10 April 2020
Being an Entrepreneurial Leader in these Times
Posted at 12:05h
These are unprecedented times, especially for entrepreneurs managing early stage ventures. In the past days and weeks, I’ve had multiple discussions with several entrepreneurs whom we invest and mentor, and over the next few weeks I will be sharing some common themes that have got repeated on the challenges being faced by them.
One of the biggest challenges many first-time entrepreneurs face is, how to be an entrepreneurial leader in these times?
1. Build Trust: Many early stage ventures raise money with a 12-24 months headway, having to meet business milestones before they can raise their next round. However, with lockdowns, social distancing and an overall drop in consumer spending, these plans have been drastically altered. That means that today just keeping your business going is itself a challenge. It is a time to converse cash, cut down on expenses and sustain yourself to ride out this storm.
For some entrepreneurs this means facing the grim reality of closing down their business, while for others it means
going back to their existing investors to get the support needed. My discussion with entrepreneurs has centered around remembering that whatever the decision, remember that these are extraordinary times, and your stakeholders understand that. So, while it is important that you take the tough decisions where needed, how you act as a leader in these times, will speak volumes about the trust that you will build with all your stakeholders for years to come.
2. Be Compassionate: Being an entrepreneurial leader means not only understanding the challenges you face, but also being mindful about the challenges all your stakeholders face. Some examples of these would be having an open dialogue with your employees on the future of the organization and their role in it or working out a mid-way solution with your supplier. Difficult times ask for leaders to have difficult discussions with compassion.
3. Take care of your own mental well-being: While working hard to keep your business afloat, taking care of your own mental well-being as a leader is also important. Realize that tough times, are great experiences for life and these times will be part of your learning and growth. Also, in times of crisis a good leader has to make decisions as things develop, so being in good mental health will be critical for you to take good decisions.
After all, it is in times of great crisis that we see great leaders emerge.