I think we can all agree that the only thing which has remained consistent this year has been that feeling of "WTF?". A global pandemic, lockdown, news of a catastrophic upcoming recession, massive political divides across the world. The blogosphere is littered with articles looking at what has changed in 2020.
But crisis drives innovation. There has never been a more pertinent time for tech startups to thrive.
As highlighted in Bond Capital's Coronavirus trends report, "we are optimists and believe there is hope on the other side of despair.... We need government, business and entrepreneurial intervention at scale (deployed logically and effectively) to get to the other side."
With all transformation, there are risks and opportunities. The startups that have enabled much of the “new normal” are also going forth in unchartered territory - new market behaviours, new customer expectations, and new competition.
Let’s look into the top 5 ways tech start-ups are primed to survive the upcoming recession, if they take a measured, strategic, and agile approach to the future.
1. Enabling Productive Remote Work
The COVID-enforced global experiment in home working has absolutely demonstrated that the office was never as essential as we were led to believe for all job roles.
SaaS solutions have made it not only possible, but relatively easy, to make the switch from accessing work files via your office computer, to accessing everything from the cloud. SaaS products that enable video conferencing, such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts, help you talk face-to-face with your team, albeit sometimes there is no substitute for collaborating in person.
Remote team collaboration has been made not only possible, but productive, with tools such as Slack, Asana, Trello, and even virtual whiteboarding solutions like Miro. Indeed, Meeker’s research into remote work found that those who focused on effective written communication (and documentation), based off of the “Amazon Way,” made the most efficient transitions to remote work.
This paves the way for other tech productivity to become mainstream - big data analytics, artificial intelligence and other productivity enablers.
Remote working isn't going away, so companies that continue to address the growing needs of this huge swathe of the global workforce, will set themselves up for success, and continue to produce high-quality work no matter where they are.
2. Creating More Enjoyable Digital Experiences
As the world gets comfortable with remote working, online shopping, and increased time spent on digital experiences, so the customer expectation of enjoyable and intuitive digital design continues to rise. It’s imperative that your company is reassessing the user experience of your product.
I’m talking daily with tech companies keen to rethink their product design, customer journey, and user experiences. Truly innovative companies are building moments of delight into their customer journey planning - actively seeking out the wow factor through in-depth customer research and continually reevaluating their customers’ needs and expectations since the world turned upside down.
Self-serve has never been more popular. The ideal user experience is coming to the fore, with consumers less patient than they have ever been with poorly designed products.
For many tech companies, it is high time for a rethink.
3. Accelerating Digital Transformation
There is no doubt that those businesses which are thriving, and will continue to thrive as the pandemic unfolds, are those who had already begun to transition their operations to the cloud.The pandemic has accelerated the emphasis placed on a company's technological presence with all stakeholders.
Digital transformation is at the heart of success for all future businesses, including the successful integration of cloud-based business processes, an adaptable and fast-acting online presence, the ability to offer delivery methods that limit contact, and digitally efficient products and services.
4. Moving Money Online
Coronavirus has certainly shown up some debilitating flaws in the processes used within the everyday operations of many businesses around the globe, starting with the notion that ‘cash is king’.
Many organisations are now realising they had hugely outdated systems and technologies in place, and have been forced to dramatically reform the way they operate from a digital perspective in order to survive.
SaaS products such as Intuit and Sage for online Payroll; Paypal and Square for online payment gateways; and accounting software such as FreeAgent and Crunch - the success of these platforms show the way the wind is blowing. Digital business banking is also soaring, with business accounts such as Tide, Chime and Monzo skyrocketing.
5. Focusing on Security
These dramatic shifts businesses are making to cloud-based information sharing, bring obvious risks too. As global business moves online, cyber criminality is on the rise. There is further opportunity for innovative security tech companies such as Contrast Security and Checkmarx who provide leading edge tech for AppSec, and other fast growing cyber security companies to boost security while enabling scale. Keeping on top of security is yet another risk factor for tech companies aiming to emerge from 2020 as leaders. Time to rethink the current approach here too.
There’s no time to waste. Things are changing rapidly. It’s time to act.
If you’d like to find out more about how Stratagem can help you identify the most pressing areas for your product design, customer insight and messaging focus now, and in the coming months, click on the Book a Call button and schedule something in my diary - discovery sessions last 30 minutes and are completely free.