Startup Tools for Uncertain Times: It’s a wrap!
Last night, the Archa team hosted our very first in-person event, Startup Tools for Uncertain Times, at The Commons George Street.
It was awesome to head to Sydney, connect with familiar faces in the startup community, and meet many new ones. We were really pleased with the turnout - thanks to everyone who came along. We hope you enjoyed a night of networking, the panel discussion, and swung past the Google booth for a chat and some complimentary swag!
It’s certainly not smooth sailing for businesses at the moment, let alone startups, so we were thrilled to pull together a panel with industry leaders to discuss the tools they’re finding most valuable right now – from prioritising people to leveraging technology solutions.
A big thank you to our panelists, Jason Atkins (Co-Founder, Cake Equity), Nan Meka (VP, Pet Circle) and Huw Griffiths (Regional Manager - New Business AU/NZ, Google), for sharing their experiences and advice. And last but not least, thanks to Archa’s own Joe Robins (GM - Commercial) for facilitating the discussion.
Here are my key takeaways from the panel:
1. Lean on Community and Partnerships
Companies, founders and leaders that invest in their communities and partnerships have a far greater chance of getting through tough, uncertain times. By reimagining your customers, partners and the broader startup community as an extension of your wider team, you give yourself more opportunities to lean on those with the right expertise at different stages of the journey. As Jason mentioned, this process is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t expect to build an amazing community or network overnight.
Partnerships, especially those with larger companies than yours, are a great way to leverage and grow your brand in a cost-effective way. Huw spoke about taking time to ensure there is clear alignment with the businesses you’re looking to partner with - whether that’s helping to solve a similar problem or targeting the same demographic of customer.
2. Prioritise culture and building the right team
When times are tough, the values you’ve communicated to your team are more important than ever. Lean into your culture and remember your people can be your most valuable asset. We learnt from Jason that Cake has built a strong, positive culture by looking to hire employees with a growth mindset and a shared interest in a healthy lifestyle. Huw also highlighted how documenting ways of working, company missions, and internal frameworks has allowed Google to maintain their culture whilst a global giant.
Hiring freelancers and off-shore staff is also a great way to have flexibility and control as things constantly change. Nan spoke about how, by extending benefits and workplace culture, the best companies she’s seen are able to maintain a strong company culture and allow for those freelance/off-shore staff to feel included and part of the mission.
3. Be deliberate when selecting your tech stack
Do your homework when selecting new tools, from your CMS to CRM and everything in between. New tech tools almost always require some integrations into existing systems, so making sure your development team is across everything early can be crucial for making the most of a new tool.
There are also heaps of free tools available to startups and new businesses, including Huw’s team, which he described as ‘the best-kept secret at Google'. Read here for more details about their Google Ads coaching program with Archa.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, nothing replaces speaking with a human! If you’re implementing tech, lean on free consultants for advice - they’re experts for a reason, and if you’re reading this as a tech founder, people want to speak with people, so make it easy for businesses to do so!
Final tips from our industry panel
- Huw - Feel comfortable having conversations about your business challenges with people in your community - it’s likely they’ve experienced and overcome similar problems.
- Jason - Have your eyes open. Yes, uncertainty and challenges exist, but uncertain times also create new opportunities!
- Nan - Now’s the time to conserve your cash burn and extend your runway. Don’t be afraid to make the tough calls, and continually revisit company planning and objectives.
It takes a village to raise a child; the same can be said for getting this event off the ground. Behind the scenes, Stanislas Barbe (Archa), Cal Davidson (Cake) and Shannon Horn & Ashlee Norman (The Commons) have been great. I would also like to thank our generous event partners, Blys, who donated two free massages (we’ll be in touch with the winners shortly), and for Heaps Normal and Bobby for providing the non-alcoholic beverages.
For more information about Archa’s corporate cards and expense management solution and/or the Google partnership, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team.