Camels Are The New Unicorns

The mythical tech unicorn is stepping aside for the new coveted title – a camel.

The coronavirus pandemic and the countrywide lockdowns have pushed most businesses to a halt, and startups are no less impacted. 

Startups were already starting to see investors tap the breaks after a series of hits on high-profile companies like WeWork when COVID-19 hit. Now, many startups, some of which have received funding with the assurance of rapid growth, are finding that demand is drying up as things come to a halt. 

These hits have raised some big red flags about the approach modeled by “unicorns,” privately held companies with post-money valuations at or above $1B. But the environment is changing, and the unicorn approach is looking unsustainable. 

When the term “unicorn” was created in 2013, it was based on the notion of the likelihood that a startup would reach the $1 billion-plus valuation. And now, the term “unicorn” has evolved to a mindset about how a company grows and chases valuation.

The unicorn mindset definitely looks (and sounds) magical, but economic uncertainty is emerging and challenges are presenting.

And as the economic drought approaches, the arrival of the new unicorn is coming- the “camel.”

So what is the “camel” mindset? These are their key characteristics. 

They are resilient. 

They are prepped for the future and are thoughtful and strategic in their plan for growth. How can you adopt the camel mindset in resiliency? Focus on optimizing stability. Accept that you may have to sacrifice quick growth in order to set yourself up for long-term growth. They are also vigilant. They keep a cautious watch and anticipate possible dangers or difficulties that may approach. 

They are dedicated. 

They are committed to building and strengthening the foundation of their business to ensure deep-rooted success. A big one here? Hiring. A recent count of layoffs since the coronavirus pandemic found that a very high number of unicorn companies had laid off staff. While layoffs may be inevitable, an initial reaction could be implementing a hiring freeze. If it does come down to reducing the size of your team, be intentional, and avoid any knee-jerk reactions that may end in a disadvantage. Then, when it’s time to onboard new team members, be intentional and thoughtful.

They are consumer-oriented. 

A camel will ensure that their business models and products are steered by customer needs. Doing so will automatically assist in making your company more adaptive to a changing economic environment. In times like this, a customer-oriented strategy results in higher profits than a sales-oriented strategy. 

It’s no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic will hit the startup industry and decrease the number of deals, and it’s going to be harder to secure funds than it has been before. The solution? The camel mindset. 

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