Here’s What Startup Founders Should Have Learned From the Pandemic

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Let me clarify: the pandemic is not over. People are still dying for Covid, they are still getting seriously ill and societies are still being forced to confine themselves. It doesn’t end until the WHO says yes; there could still be new dangerous variants, and perhaps we’ll look at more restrictions next fall.

However, thanks to vaccines, there is a widespread feeling in many countries that the worst is behind us and that things are very close to normal. We can finally begin to see what the world might be like in post-pandemic times.

As the founder and CEO of a startup, the pandemic was difficult to navigate. The economy was strange, it provoked new social dynamics and the unprecedented nature of the situation made none of the usual tools in the toolbox seem adequate or useful. We had to improvise and trust our guts. So, now at least It’s heard In closing, I feel the need to ask myself: what does the post-pandemic world offer for the founders of technology industry startups? And what have we learned from all this?

Related: The post-pandemic game book for small businesses

1. Follow the constant path

For the past two or three years, we have experienced an economic boom, a rapid recession, then another boom, and now we are suffering from rising inflation as we raise interest rates and possibly a new recession hides around the corner. Between that, we’ve had several supply crises, the Great Resignation, a declining stock market, new layoffs, and what’s happening in the crypto world.

The economic crisis we are experiencing right now, in my opinion, is a return to normalcy. That Zoom shares go down, for example, doesn’t mean Zoom is suddenly a bad company. It means it was good company during a confinement. Students returned to their classrooms, workers returned to the office, and growth slowed somewhat. This is not the bursting of a technology bubble. It is a return to the world of 2019.

This new market cycle with higher interest rates requires founders to adjust their expectations and be more disciplined. But the pandemic gave us a lesson to remember: to follow the steady path. If you are zigzagging, you are likely to exaggerate your hand or act too drastically.

Don’t panic. Find the middle of the road. Focus on the economics of your core unit, be a little more disciplined, and find the balance between realism and ambition in your strategy.

Related: How to Grow Your Business in the Post-Pandemic Era

2. The future of work is no longer so futuristic

The pandemic forced everyone to develop new ways of working. Our societies became more digitalized, software adoption accelerated, and we had to work from home. Decades of innovation were driven in a matter of weeks.

Now, little by little, things are adjusting again. Some go back to the office, others don’t. Some are going back to old workflows, others are not. We are seeing that the future of work is no longer futuristic. It is the present, and it is real.

The pandemic has allowed us to adopt a much more realistic view of the frontier of modern work. We must not be radical with distance work. Some thrive there; others do not. Some prefer a hybrid solution. The same goes for automation. Some tasks showed that they were ripe for automation and others were not.

Now is the perfect time to reflect on the future of work. What was a little too futuristic and what worked well? In this way, we can take a more pragmatic approach to the way we work.

Related: The flexible future of work: 4 steps to find a model that suits you

3. Mental health has come to stay

Sometimes you get the impression that the pandemic was an excuse to change our lives as if we hated them before. This is not true. I think we tend to overestimate the extent to which the pandemic will change in the long run. People will come back to the offices, because people like the offices. People will come back to nightclubs, because they like to go to nightclubs. And people will travel again, because they love to travel. We used to have the world, because we liked to have it.

That said, some things have changed. The pandemic affected people’s mental health, which paved the way for a new cultural attitude. We need a break, a little less stress and exhaustion and a little more work-life balance. This new zeitgeist, called The Age of Anti-Ambition by The New York Times, forces founders to focus on mental health in the workplace, adjust incentive structures, and realize you don’t get productive employees by overworking them. The pandemic showed many people that work could be done differently. To win the post-pandemic, founders must accept this reality and develop a workplace that does not harm the mental health of their employees.

Overall, as you have already discovered from this text, I think there is room for a new kind of realism. We’ve been through some unpredictable years, with bubbles and weirdos. We have been shown that acting strangely and with bubbles does not help. Instead, it’s time to take a pragmatic approach and stay calm.

Trust your strategy. Don’t jump on the next drum train. Bet on the things you really believe in. Do your own thing, do it right and act rationally. This is the key to winning after the pandemic. Follow the constant path, take a realistic view of the future of work, make a loop, and take care of the people around you.

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