The COVID-19 pandemic arrived unannounced in late 2019, disrupting lives and businesses in ways that were previously unimaginable. It could get a lot worse before it gets better, but the world has not ended. Steering a company through the uncertainty of this crisis is daunting, but here are four tips OurCrowd shared with its portfolio to help chart the right course.
1. Don’t fight the wave, ride it
In times of crisis, companies need to be very agile and maintain the ability to adjust quickly to new realities. “Remain relevant” is the mantra of the hour, and that means crafting your message or adjusting the focus of your product or services to be more relevant for the world as it is. Now is the time of distant learning, social distancing, and obviously the medical applications – think hard about where you fit in.
2. Reach out to your customers
You need to be in constant contact with your customers. Don’t just assume that because you’ve had a customer for the last two years that they’ll be there for the next few quarters. Have an active conversation to understand their needs and how they are changing so that you can adapt to be supportive in the future.
3. Re-evaluate Customer Acquisition Cost & LifeTime Value
OurCrowd believes that for many industries, this traditional matrix is going to need to be reassessed. Companies will need to reevaluate Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and LifeTime Value (LTV) because sales cycles could be extended, churn might grow, causing the lifetime value of your customers to shrink. Understanding how this new metric is affecting your industry and your company is imperative.
4. Cut your burn rate to extend runway
Take a close look at your burn rate. Make sure the founders, management teams, and boards are focusing on cutting costs in order to extend runway. Determine if all of your employees are essential and if savings can be found by reducing CAC and marketing expenses during this crisis.
The easiest way to raise $3 million in this crisis environment is to cut $250,000 a month from your burn rate. Most of OurCrowd’s portfolio companies initiated this process in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Steps from reducing salaries across the board to cutting personnel by 15-30%, depending on the industry, have been reported. The earlier and the more decisive you are during the crisis, the better it will be.
In the VC community we are seeing signs of cautious activity, with term sheets on the table and yes, even exits. Despite near total lockdowns in countries everywhere, OurCrowd is working full time to support our companies and identify selective opportunities. Great companies are built in downturns, and technology has a big role to play in solving and helping us through the crisis. It will get better, and you’ll need to be “in the tube” riding the wave to get to the other end of this crisis.