CEO of Thrive Bioscience, Tom Farb-Horch, delivers his thoughts on the best company strategy, stakeholder engagement, and personal demeanor.
CEO of Thrive Bioscience and NSIV board member, Thomas Farb-Horch, talked about navigating through a crisis at last week’s virtual CEO seminar. Thrive Bioscience is an NSIV graduate that just closed on a $2.8M financing round. Farb drew upon his success with Thrive Bioscience, as well as his experiences in nine other startup companies he founded, to deliver his thoughts on the best practices to navigate through a crisis. “A crisis is a horrible thing to waste,” said Farb.
Farb touched upon three elements: company strategy, stakeholder engagement, and personal demeanor.
“Crises are an opportunity for renewal, for change, and getting focused,” said Farb. “Sometimes you get to go back, in a crisis, to the beginning. It’s a chance for renewal; it’s a chance for a restart, a chance to relook at everything, and there’s more allowance for pivoting.”
Farb explained that a crisis allows a company to go back to the fundamentals, to question everything it’s doing, adjust its business plan, and experience a rebirth. Although it’s easy to just focus on how to save money, there is value in crafting a business model that fits with how the industry will be impacted during and after the crisis. Making a plan for the short term and the long term will save money in the end, according to Farb.
“Now is a time for making fast decisions, especially if it’s something you can go back and revisit,” said Farb. “In this whole planning process, you can get very caught up in the weeds. You need to have a really good overview, long term, short term, upside, downside. It must be based on having good information, so it’s really important to spend some time reading and talking to people.” Farb emphasized that information gathering is not a waste of time. It’s important to have good, credible information that allows you to make, and defend, decisions.
In a crisis, Farb explained, how you interact with stakeholders, especially employees, investors, and service providers is important. Stakeholders are watching how you appear and lead; they see when you are being calm and optimistic. Being empathetic towards employees, helping them, and treating employees like family is a great way to boost morale. Treat service providers like employees, because you are more reliant on them during a crisis. You will have to ask for help and you are more likely to get help the better you treat people.
Farb emphasized the importance of honesty, transparency, being detailed and factual with everyone. “Little things become important in a crisis,” said Farb. “I find that crises magnify your strengths and weaknesses, personally and organizationally. Things that you’ve done well will help you.”