Leading a company through a pandemic is something no entrepreneur could prepare for, no matter the size and success of their business. When forced to make quick, unprecedented and essentially risk-filled decisions, all past experiences and skills go out the window.
When the pandemic hit, we were just beginning production of the flagship product for my new tech startup called Airzai. Soon enough, the world came to a pause as factories shut down, economies went into flux and the bright future I had envisioned for Airzai seemed nearly impossible.
Although the outlook was grim, we were able to save the company from potential bankruptcy. With a tactical pivot to our business model and the invention of a new product called Airzai care that is an all-natural Air and Surface disinfectant; it was completely outside the tech industry that we were so accustomed to, the Airzai team still managed to work tirelessly and steer the company toward success.
The experience of working through a pandemic impacted small and large tech companies across the world, and I personally learned more about leadership through pivoting a business than I would have ever imagined. Through focusing on a single objective, remaining in constant communication with my team and keeping a positive outlook, we were able to weather the storm.
Choose a main objective
Airzai was able to grow through the rise of COVID-19 by identifying one core objective to concentrate on. Our leadership team quickly decided our goal was to preserve as many jobs as possible. From thereon out, all strategies and initiatives centered around retaining our workforce. This tactic really encouraged us to have an inclusive, collaborative mindset, which is vital to surviving as a small tech company. Embracing this goal in virtually every decision we made allowed it to quickly become a reality.
In-person collaboration is something our whole Airzai team took for granted before COVID-19. It was easy to hop into a conference room or stop by someone’s desk to discuss projects in real time. In adjusting to the vastly different environment of remote work, it is crucial to get your whole team to understand the expectations for communication. This includes laying out the best platforms, turnaround time for responses and more.
Additionally, being proactive in contacting your team will encourage them to do the same with each other. Lines of communication should be open at all times in order to stay as transparent as possible and employees should be the first to know of any major updates or changes.
Especially for young tech companies like our own Airzai, it is important to be mindful of the burnout and daily stress your team might be experiencing. Checking in with people individually and offering support and reassurance can go a very long way.
During tumultuous times like this, it is easy to be discouraged about the uncertain future. In spite of the sporadic economy and unpredictable future, remember that some of the most successful tech startups began during an economic recession, like Uber and Microsoft. Now is the time when you’ll be able to negotiate incredible deals and have access to the best talent. Ultimately, being in a “nothing to lose” mindset will become your strength.
In conclusion, collaboration, communication and a growth mindset are what will set your company apart and ultimately help tech startups in establishing a solid foundation. With these main objectives, you can put your business in the best possible position to face any uncertainties that may come about.
Although the pandemic is still running its course, the world is adjusting to the new normal and chaos is winding down. However, there will definitely be more times of ambiguity in the future and I truly believe that these key objectives are what allowed Airzai to continue to succeed during the tough times. Moving forward, I encourage you to see how you can implement them into your own tech companies as they will prove to be beneficial no matter what the future holds.