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John I. Kujur

The author is Co-founder at GenElek Technologies

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A Startup In The Time Of Corona

The shift from daily workplace routines to virtual-meetings & a work-from-home culture have been a paradigm shift.

With the pandemic taking its toll across the world, all businesses are taking a hit. This is not a criticism or the opposition of the steps being taken by the community and governments to manage the crisis, rather a discussion on what kind of challenges that startup industry is facing.

1) Startups who are working at an Incubation Centre 
From a team gathering perspective, the startups are facing additional challenges those who are working at incubation centres and this puts Entrepreneurs in a precarious situation where the gathering of the people under one roof is not entirely in the control and hence, they are forced to shut down altogether and those who have shared workspaces are undergoing the same challenges.

2) Virtual-meetings & a work-from-home culture has been a paradigm shift
The shift from daily workplace routines to virtual-meetings & a work-from-home culture have been a paradigm shift. This is especially for bootstrapped start-ups which rely mainly on a team full of freshers and youngsters, who were still learning the concept of an office. This puts a stop to their learning by observing and apprenticeship process. It also hits hardware startups in particular since their work is heavily dependent on the physical world and the virtual world just does not happen to live up to the task.

On the benefit side, it has helped push the team (especially the youngsters) to do activities like documentation and simulations which their otherwise enthusiastic, gung-ho and restless nature was helping them procrastinate on. Though, they are still facing the challenge of motivating them to get it done when all the OTT services have taken this opportunity to ensure otherwise.

3) Crunch on businesses 
From a business perspective, the startup industry is facing the same challenges that anyone else would and then some more. All the supplies have been put on hold and those who have to deliver the supplies are facing the major crunch. Companies are now focusing on ‘R’ part in ‘RnD’. The ‘D’ part is restricted by the restrictions on the other ‘D’ viz. delivery. For the projects that are past the RnD phase and are in production, the delivery of the raw materials is an issue. This also depends upon where the part is being delivered. If the identified part is from an overseas company, and if delivery is possible by the vendor, and if the shipment is less than a container load (which would be for most startups making small quantities), the challenge is to wait for a full container to be filled else the shipping would be prohibitively expensive.

All these add to the main challenge of keeping the morale up for the team. This is, even more, pressing for the entrepreneur whose greatest asset is good morale. These concerns are nothing compared to the hardships and stress being faced by those who are struggling every second to keep thing under control and keep us safe. One can only urge everyone to stay safe and unquestionably listen to those who are working tirelessly for our wellbeing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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