Firstly, safety, safety and safety. Social distancing, working from home and cutting down meetings are the most effective measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. In Hong Kong, events and social activities are all cancelled — even with our friends. But it’s an important measure that can drastically help stop the spread of this virus.
Working remotely for long periods of time can be difficult for a lot of teams. Set regular calls to check in and encourage active communication, even for casual chats, as this will help everyone stay productive and know that they’re not alone. If it’s absolutely necessary for a member of your team to be on-site, consider rotating on-site time shifts and don’t forget to provide your team with enough disinfection supplies. This will not only reduce the spread of the virus, it helps your team members know that you care.
You need a global plan more than ever. There are time lags and different recovery phases across the world. The countries which were affected first, like China, Singapore, Japan, Korea have seen successful flattening of the curve and even recovery. Hong Kong as a gateway, is stable for now despite expecting a second wave of a COVID-19 outbreak given the influx of people coming back to Hong Kong from overseas. If a second outbreak occurs, no one can predict how long it will take to peak or and then recover.
With the recent global outbreak, everyone will ask what safeguards you have in place if the outbreak lasts for up to a year. What will hiring look like, what is your crisis funding strategy, and will your team be able to develop your business through it all. Being cognizant of these limiting factors will also help your startup think more broadly and be creative to move forward.
Here are three questions to help get you started:
The stock market has caused massive losses in banks and hedge funds in just two weeks. It will continue before we know what damage is done to our economy. VCs may have their commitment from limited partners locked down. But they will still be more cautious when investing, and worst case scenario for VCs is that partners might default on a capital call. If the fundraising environment is bad, capital market will shrink in the coming 1–2 years with a lot fewer new funds. Angels might also reallocate their portfolio if they’re suffering from loss.
Continue to prove your value and achieve your milestones, if possible. Fundraising can be difficult, but when the time comes, you’ll be fully prepared to pitch.
If there is a foreseeable liquidity issue, don’t be afraid to reach out to your existing investor. Know your budget and how much you need to keep things running. Prepare a plan of how you will mitigate with the situation or leverage on it, and focus on future potential.
Some helpful tips to remember: