MORRISVILLE – Scot Wingo says startups, including those he sees as possible stars in his annual “Tweener” list of emerging companies he sees as potential sucess stories, had better be taking steps right now to deal with the corornavirus.

Based on previous experiences and as well as his investment portfolio, the CEO who led ChannelAdvisor through the 2008-9 financial crisis and who now leads startup Get Spiffy, talks with WRAL TechWire about entrepreneurs and the virus.

  • How should startups/emerging firms be reacting right now? If they haven’t taking any actions is it too later – are they in trouble?

I’d recommend preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.  It doesn’t cost anything to have a set of plans – maybe 2-3 and have them look at a light and heavy impact and what you would do.

Veteran exec of 2008-9 crisis warns companies: Take steps now to deal with coronavirus crisis

Then keep your feelers out for any indications that you are seeing an impact.  An increase in customer churn, a decrease in sales rep productivity.

The other defensive thing you can do is go to existing investors and work on shoring up the balance sheet.

  • What are the basic steps startups and emerging ventures such as in your “Tweener” list should be taking right now to deal with what’s coming?

Aside from being ready and shoring up the balance sheet, I think as the CEO of a company facing this crisis, you have to go into ‘armadillo mode’ – roll up into a ball, put your arms up around your head to receive some blows and grind it out every day.

Rinse and repeat until you get through the other side.