We live in strange times. When I write those lines we are in full confinement. We don’t know how long we’ll be locked up. We can imagine that when we can go out we will not be able to neglect ourselves. That pandemic is going to affect our lives for many months, predictably. Let’s see some business ideas to overcome this situation in the short, medium and long term.
Solutions for the Short Term and Confinement
While most businesses are having a very bad time due to the health situation, some activities are flourishing. I am going to give three examples of companies for whom this pandemic is a business opportunity.
Online Leisure Platforms
Board Game Arena has had to limit access to Premium customer’s online board game platform because it could not cope with daily player traffic. Since the paid service is reasonably priced, they have attracted a ton of new subscribers. And yes, I cite the example because I am one of them.
Of course, streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime or the newcomer Disney will be experiencing an increase in the number of subscribers, although I have no data on this.
The same will happen with online sports classes. Many gyms offer their subscribers this service to not lose shape despite the quarantine.
E-Commerce Is Booming
Social distancing is causing huge growth in online sales, mainly for supermarkets, but also for other sites, Amazon in the lead.
The demand is such that companies like Carrefour have had to set up a virtual queue system. Specifically, they make you have to wait for your turn for a couple of hours and if you get lost start over.
Online sports stores have also had a big increase in sales. In most, there are not many products to do sports at home. The same goes for Amazon or AliExpress. With the high demand the terms have been greatly extended.
Webinars and online classes were already booming activities in recent years. The current situation makes virtual classes the only ones available for an indefinite time.
For many tutoring teachers, lockdown may have been a problem and led to many classes’ cancellation. However, it is also an opportunity to bring current customers to digital format and video conferencing. In the long run, it is much more profitable and practical. Time is no longer wasted on last minute trips and cancellations.
Medium-Term Solutions While the Threat Lasts
When we can get out of our houses, the danger will not be gone. We may have to live for many months with the risk of new outbreaks. And that is going to modify our behaviors, at least for a time.
Masks do work in this type of epidemic. If everyone wears them, the risk of emitting infectious saliva droplets towards others is greatly reduced. For this reason, I think it is very likely that when we can leave the house they will force us to wear them for a while.
But, it must be recognized that most of the masks are very ugly. So there is possibly a market to be able to sell a health accessory that also has a fashionable design.
Leisure at Home
Many people may also prefer to host events at home by going out to clubs, bars, and restaurants. That could lead to interesting business opportunities for various services, such as food and beverage delivery, catering, or any other type of home delivery service.
Long-Term Solutions to Avoid Other Pandemics
A crisis like the one we are experiencing should teach us to prepare for the next time. For years experts and philanthropists like Bill Gates have warned of the risk and until now we had not listened to them. There are many things to invent.
Detection and Monitoring Systems Based On Big Data
Information is power. And in the case of new viruses, the sooner you know what is happening, the sooner you can act. I think there may be business opportunities for companies that are capable of developing viral threat detection and monitoring models. What’s more, perhaps we can learn more from that experience and reduce the impact of seasonal flu epidemics.
Equipment and Technology to Fight the Next Virus
In a TED talk a few years ago that went viral lately; Bill Gates compared the threat of war to that of viruses. It seems like a very successful comparison. All countries have highly prepared armies, although in most cases they haven’t had to fight a war in decades. Why do we still have armies? Because the threat is always there.
The same should happen with viruses. Every now and then a virus more deadly than average will appear, likes this one. We do not know if it will be tomorrow or in 20 years. But we know that it will happen. The world is so interconnected that any virus can spread very fast. Closing entire countries has a huge economic cost, much greater than being prepared. That is why we should have people and teams ready.
To be honest, I don’t know what kind of services and technology are needed in those cases. But I know that there is a very important market, not just for multinational pharmaceutical companies. There is also a site for startups and innovative entrepreneurs, to propose efficient solutions.