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    Reset or perish: A guide to adapt for startups

    Reset or perish: A guide to adapt for startups

    Reset or perish: A guide to adapt for startups
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    By Nisha Ramchandani   IST (Updated)

    If we were to take a step back and analyze, the COVID-19 situation can be likened to a nail-biting basketball match for a Founder/ startup. The uncertainty is highly palpable and with one second left, and the team trailing by two points, they need to sink a three-pointer to win. They need a game shot by their best players or they lose.
    Much like what Founders face today. The fear of losing (read perishing) is real every minute and the need to take the game-winning shot is immense. What do Founders do in such circumstances?
    ADAPT
    I spoke to founders and they were quick to understand that their customer requirements have changed and hence they adapted to changes in customer behavior.
    Gurgaon based Emoha Eldercare was founded by Saumyajot Roy as a comprehensive at-home elder care plan with personalized visits for elders and quickly had to go virtual as the pandemic struck. They launched Emoha Empower to provide telemedicine, emergency services and COVID-19 related services for elders.
    They have created an emergency response team that notifies an ambulance service, nearby hospitals and related services through their app. They also have a virtual community for entertainment and education for elders. They now have 3700 elders registered on the platform, 685+ tasks and 13,000+ hours of care calls.
    Mangalore based, Pritam Prince Pinto, runs MyRoadRunner. Earlier an online delivery platform (mostly run on WhatsApp) has transitioned to a one-stop-shop online marketplace (an app-based business) for all local needs during the pandemic.
    They have onboarded customers and vendors on their app and now sell anything from fish, car services, medical services to customized terrace gardening solutions, thereby connecting sellers and buyers directly. They had to solve this problem as small vendors had to otherwise shut shop during the lockdown, which affected their sales and also affected the supply of essentials, despite high demand.
    They now have over 700 vendors on the platform and 46,000 customers using the app.
    Bangalore based Growfit, a nutrition company started by Jyotsna Pattabiraman deciphered that their customer needs have changed and most at-home chefs require fresh ingredients. They always had their own bakery where they baked their own bread and they started delivering this to friends and family.
    Soon, they faced disproportionate demand and now deliver bread and baked goodies. They have added paneer and proteins and other innovative and fresh ingredients for at-home chefs and the offering is called Growfit@Home and is currently by-invite-only. This has now become one of their largest channels of sales and will be made available on all direct-to-home marketplaces like Amazon Pantry etc.
    THE RISE OF THE ADAPTIVE FOUNDER
    Behavioral Scientist, Dr. Sanna Balsari-Palsure, has studied traits of adaptive leaders and shares her learnings.
    Founders are operating in a complex landscape with limited information. In this climate, adaptive leaders are able to adopt a mindset that is not entirely based on facts or what they know, but intuition. This means leaning on trust a lot more than before, as well as being comfortable with exhibiting vulnerability and the courage to be wrong.
    Along with intuition is the importance of empathy. Adaptive founders have a strong awareness of the feelings and behaviors of those around them, even when the cues are not explicit. Founders should be able to detect weaker signals and cues in the environment to gauge what their employees might need and when it is time to reach out for support.
    Lastly, adaptive Founders, especially in times of crisis, have a stronger tolerance of situations where there is uncertainty and they can't be equipped with complete knowledge of the situation, much like what we face today.
    With runways shrinking and the need to stay relevantly heightened, Founders have faced the brunt the most. Under the circumstances, Founders have to become more adaptive, nimble, have their ear to the ground and innovate to what the customer wants and not vice versa.
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