As COVID-19 celebrated its one year anniversary, we dwelled upon how much has changed in the last year. Upside-down is an understatement, the world has turned 360 degrees, reversed and then turned again. From travel to schools, colleges to restaurants and hotels, nothing is as we knew it. The global economic recession has shut down businesses and locked everyone in the confines of their homes. But the pandemic did open some doors, it forced everyone to be innovative in order to be productive.
As work-from-home became a norm, it sparked many ideas in the minds of homebirds. From running home-bakeries to taking online classes, YouTube concerts to Instagram talk shows, people have found creative ways to engage with others. Apart from using technology, the lockdown has also allowed small businesses to crop up in different parts of the world. Ideas that can be carried out with passion and not so many resources are accumulating customers and helping the economy grow slowly.
You may wonder – new businesses in the time of COVID, is that even possible?
Surprisingly, yes. There are two main reasons for this –
- Changing Times = Changing Customer Needs
At the core of any business idea is the intention to fill a gap, to satisfy a need. As the world undergoes change in its very fabric, there are huge changes in the functioning of everyday life. This change can be a boon for businesses who want to offer creative solutions. A good example of this is remote fitness training being offered by online coaches showing people that they don’t always need to step out of their homes to be fit.
- Less Competition for Resources
With companies shutting shop, the gap between demand and supply of resources has been increasing. The supply has continued with the demand having gone down. Landlords are scrambling to fill empty spaces, it is easier to get a loan on a lesser rate of interest, etc. This reduction in competition can allow small businesses to attempt investment without needing very deep pockets.
Determining the scope of growth is the first step to launching that business you’ve always wanted to. For example, during this pandemic, educating children, working from home, buying groceries, delivering goods, getting a haircut, seeing doctors / therapists, cleaning the house professionally, entertaining yourself, etc., are common challenges people have been facing. If your idea can solve an existing problem, it is probably a good one.
Not always do audiences in smaller towns have access, funds or knowledge of the bigger conglomerates. However, having a good grocer in the neighborhood who will deliver home or a good doctor who will consult online are benefits that they will appreciate. As a doctor or the owner of a grocery store, you can tap into these needs and expand your business.
At the same time, it is important to recognize that not all business ideas will be in it for the long haul. Some are opportunistic, making a quick buck by tapping into current needs. Janitorial service companies that are offering home cleaning, sanitisation, etc., are harnessing people’s panic about cleanliness during this time. Similarly, a number of designers and home based tailors are making stylish masks that can be used everyday while protecting you from the virus. Many other business ideas like these may not last in the next decade. The beauty of it is that both types of businesses are necessary and needed.
To sum up, if you have a product or service that fulfils a current need, the intention and support to start a business and the resources to spread the word, make a plan and take the plunge.
- By Mr. Vikram Kumar, Co-Founder & Managing Director, SRV Media Pvt. Ltd.