Navigating the business impact of COVID-19

The Verdane support guide for business leaders

Regular status updates on COVID-19 measures

Useful COVID-19 resources recommended by our team

Deloitte – Combating COVID-19 with resilience

PWC – COVID-19: Impacts to business

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Best practice guides

We will continuously update and share operational support guides that we have distributed to our portfolio companies below. Check in regularly for the latest content.

Adjusting your marketing activities to the challenging market situation

 

How our portfolio companies can help

Connecting COVID-19 relevant talent with organisations supporting the relief effort

Talentech has created a job portal for Norwegian health care and relief positions that need to be filled during the COVID-19 crisis, and Cool Company has done the same for Swedish schools and hospitals.

Handling supply chain management disruption

Scanmarket is offering customers a free period (with no obligations afterwards) of their Supply Base Management module, for companies to get through the Covid-19 crisis.

Keeping the Swedish restaurant industry alive

Trivec Buddy helps stave off restaurant industry bankruptcies in the wake of COVID-19 by offering guests a simple way to select and pay for their orders (including takeout) directly in their phone. An important step in keeping some of the global economies hardest-hit industries on its feet.

Helping the public communicate with regional health authorities

Staff at Zisson have been working weekends to get the Norwegian pandemic hotline up and running, as well as training staff to handle call volumes and improve service. Zisson is also providing crisis communications solutions packages and support to Norwegian regional health authorities and municipalities.

Getting your annual report done on time

Clausion is offering price reductions for businesses who need to finalise annual reports but have been hit by COVID-19 related absences. Reach out if you are a Finnish company in need of support.

Further developing your skillset from home

StudyTube has made over 250 online trainings and 500 microlearnings available for free via their Learn Together until the end of April for Dutch residents

 

COVID-19 is sending shockwaves through the global economy, and each business ends up facing unique challenges as a result.

Whilst it is impossible to provide a one-size-fits all solution, below are the general insights, tips and principles we are sharing with all our portfolio companies as a starting point for deciding how to deal with COVID-19.

Given the rapidity with which circumstances continue to develop, any analysis must be viewed in the light that even fresh data ages quickly. As in any crisis, no guarantee can be made for the ultimate outcome, but the more we collaborate and share knowledge, the bigger the chance that we all emerge victorious on the other side.

 

COVID-19: No news is good news?

Results collected April 27-30

With the overall trends continuing their previously established trajectories, the survey and our regular status updates will go out on a bi-weekly basis starting this week. No major changes noted in reported topline/profitability since last week.

Broken down on a vertical level, reported topline/profitability impact for Consumer Internet continues to go down. Software appears to have flatlined somewhat, whilst the relative ups and downs of Advanced Industrial may be attributable to the lower number of businesses in that vertical, resulting in larger swings over time depending on what companies share data.

Similarly, no major changes have been reported across business functions.

Finally, a few words about the survey we run with our portfolio companies, for those interested in methodology. We ask them about expected and experienced impact for topline/profitability, supply chain, labour/operations and sales/marketing, and HR measures. This week, answers came in from 33 portfolio companies between April 27 and 29. Respondent revenues range from EUR 8.5m to EUR 250m, and all of our home markets are represented (but so far we see no clear patterns based on location of headquarters). As previously, samples aren’t directly comparable between weeks, but still give us useful indications. The general rule that even fresh data ages quickly of course still applies but nonetheless, we believe the overall picture makes for useful information.

 

 

 

As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we do well to keep in mind that big shifts in power and between players often occur after a crisis. It’s a tough ask, but whilst you navigate present realities, you also need to plan for how to take market share and grow both during and after the crisis.

 

 

Business and leadership principles to keep in mind

Don’t overpromise. Impress on all employees the gravity of the situation. There is nothing to gain in downplaying the possible effects COVID-19 may have on your business. Stay calm and collected, gather data, assess it, reflect and then act. Remember that leadership done right at this time can forge a team more united than ever post-crisis.

Overcommunicate. Uncertainty and fear of what lies ahead can be at least partially assuaged through transparent, regular and trustworthy communication. Better too much, than too little.

Defend against revenue decline. Take a customer-centric view to this situation – how will you build trust, loyalty and market share through and beyond this crisis?

Generate antifragility through strategic optionality. Systematically pursue ambitious projects with limited downsides and large, open-ended upsides. Options, any options, by allowing you more upside than downside, are vectors of antifragility. This is why you lead generate and pursue growth projects even when your organisation is at capacity. That way whatever happens, all you have to do is evaluate the option once you have all the information and make a rational decision.

Play offense, not just defence. Define how you will outperform competitors and take share through and beyond the crisis. Prepare for ‘bounce-back’ and recovery. Plan for and leverage a ‘leap-frog’ change in customer behaviours.

 

Actions to take right now

Protect and give purpose. Provide clear policies and guidelines, ensure transparent two-way communications, monitor issues on a near real-time basis, with rapid response and track adherence to policies.

Hoard cash and review your cash runway. You need it to stay competitive and to come out guns blazing as the dust settles. Draw on generous government support, review your financial setup and – if the option is available to you – talk to your investors! Do you really have as much runway as you think? Could you withstand a few poor quarters if the economy sputters?

Review your sales forecasts. Shift forecasting focus to daily updates, if necessary. Even if you don’t see any direct or immediate exposure for your company, anticipate that your customers may revise their spending habits. Deals that seemed certain may not close. At this time, you don’t need to hit annual budget targets – just stay ahead of the competition.

Secure whatever revenue you can and cut costs to the bone. Where can you trim your expenses without fundamentally hurting the business? Set up a revenue team if you need to in order to secure the strength of order commitments and drive in every last bit of revenue outstanding.

Consider the impact on fundraising. Private financings could soften significantly, as happened in 2001 and 2009. What would you do if fundraising on attractive terms proves difficult in 2020 and 2021?

Sequoia Capital, Bain and McKinsey have all produced thought leadership that have contributed to parts of this section of our guide, and that make for useful further reading.