A Startup Guide to Dealing With the Coronacrisis

A Startup Guide to Dealing With the Corona crisis

Many Western motivational speakers, including J.F. Kennedy, have noted that the Chinese word for “crisis” consists of two characters: representing “danger” as well as “opportunity”. Although some linguistics argue that it is not all that simple, there surely are many opportunities to be found in any crisis. The art is to uncover them and to respond to them in a timely manner. At Amstel Lab, we are dedicated to helping startups and scaleups thrive. We believe that the Amsterdam startup ecosystem has the power to sustain itself, if we all contribute one’s mite. Therefore, we created a guide that will help you find structure in these unstructured times, so that hopefully you will be able to turn the threat into an opportunity.

1. First Things First: Market Research
Knowledge is power, right? In other words, make sure you follow the news specific to your industry very closely. By using that information, analyze how all happenings in the external environment, including the corona crisis, match your business’ internal strengths and weaknesses. This will give you an insight in where exactly your company specific opportunities lie.

2. Where Is The Value?
Critically analyze how you create value for your customers. What is the feeling you normally would want to evoke when customers interact with your brand? And are there other ways you can still bring about the same effect? It might be helpful to use some tools here, such as the business model canvas. Tools like these are great in creating a clear and concise overview of how your business model translates into customer value. 

3. Keep Talking To Your Customers
Crisis or no crisis, customers still come first. As such, it is important to keep the conversation going. That means that online presence is more important than ever, just as customer service and any form of interaction that you will have with your customer base. After all, if you talk to your customers, you are likely to uncover their needs. Chances are those needs are slightly different than before. So, if you know how your customer needs differ, this will be the foundation for your altered product or service.

4. Think Long Term
If you decide to come up with a completely new business model, think of how this will impact your startup on the long term. For instance, chances are you are doing a whole lot more online business, is this something you would want to build up further, throughout the coming months or years?

5. Beware Of Free Online Services
Working remotely might not always be as comfy as working from the office, where you have access to three monitors and a proper chair that does not make your back ache.


However, it is great to see how many players offer free versions of their services in these strange corona times. A few examples:

    • Microsoft offers Microsoft Teams for free for six months
    • Google freely offers its more advanced functions of its Hangouts Meet videoconferencing software to all its G Suite and G Suite for Education clients.
    • Alleeninkt.nl is offering free printing service for those stuck at home without printers.
    • Ubereats will deliver for free.
    • In need of a break? Take a virtual museum tour at the Guggenheim (New York), The British Museum (London), Musée d’Orsay (Paris), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Soul), our very own Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum, Pergamon Museum (Berlin), Uffizi Gallery (Florence) and many more! 
    • Soofos is offering one free course per person. Their topics are very broad, ranging from Excel skills to drawing, from Photoshop to marketing.

6. Manage Your Team
Working remotely can affect team productivity, or your own productivity. Small things that help are getting dressed in the morning, prepping your snacks (‘cause hey, we all know the fridge calls), leaving the toilet paper for what it is, keeping spirits and communication up. 

7. Monitor and Reflect
We should not forget that challenges, such as the cornonacrisis, represent an excellent learning opportunity. Surely, it has huge (financial) consequences for your business, but instead of returning back to normal while heaving sighs of relief once it is over, make sure to reflect. Crises tend to uncover a business’s weaknesses, so documenting your actions and its impacts now will represent a valuable lesson for the future. 

Clearly, the steps above are all rather generic. At Amstel Lab, we would be happy to develop a company specific plan for your startup or scaleup, which we could deliver within a week’s time and will make you immune for the negative business consequences of the coronavirus. Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.