The devastation being created by the rise of COVID-19 is unprecedented in modern history. Given the toll it’s taking on the economy, mental health, and life itself, it’s difficult for even the most optimistic among us to remain that way. So this is not a post about why a grieving family, a frontline healthcare worker, or anyone in such a situation should feel any better. For many, there is little if any silver lining.
All of that being said, with every crisis comes opportunity. Periods of instability and change often provide fertile ground for innovation, investment, and evolution. And so, in an effort to focus on the positive, let’s discuss some of the financial and professional opportunities:
Many businesses already involved in or thinking about entering the healthcare industry will suddenly discover exponentially higher demand for innovative products and solutions. This is most true of mental health, since even those who are physically unaffected by COVID-19 are likely to feel the effects of it economically and socially. It is rare to have the opportunity to solve problems that are truly meaningful for humanity and achieve commercial or professional success in the process. But suddenly, those opportunities are plentiful.
It’s true that markets have tumbled. And it’s true they may remain depressed for quite a while - possibly even tumble much further. But as history has always demonstrated, the best time to invest for the long-term is after a crisis in the short-term. Markets will eventually rise again, and when they do, where we’re at today will be much closer to the valley than the peak. If you’re not living paycheck to paycheck and are reasonably secure financially, now is the time to pad your 401K, invest in some stocks, start the process on purchasing that new property, etc.
Research and reflection
With everyone essentially confined to their homes right now, society itself is in the most literal sense of the word a captive audience. Yes, people are still busy, but they are also craving outlets for conversation and mental stimulation. And so, for any business - small or large - that needs to engage in market research, user testing, etc, now is an excellent time to double down.
New revenue streams
For businesses that have relied for too long on channels requiring physical presence, now is a great time to get innovative quickly. For those that survive, they will find that once things return to normal, they are able to juice revenues far higher than before the crisis thanks to a multi-channel strategy. Some examples of businesses that can transform themselves for the better in this time include:
- Any company overly reliant on outside sales. Some are leaning heavily into ecommerce.
- Live performers and venues. A few of my favorites are now live streaming shows.
- Local restaurants and bakeries. Many are moving into internet ordering paired with takeout and delivery.
- Local shops. Some are leveraging the good will and interest of the local community to make their wares available for shipping. The smartest are bootstrapping subscription and loyalty programs.
If you’re running a business that is able to offer remote as an option and haven’t been, you just may be find that it’s something you can warm up to after all. It’s a compelling way to hire the best talent regardless of location and also save a massive amount of capital on physical office space and the like.
If you’re an employee in the knowledge economy and haven’t worked remotely much in the past, you just may find you’re enjoying the perks. There are a lot of companies out there that have worked remotely for years and many more that will begin doing so to some extent after COVID-19 is a thing of the past. This is a great time to test drive remote work and decide if it’s for you on a more permanent basis.