obody expected it to happen, but 2020 brought us into a situation unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed. The pandemic is affecting all of us, not to mention the economy itself. A recent survey shows that more than 70% of startups had to terminate their full-time employee contracts, and entrepreneurial businesses have had to go extra on being ‘entrepreneurial’, leading their ventures to make the most out of the crisis.
Most of these organisations got pushed to take a far more creative approach in order to survive, but, amazingly so, some of the most innovative ventures got established, launched or got stronger during lockdown.
But what are the future predictions and the overall support for the brave ones, ready to start their own businesses and step into the world of entrepreneurship? In the UK, the government is here to help with their £1.25 billion rescue package, specially designed to support innovative firms and “the unicorns of tomorrow”. This not only shows the importance of SMEs but also just how much the country relies on innovative ideas.
If some ambitious ones are still seeking funding during these unprecedented conditions, investors are open to discuss future opportunities (albeit virtually), even if they are not yet willing to write cheques just yet. Although this can set back the business, it can lead to positive changes and create additional prospects.
This is the right time not to be pushy, rather re-engage as investors are more likely to reach out to companies that they have previously had interactions with. Still it’s important to match our business’ requirements and objectives with any investor’s current life stage, especially focusing on when was the last time that they raised a fund. (Crunchbase is a fantastic starting point for research!)
Being isolated also doesn’t help an entrepreneur’s most effective strategy: networking. Although we must say that having the benefits of the world wide web can create communities worth joining! From Facebook groups to LinkedIn communities, people are seeking help, recommendations or sometimes just a shoutout in the hope of better exposure. Acting kind, reaching out to each other with a like, comment or a direct message can go places. If nothing else, this can lead to a positive boost to consider crowdfunding, rather than approaching individual investors. Crowdfunding sounds tough to deliver but addressing key goals may help in better positioning and winning people’s hearts.
If you are still unsure on how to move forwards, start taking part in webinars, such as the recent London Tech Week that took place virtually for the very first time, with prestigious CEOs and founders getting involved from across the globe. These kinds of opportunities can definitely help your business grow, perhaps build international connections and keep you up to date on recent happenings and the overall entrepreneurial sphere.
You never know, some of your conversations might turn into a pitch to a potential investor, or someone might discover your business as the next best innovative idea! And don’t get disappointed if you get declined: ask investors if they are open to keep in touch, what you can solve with a monthly newsletter, including your company’s recent accomplishments to keep your startup top-of-mind and unforgettable.
Keep talking to people, keep trying new things and, most importantly, keep going!