It’s still too early to assess the impact of COVID. However, for me personally it’s interesting to watch what’s happening on the market. Such an amount of business pivots (changes to business models) has never been experienced by any economy before – with the exception of two world wars. (If I’m mistaken, I’ll be happy for your insights). Besides the inevitable strategic pivots such as development and production of medical equipment and drugs, there are countless of entirely new business opportunities that appeared in the past couple of months. These opportunities offer not only a way to survive but also a way to discover and secure new sources of revenue. On top of that, it looks like the market is ready to take on them. We all realize we cannot go forward without changes. And the faster ones win. Below are just a few examples of opportunities whose windows COVID swung wide open.
Home office is a benefit that many employees fought for for a long time. Companies often resisted because they deemed it ineffective. It took two months for us to realize that home office is not simply about the comfort of your home and wearing pyjamas all day long but also about much greater mental demands and anxiety with getting your work done. At the same time, companies got proof that it can work. And once they successfully tested it they will certainly want to keep it as one of their benefits. However, what now emerged as an ad hoc emergency solution will need to be set up both procedurally and technically. Opportunities for improvement and new services – be it for employees or employers – are numerous.
COVID made most of us realize that even though work flexibility is important, we won’t switch offices for home office. I personally need a physical office. Even if only for its atmosphere, ability to focus and minimum of distractions. But do we really need to own one? Or is there another wave of sharing opportunities on the horizon? The first one when people started to share cars and apartments was also initiated by a crisis. It was focused primarily on individuals. Now there is a space for sharing among entire companies. They realize they don’t necessarily need to own big expensive office spaces for lots of people who, let’s be honest, never really meet there. Beautiful interiors can be easily shared. Of course there were coworks before COVID. However, it turns out that the potential for new products and services in this area is much greater.
Despite increasing digitalization, the majority of services still required in-person meetings. Take financial consulting for example. Pre-COVID it was impossible to get anything done without meeting face to face with a consultant. Now consultants praise the convenience of remote communication when nobody has to go anywhere and all materials can be shared on screen much better than on paper. It saves hours of time, litres of gas and dozens of trees. But it also brings new challenges that need solutions that were previously “nice to have” at best. Now they are essential in order for the new business to run smoothly. At Direct People we are working on remote signatures or so called e-sign. And there are countless more opportunities. Are you also trying to take on some of them?
I think remote communication can work just as well with purchasing physical products. Emergency measures were a shock to brick-and-mortar shops that previously resisted ecommerce. They had to close their businesses overnight and thus lost all of their customers. However, COVID only uncovered a problem that these stores always had – they could never fully use their market potential. Their target group didn’t have time to come during opening hours and the stores didn’t feel the need to find another way to reach it. I needed to visit a store like this many times before. I can’t go during the day because I’m working. My evening time is very precious and so I simply don’t want to waste it on spending at least an hour on the road with uncertain results. Yet if the store could, as part of an experience, remotely connect me with their physical space and seller – I would take that in a heartbeat. We are working on this solution as well. So if you are interested in this opportunity, get in touch and let’s go through it.
Many companies realize that once the emergency government measures are lifted, they cannot pick up where they left before the crisis hit. Things can no longer be done the way they always were. You need to make up for the suffered losses. That opens windows of opportunity in areas that seemingly did not need change for a really long time. For example companies that have clients and partners in gastronomy or tourism. Only a couple months ago no one wanted to talk to you. (And we know that from a personal experience.) The market was on its peak, the core business performing its very best. Nobody wanted to hear about new solutions or new services for customers. On the contrary, if you come now with a proposition that helps to solve the current problem and also sheds light on the post-COVID future, trust me they will have time! Higher gastronomy that was completely based on physical experience moved to online and households thanks to @RohlikBistro. You can enjoy a dish from Alcron on your couch. While staying inside we can, thanks to Airbnb, take a walk with penguins in Cape Town. New solutions and new sources of revenue for these companies.
COVID opened up new opportunities. Simultaneously it created an environment that is ready to jump to them. The mentality of individuals and companies switched. All the narrow-minded people, who kept saying that this or that change are superfluous and it can’t be done, now simply have no other choice. They must adapt and try new things or old things in a new way. Companies realized the same thing. Business as usual stopped almost overnight for many of them. Old solutions will not be as effective in the “new age”. And so it’s obvious that companies must find new sources of revenue. The sooner the better. Because the speed of learning is the new unfair advantage. Those who cannot do it risk falling out of the game.