizes, gone are the days you need to have a physical office.
It is no secret that the public sector in the Nordics is very traditional, but startups are pushing innovation and adapting to the times like never before.
Remote working may have been sped up by 2020’s unique situation, but it has definitely an evolution in how we work as well. COVID was merely the catalyst, and finding out how other startups have embraced remote working will help you make steps to improve your business too.
Tighten the bolt
Finding ways to reduce your costs, make business improvements, and plan for the future is incredibly important for small businesses. Keeping track of your spending is vital to success in a post-COVID world, so ensuring you have a firm understanding of your accounting is key.
The best way to accomplish this is to use a cloud-based all-in-one accounting solution that makes it easy to track data through automating matching suggestions and importing and categorizing financial transactions. Remember that there is a demand for better solutions to problems that have either arisen or will arise due to this virus, so making necessary changes will help your startup improve and adapt to new norms.
Hire the right people
Needless to say, the job market has changed a lot since Corona hit, and Nordic small businesses who maybe only had a few applicants prior, are now flooded with applications.
You want to make sure you are investing in the right people who aren’t just looking for something to get money in, but who will also positively impact your startup so you can see them as a long term investment. Collaborating and networking with your peers can offer a viable solution too. Maybe a candidate isn’t right for you, but will fit with them, or vice-versa.
Plan for the future
COVID-19 will definitely impact all levels of business in the coming months and even years, In a recent study with Nordic startups, 55% of respondents already adopted business changes, with a further 19% expecting them shortly.
Digital transformation doesn’t just end at remote working, traditionally in the times of biggest adversity, designers, innovators and startups have come up with incredible solutions to improve the world and businesses, so planning for the future should be at the top of your agenda.
Nordic countries have had to utilize technology for decades to remain competitive in a global market due to the high cost of human resources and people, so startups understand how to get the most out of every member of staff and optimize business systems.
Improve your cybersecurity
In terms of cybersecurity, 2019 and 2020 have been two of the worst years for small businesses, with a huge increase in online threats, which have only been made worse by the coronavirus. So how can startups defend against digital attacks?
Fortunately, here are a number of inexpensive and yet effective ways to protect your startup from cyber crime, from training your staff to be more mindful, to limiting access to confidential information, to encrypting your company and customer data with a virtual private network, or VPN, so it can be shielded from hackers.
While you may think that encrypting your data with VPNs is too high of an expense, the truth is that there are many quality VPNs that cost less than five dollars a month and that come with proven AES-256 bit encryption. That’s a small price to pay to greatly improve your startup’s security and lower the risk of a hacking incident.
As alluded to before, the COVID-19 situation presents opportunities for Nordic startups to showcase your technology, products and expertise to further aid in the fight against the virus, improve the world after it, or help other businesses.
Hopefully, this advice taken from networking with fellow startups here in the Nordics will help you survive the COVID-19 storm. Having a support network is important now, more than ever, so reach out to each other and let’s get through this.
So, whether you’re looking to move into the US (or global) market with fin-tech, B2B products, or SaaS, with physical meetings at an all time low, now is the time to capitalize and rebuild.