Julie: Greetings, everyone, and welcome back to the XR for Learning podcast. I’m Julie Smithson, your host. Today marks Part 2 of our discussion with Victoria Yampolsky on forecasting for innovation through the execution roadmap. Victoria, the founder and president of The Startup Station, is dedicated to supporting founders in achieving success and securing funding for their ventures. In our previous episode, we delved into forecasting opportunities amid the ongoing pandemic. Today, we shift our focus to the execution roadmap. Welcome back, Victoria.
Victoria: Thank you, Julie. Delighted to be here again.
Julie: Excellent. Let’s pick up where we left off. In our initial episode, we explored forecasting innovation opportunities, considering the impact of the pandemic on various businesses. Now, for those fortunate startups experiencing positive outcomes during these times, what execution roadmap and path should they pursue? Could you guide us through the implications on revenues, costs, supply chain, and capital expenditures while preparing for the unexpected?
Victoria: Absolutely. Crafting a financial model for startups demands granularity, especially concerning the go-to-market strategy. It’s insufficient to project top-line growth without dissecting the underlying drivers. AR/VR businesses typically sell to consumers or enterprises, each requiring distinct strategies. Budget allocation, a discretionary decision, becomes critical during uncertain times. Assessing the impact on your customers and their economic situation is key. If customers are resilient, consider increasing marketing budgets to capture market share. Conversely, if customers are affected, focus on brand awareness. In the sales force scenario, evaluate customers’ situation, considering the length of sales cycles. It’s prudent to plan for low, medium, and high scenarios, providing resilience against uncertainties like the coronavirus. Cash, not income, is paramount during such times. Monitoring your cash flow statement ensures you maintain a sufficient runway. If approaching a critical level, evaluate cost-cutting measures and explore financing options, engaging existing investors for support.
Julie: Valuable insights, Victoria. Maintaining financial stability is crucial. Now, pivoting to potential investors, considering the shift to virtual meetings, what preparedness is necessary for startups presenting to investors? Specifically, how can startups in the AR/VR sector leverage the current market opportunities?
Victoria: The AR/VR sector is promising, and investors seek high-growth companies. Short-term disruptions, such as the pandemic, should not deter investors focused on emerging technologies. Clearly articulate your execution plan amid the crisis, addressing financial aspects discussed earlier. When seeking funds, transparently outline the purpose, possibly exploring emergency loan options with early liquidation possibilities. For existing investors, providing support during downturns is preferable to losing their investment entirely. Demonstrating a robust execution plan and sustained product demand positions technology startups favorably, especially in comparison to businesses dependent on physical interactions.
Julie: Excellent advice, Victoria. Now, amidst these challenging times, what overarching guidance would you offer startups? How can they use this period to reevaluate their strategies, ensuring long-term success?
Victoria: Startups should seize this period to assess both short-term and long-term strategies. The temporary slowdown offers breathing room to scrutinize business visions and roadmaps. Avoid getting lost in day-to-day operations; instead, focus on broader trends, innovations, and strategic partnerships. Embrace creativity and contemplate the impact your business seeks to make. Use this rare reprieve to bring teams and co-founders together, fostering innovation and strategic thinking. Stress won’t contribute positively, but a collaborative approach to making a difference will.
Julie: A fantastic way to conclude our podcast, Victoria. Thank you for sharing your valuable insights during these uncertain times. For our listeners, how can they reach out to you and connect with The Startup Station?
Victoria: Certainly, Julie. Visit www.thestartupstation.com for more information. Every Thursday, from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern Time, I host virtual office hours open to all entrepreneurs. You can register on my homepage or through my social media channels. Additionally, joining my mailing list provides a startup investor search guide with 26 resources, aiding those embarking on fundraising journeys. Thank you, Julie, for having me on the XR for Learning podcast.
Julie: The pleasure is ours, Victoria. Thank you for joining us.