It’s fair to say that businesses of all sizes and industries across the globe have been knocked by the pandemic. Start-ups – already familiar with the many hurdles that arise when launching and scaling a company – are among those in the business community that have been hit hardest. In Israel, with Covid-19 still very much affecting normalities of living and working, start-up businesses are having to rethink how their business models will succeed in the future, post-pandemic.
Despite this, it’s important to recognize that in times of difficulty, there is also a window of opportunity – to become a market leader in a new trend. Take WeWork – a decade ago, the founders saw an opportunity to reshape the future of work as we know it through flexible workplace solutions that enable companies to move away from traditional long term real estate commitments and provide their employees with a productive and collaborative working environment.
Committed to supporting other start-ups reach their potential, WeWork launched an innovation program in 2018, WeWork Labs, which supports early-stage start-ups and corporations seeking to transform their industries. It has recently launched a new online ‘Community Labs membership’, which will help more start-ups to access the benefits of WeWork in an even more affordable and flexible way. Here are my favorite pieces of advice for start-ups to help navigate these uncertain times.
- Be resilient
If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that resilience is key. Whether you’re someone who has gone through a particularly difficult time, or your business has been faced with unexpected challenges, there is a lot to be said about finding strength and stability in the face of hardship as well as being willing to adapt to your current climate and find new ways to bounce back, grow and succeed. At WeWork Labs, our members are supported by a Labs manager – an individual in members and their business with experience in either entrepreneurship or incubators and accelerators. Labs managers guide members through custom programming and provide business solutions from first-hand experience to help members navigate challenges, and discover new angles and opportunities in order to drive their start-ups towards success. In Israel, for example, one of our Labs members Bridgify – a B2B travel tech company that specializes in custom destination tools and activities – pivoted their business model, and came up with a solution to help those in lockdown across the world visit Jerusalem virtually, and enjoy a unique experience of the city.
- Never stop learning
“Who is a wise? One who learns from everyone,” is a favorite saying of mine, and an important mindset for any founder looking to stay relevant with shifting business demand. For start-ups – that are new to the game compared to established enterprises – it is crucial to learn everything you can from others, including new skills, business methods and strategy. WeWork Labs has developed a robust mentorship and education network for its start-up members, with a community of over 3,400 mentors globally. Members are able to connect with experts in a range of industries through online sessions, office hours, online panel discussions and lunch and learn events, as well as have access to customized daily training programs, where members learn everything from accounting and marketing, to hiring and pitching future investors.
- Build meaningful relationships
In a new era where social distancing is part of our new normal, it’s more important than ever to build meaningful business relationships to help raise your brand profile and increase your chances of meeting investors or potential business partners to achieve a fast and sustainable path to success. At Labs, we recognize that as an entrepreneur, networking opportunities are few and far between – particularly in light of the pandemic. By being part of WeWork’s global network in 38 countries, WeWork Labs has the unique ability to connect companies of all sizes – over thirty percent of the Global Fortune 500 are WeWork members – through our global network, opening doors to partners and vendors across the globe to help Labs members grow, build brand awareness and expand their footprint internationally with ease. Our new Community membership – working with the times – also allows for virtual meet-ups and networking events via Zoom.
An entrepreneur or founder who is navigating their way through the initial stages of their business venture can often feel isolated – drafting up new business strategies ‘til the early hours of the morning or attending networking events alone. With loneliness as a common downside to starting your own business, why not surround yourself with exceptional mentors and other entrepreneurs who are on a similar journey as you? 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, we not only provide our members with access to our global network, but we also provide them with the opportunity to learn, discuss and collaborate to find solutions with other like-minded founders who are experiencing, or have experience, the same challenges and hurdles to scale their startup.
Believing in yourself and your business model in times of difficulty is one of the biggest challenges to overcome – but it is so important to remain confident and focused in order to succeed. Potential investors will only get on board with your vision if you demonstrate determination and have confidence in your own success. At Labs, we are committed to giving our members the confidence and tools to grow and thrive. From our bespoke training program, and network of mentors to our growing community of like-minded founders and the opportunity to work closely with Labs managers who are experts in their fields, Labs is a program that will be with you every step of your entrepreneurial journey, helping you untap your potential and scale your business.