This article is written by Kenneth Siber – Head of WeWork Labs, UK and Ireland
In the UK and Ireland, start-up businesses are not only adjusting to the new normalities of living and working in a Covid-19 world, but also rethinking how their business models will succeed in the future, post-pandemic.
Start-ups are among those in the business community that have been hardest hit and are now looking for new ways to combat the impact of the pandemic.
However, it’s important to recognise that in times of difficulty, there is also opportunity – opportunity to become a market leader in a new trend, or the opportunity to disrupt the market.
This is exactly how WeWork started in 2010 – as the world emerged from a global recession, the founders saw an opportunity to disrupt the workspace industry with a more flexible model that enables companies to move away from traditional long term real estate commitments and work in an environment designed to foster productivity and collaboration.
WeWork launched an innovation programme in 2018 – WeWork Labs.
Kenneth Siber is Head of WeWork Labs UK & Ireland and here he gives his top five pieces of advice for start-ups to help navigate these uncertain times.
1. Believe in your business
It sounds simple, but believing in your business model, your mission and the future of your business is critical in times of difficulty where you might feel defeated. Not only will your passion drive innovation and productivity, helping you refocus, but it will also encourage potential investors and partners to get on board with your vision to help the business grow.
2. Be flexible
For any business – especially start-ups – there is a constant balance between risk and reward, but by taking risks you can drive change and new innovation. Harness this energy, and recognise the value of being flexible by adapting or even pivoting your business model to seize market opportunities in a changing environment.
In the UK, for example, one of our Labs members MealHub – a platform that provides meals to office workers from local restaurants – began delivering meals to NHS workers during the pandemic.
3. Maximise your network
At its core, networking is about forging meaningful relationships within the business community, allowing for a fast and sustainable path to success. However, we recognise that navigating an evolving market and building new connections can often seem an impossible task for an entrepreneur or early stage start-up.
4. Find great mentors and skills training
Mentors are crucial for success – from offering expert advice and guidance to sharing solutions from first-hand experience. WeWork Labs has developed a robust mentorship and education network for its start-up members, with a community of over 3,400 mentors globally.
5. Connect with a community of entrepreneurs
Loneliness is a common feeling amongst entrepreneurs and founders who are in the initial stages of their business venture. At WeWork, community is at the heart of what we do, and we pride ourselves on our global community of 693,000 memberships representing start-ups, SMEs and global enterprises across multiple industries and countries.
As part of Labs, members join a community of like-minded founders who are experiencing, or have experienced, the same challenges and hurdles, and are given the opportunity to learn, discuss and collaborate to find solutions together.