In our first virtual episode at CoEfficient Labs for our Demo Day show, Howard Ko, a principal at Morpheus Ventures, came on to talk about how startup founders can cope during the global COVID-19 crisis.Howard offered a variety of insights, my top three takeaways are below.
Rethink How You Utilize Resources
Startup founders have to constantly think about how to utilize the resources at their disposal. In the current situation of COVID-19, this decision making is amplified, with every decision being critical to the survival of the company.
While founders, after raising a round of venture capital, may think they’re able to do a lot more than before, Howard argues the opposite is true. In reality, after raising funding, you still have a limited amount of time to show growth in your company and get to the next level of funding. So, what’s a founder to do?
Focus on what really matters.
Howard says that founders should think about what actually moves the company forward and focus only on those tasks.
Guide Your Team
In times of crisis, employees of a startup will be looking to the CEO for guidance. During these times, Howard suggests CEOs figure out what’s important to the business right now, and think through how to execute on these objectives as efficiently as possible.
From a leadership perspective, Howard mentions how CEOs really need to marshal the leadership skill set. In the interview, he goes on to say how conversations between CEOs and venture capitalists will vary depending on the situation these founders are in. Regardless of the situation, leadership is of utmost importance.
Own the Knowledge You Have
As a venture capitalist, Howard hears a lot of pitches, and oftentimes the founders in these pitches will gloss over things or say something that simply isn’t true in order to impress him. Howard’s advice for founders in these situations is simple: “If you don’t know, say you don’t know.”
You may not know everything as a founder, but if you’ve gotten in front of a VC, you’ve done something right — embrace that! Howard suggests owning the knowledge you have and being able to present it. To me, this means one thing — Play to your strengths! Of course, you should know your business inside and out, but you’re not going to know everything. Be honest about this, because when you aren’t this will be more of a liability than an asset for you moving forward.
The current circumstances in the world makes things tough for everyone, startup founders especially, and the way you operate in this environment requires even more strategic thinking combined with strong leadership.
It’s not going to be easy to make it through a crisis, but giving yourself the absolute best chance is everything. Go get it!