Facing Downtime? Here’s How Startup Founders Can Face the Situation

Entrepreneurs are celebrated as risk takers ready to roll the dice with their passionate, creativity and hard work in support of an idea or startup. People consider them as crazy folk who work for endless hours to get their startup off the ground. The world sees them as Jack-of-all-trades, eager to learn and implement something new all the time.

It’s obvious if you also have the same picture of a successful entrepreneur in your mind. It is likely that you get inspired by entrepreneurs who did wonder overnight, all with their hard work and passion. And most probably, are deciding the same scenario for yourself.

You might be planning to keep yourself all-consumed – doing anything and everything that could assist in bootstrapping a startup, even if it means sacrificing your personal life, leisure and health. However, this is not the true meaning of being an Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is all about figuring out when to work and when to unplug yourself. All work and no rest can bring a severe effect on your business, so you should prevent the situation. Sadly, various startups realize this when their startup is undergoing downtime and three choices (three roads) are put in front of them:

Add Value to My Startup during Downtime

  1. To get out, i.e, shut the business, hone your skills and return someday with double energy. It might sound more practical, but it is not easy to get out of the 9-to-5 job zone and make a roadmap to rule the world, once again. You may never find the courage to return.
  2. To get as far as possible, i.e., give up and get back into a 9-to-5 job. It’s not easy to give interviews, meet new people and face old life again. The perks of entrepreneurship might haunt you many times.
  3. Struggle and Win. This might be distressing, but is the best way to surpass failure and gain fame in the world of entrepreneurship. And the most inspiring example in this context is of Dane Atkinson, the founder and CEO of SumAll. He was just 27 when his company SenseNet, Inc. collapsed. He spends eight years building a team that wreck in the hundreds. He was exhausted. He sold his bar, apartment and everything he had. He traveled, tried new skills, and went through the process of accepting the defeat and preparing him mentally for an impactful comeback. He’s gone on to establish Squarespace and then SumAll. He shared that he never felt to choose anything besides the third option, that’s jump back. He accepted that the journey is not going to be easy, but he was ready to try once more, but this time building ‘inch-by-inch’.

Not only Dane Atkinson, there are a wide array of entrepreneurs who have struggled and defeated the downtime reign. They proved that facing downtime is normal, it’s how you react that makes the difference. Keeping the same context into consideration, here I’m sharing the best tips by which you can add value to your startup during downtime and make wonders:

10 Strategies To Add Value To Your Startup During Downtime

1. Brainstorm

Finding the cause of downtime can bring a positive impact on your situation. When you know what factors you need to focus upon and what to prevent, you can better gather your senses and generate ideas. You can control your stress and depression, and let your creativity flow.

It might be a daunting task for you to find time for brainstorming from your busy schedule. However, a 30 minutes discussion with your employees during the lunch break or analyzing during commuting can help you explore ways to improve your business. List down all the ideas and validate their feasibility. Discuss with your team, make a plan and assign tasks.

2. Make Better Strategies

Make Better Strategies

From research to development, product launch and marketing, every single minute counts for overcoming downtime and grow your business. It is necessary to make a list of all the tasks and categorize them as important, very important, less important, time-consuming, complicated, etc. When you have a list, it is easier to figure out what to do first. You won’t be dangling in between. Your team will be able to begin with the most crucial or time-consuming tasks, and add more value to your mobile app development company.

3. Create A Timeline

The best method of project management at every stage is to make a timeline. Transform the roadmap to a long-term goal into various milestones. This will empower you to see the fuller picture from the very beginning. However, bear in mind the timeline decided for reaching every milestone is feasible and realistic.

Do not set unachievable goals, since this can lower down your confidence and double the stress level. The target dates flying in from of you might frustrate you; making the situation worse than before. Also, don’t assign more than the required time to each checkpoint. You cannot afford time wastage in these circumstances.

4. Have A Supporting Team

Perry Tam, the CEO and Co-founder of Storm8, once said, “Founding a successful company can be a daunting task for everyone, especially the first-time entrepreneurs like me”. I agree with him.

Having a supportive team can be the right resource to rely on during downtime. A team that listens to you, stand by your side through highs and lows, give innovative ideas and ease your stress is what you need to deal with anything and everything. If you have such a team, do not let it go.

Have A Supporting Team

Connect with your team both as a leader and as a companion. Go beyond their daily reports and performance stats. Learn more about them. Appreciate their skills, support, and give them a chance of leadership, whenever possible.

5. Optimize Your Resources

Resource management is the best way to deal with the financial conditions of the company. When you know what all resources you have and how can you use them beyond their assigned use, you can make a better business. For example, if one of your employees has skills that you are looking for, ask him to extend his efforts instead of hiring a new resource. This will cut down your efforts to recruit a new candidate and train him. The time saved can be better invested in other necessary tasks. Besides, you can also share your workspace with other startups to meet your financial needs.

6. Learn From Failed Startups

While many turn towards successful startups and read their success stories, learning from failed startups seems more profitable to me. As per a study by Statisticbrain, 25% of startups fail in the first year of their establishment while 75% fail by their 10th anniversary, due to some common reasons. If you learn about those reasons and prevent the situations, you can easily raise your startup up.

7. Attend Events And Meetups

Attend Events And Meetups

Events, Meetups and Conferences are the right places to meet new people, get inspired and make better plans. You can get familiar with the challenges startups face and their approach to mitigate those challenges. You can learn from their experience and can even promote your startup, which can prevent your startup from sinking. On the top of it, social gathering can improve your mental health.

To ensure that you make the best of these events and gathering, list down the most relevant events/meetups/conferences/summits/hackathons you would like to take part in. Research and figure out how can these events help your startup. Go through their guidelines and act accordingly. Some events might ask to register on their platforms while other demand buying tickets in advance. Consider this practice and avoid missing out any opportunity.

Making the chart is not enough. You should keep a track of the chart and mark all the events you attended along with the response. Also, don’t hesitate to update the list with more events and meetups. In short, remain prepared all the time.

8. Take A back seat

It’s true that your team needs their leader to direct them, to encourage them and fuel them up with words of wisdom and passion to show their creativity. But, it’s a wise decision to take a back seat and let them do everything on their own.

When you get out of their way, your employees will gain confidence to be at the front and act smartly. The bond between them will grow deeper and prepare them to face challenges even in your absence. Besides, they will feel good to learn something new. This will improve their mental health as well.

Going for a vacation is the perfect way to unplug yourself while providing your team members with an opportunity to act like superheroes.

9. Unplug And Reset

You might feel compelled to work day and night and undo the effect of this downtime. However, it is not the right approach. Don’t carve out a schedule with back-to-back meetings and gatherings. Take a break in between. Breath in and out. Pick one day per week when you can unplug yourself from the daily chores and do something different. This might sound crazy, but is an eternal source to regain energy and be more focused when getting back to work.

Shahab Kaviani, the founder of CoFoundersLab, disclosed that he go for short vacations many times a year to re-energize himself. You can also opt for the same.

Unplug And Reset

If traveling is not your cup of tea, you can look forward to meditating, exercising, reading books, and spending time with family and friends to get filled with enthusiasm and positivity.

10. Read A book

Believe or not, reading can be the best activity to practice during your startup downtime. When you read, you come across different situations and places. Your mind becomes more active and visualizes faster. You broaden your perspective and generate more ideas, which can eventually help in cracking the challenges you are facing. So, take no time to sit and finish up the books that have been gathering dust on the shelf of your personal library.

Read A book

When it comes to reading, it does not matter what you read or how much time you put in it. Besides reading the best books for founders at every stage of a startup, you can also read the latest industry news, magazines, non-fiction novels, or articles of your favorite bloggers. If you find no time to read a book, you can feed your mind by listening audiobooks while traveling or doing odd jobs.

BONUS: Be Consistent And Passionate

In the world of entrepreneurship, the thing that matters more than an innovative way is your passion for it. Marc Andreessen, the creator of Mosaic and co-founder of Netscape, said, “In the startup world, either you are a genius or an idiot. There’s no place for an ordinary person”.

Running a startup is an adventure, not meant for pigeon-hearted people. To taste success, you have to be like a moth to a flame. Putting efforts consistently despite failures. Stopping before the end of the race is not the right way to be an entrepreneur.

Considering these strategies might not be enough to overcome downtime and make your startup successful. But still, these tips can help you to lower down your stress, have a fuller picture of the situation and work for a better future. In a nutshell, these key steps can guide you towards an effective and powerful business, by refueling the fire of innovation.

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