The Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it are having far-reaching effects on our everyday lives. Private meetings, visits to cafés or restaurants or cultural events are only possible to a limited extent – our private life is facing fundamental changes. But professional life is also undergoing one of the most fundamental changes of recent decades. Office complexes are almost empty, video conferences are a central part of the working day and customer contacts are no longer maintained on site, but are instead shifted to digital meetings as far as possible. Almost every area of everyday economic life is affected by the effects, the issue of liquidity bottlenecks is omnipresent and has caused difficulties for many companies. The start-up scene in Germany is not unaffected by these developments either, but to what extent?
Start-ups are in trend
Despite far-reaching restrictions and changes in daily life, the number of start-ups founded did not decrease in the first weeks of the pandemic. Compared to the same period last year, the startup detector recorded a total of 290 start-ups in spring 2020 – 20 more than in the same period in 2019. Of course, despite the positive overall trend, there are big differences between the sectors. For example, in the human resources sector, start-ups fell by almost 80%. But how can the good overall development be explained?
A central point is the almost entire shift of daily life to a wide variety of online media. An unprecedented mass of data is generated via these channels in the shortest possible time. And it is precisely this data that many start-ups use as the basis for their business model. The flood of data sets is expected to be the starting point for many who are planning to start a business in the coming months and years.
New user behavior as a start-up boost
However, this development not only offers room for new ideas and start-ups, but can also have positive effects on start-ups in the early stages of corporate development. New usage habits and a higher affinity to online offers such as streaming, virtual appointments and video conferences mean that business models can be tested and validated more quickly in the market. This gives young start-ups the opportunity to test their own business model, including the marketing strategy, faster and with significantly more users, to make changes and to develop it further.
Funding for start-ups remains a key issue
Despite the new opportunities that are arising for founders in the current situation, a key hurdle in building up your own company remains the procurement of sufficient financial resources. Regardless of whether it is financing through development loans or through business angels or venture capital, founders must be more careful than ever to raise enough liquidity and thus create enough room for maneuver for business activities. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, investments by private investors that were already believed to be safe were postponed due to the growing uncertainty, or requests for financing from banks were not processed further. In the course of the year, the prerequisites for successful capital acquisition normalized and future-oriented projects were able to generate the required funds in a wide variety of ways.
Founding personality one of the key factors
Especially in economically challenging times, the personality of the founder or that of the founding team is a key success factor for a successful start-up. This not only applies to the acquisition of capital, but also to customer acquisition, the composition of the team or fundamental issues of corporate development. Difficult situations show whether the founders are able to make the right decisions and to react appropriately to special external influences. Despite unforeseeable obstacles, entrepreneurs must keep a cool head and not make hasty decisions. The combination of clear goals and situational reaction is the key to success.
Opportunities can be used
The effects of the pandemic are not only challenges for society as a whole and almost every branch of the economy, but also offer the opportunity to develop new business models or to realign established offers. New influences on customers and entire industries drive new approaches and thus create space for innovation and rapid growth. However, it is important to open yourself to the new circumstances and to critically question your own business model and adapt it if necessary. Digital products and services in particular have recorded enormous growth rates in recent months. This trend is expected to continue beyond the pandemic. In these complex adjustment processes, support from business start-up advice makes sense (service tip: search for a consultant). In many cases, funding can also be applied for.