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Five Lessons From Running A Startup Business Through A Global Pandemic It's probably never easy to run a business- however, it can be harder than usual when you are trying to do it in the throes of a global crisis.

By Deyan Dimitrov Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It's probably never easy to run a business- however, it can be harder than usual when you are trying to do it in the throes of a global crisis. I've had first-hand experience in this matter in my role as the founder and CEO of Laundryheap, the world's fastest growing on-demand laundry and dry cleaning platform- here's what I learned through my journey leading my enterprise through the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Flexibility is key It was clear from the early stages of the global COVID-19 outbreak that customer demands would change and most likely evolve as the severity of the pandemic took hold. As a startup, you are already blessed with a flexible outlook because you need one to survive, so we took time to listen to our customers to find out how we could help them. To temporarily remove face-to-face contact completely, we introduced contactless collection/delivery of laundry, and it gave our customers some reassurance that we could provide the same high-quality service, while limiting the spread of the virus.

2. Fully engage with your team In Dubai, we are lucky to have a fantastic team made up of enthusiastic staff who want to push themselves to be the best. We already knew they were highly capable, but the pandemic showed just how people can raise their game in times of adversity. Maintaining relationships with our people and strengthening relationships among our people was a primary objective for us. The first step was prioritizing clear and consistent communication to enable us to collaborate effectively. Secondly, in order to optimize your team's performance, it is vital for them to acknowledge what a significant impact their role has in serving communities in the times of crisis, and, not to mention, recognizing their added value to the companies' success. Simply said, if members of the team do not feel as though they are playing an important role, you will not utilize their full potential. At Laundryheap, we are helping to simplify our customer's lives, and it is a pursuit that we are all in together.

3. Be ready to help your customers when they need you The pandemic was an uncertain time that caused major disruption for everyone; that upheaval changed living patterns to the extent that many of our customers started seeking out some basic conveniences that would make daily routines easier and allow them to concentrate on what really matters. Rather than sit back and wait, we actively set about forming a support network that would be available to our customer base whenever they needed it. To help our customers further, we opened a 24/7 support function to answer queries and solve problems around the clock.

4. Pool your knowledge We operate from 22 cities in 10 countries worldwide. Each of those cities has been impacted by the pandemic in its own way, and each local team confronted by various obstacles. From the very beginning, we have collaborated between teams to share local knowledge and sought to overcome problems that have transcended regions across the globe. The pandemic actually brought our global teams closer together, and we have seen the results in our customer orders and feedback.

5. Prioritize safety Above all else, prioritize the safety of your employees and your customers. We conducted a thorough risk assessment of our service at an early stage of the pandemic to address any fears our drivers had about their own safety and those of our customers. Laundryheap arranged regular COVID-19 tests for our drivers and provided all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure safe operation. Our 60-80% growth month-on-month in the number of orders since March 2020, and our expansion to six new cities in 2020, we believe, is partly due to our prioritizing safety during the pandemic.

Related: How Rejection Can Fuel Your Entrepreneurial Success

Deyan Dimitrov

Founder and CEO, Laundryheap

Deyan is the founder and CEO of Laundryheap: the world’s leading on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning service. Established in 2014, Laundryheap is a service that collects, cleans, and delivers fresh laundry and dry cleaning in just 24 hours. Deyan set up Laundryheap after standing outside a closed drycleaners, having missed his collection slot and with his suit on the wrong side of the doors. He was frustrated by the lack of options available and was inspired to build a new solution. Deyan has successfully bootstrapped and scaled Laundryheap to become the world’s leading on-demand dry-cleaning service. The business now operates across Europe, the USA, the Middle East, and Asia. The company is ranked the 18th fastest growing tech company in the UK by Deloitte and was featured as one of the Financial Times’ fastest-growing companies in Europe. 
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