As lockdown eases, the economy is gaining some momentum but GDP fell by a record 20.4% in April 2020 and it will take us some time to recover even if our R rate keeps declining. We’re starting to see what a “new normal” might look like so what business opportunities are there that exist around this?
Three strategies for starting a business in a recession
With unemployment predicted to double, many may consider starting their own business, possibly starting to work on it while on furlough.
There are certainly opportunities to come out of a recession, particularly one that has come about so unexpectedly and drastically because it opens up new problems that need solving. There are also tried-and-tested recession-proof businesses that can thrive during times of economic hardship.
When you have your idea think about your strategy for selling it. Three options are:
- Have a strong purpose
Having a strong purpose or “why” is a great idea whether there is a recession or not. It can create differentiation, competitive advantage and brand loyalty.
- Make it cheap
In general, people will have less money to spend and will be looking for cheaper alternatives to things they used to be able to afford.
- Make it long-lasting
People know if they buy cheap, they buy twice so there are always some trends in recessions to spend a bit more on higher-quality items particularly if this is something you need to last for a long time and that you will be getting more use out of, for example, garden furniture, cooking equipment or home decor.
10 business ideas for a post-Covid-19 world
Covid-19 has brought about an enormous amount of lifestyle changes from spending more time outdoors to spending more time online. These business ideas resonate with these changes, filling the gaps and solving some of the problems that have been created by the pandemic.
More specifically, bike repairs, but really any repairs as people will more often choose to mend old things (cars, clothes, electricals) instead of buying new. We’ve gone bike crazy since coronavirus came along to the point they actually sold out. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is working on getting us better cycle lanes and many people will choose to travel by bike over public transport for the longer term.
Bike repairs and servicing will be needed for all these bikes and would be a cheap business to set up if you have the skills. You could even do mobile bike repairs (which could be your USP – pick up and drop back to their home or work) so you wouldn’t need a customer-facing workshop.
2. Online teaching
Homeschooling has made every parent appreciate teachers a lot more and has also increased the sales of gin and tonic. Online learning was already booming and that is only set to keep growing.
Think about how you could transfer what you already do or skills you have to be taught online. Things that work well include health and fitness, crafts, music, school tutoring, business skills, beauty tips and life coaching.
3. The great outdoors
One of the positives about lockdown has been the weather! If you’re lucky enough to have a garden you’ve probably been spending a bit more time in it than usual. And if you work outdoors, it’s likely that your work hasn’t been as affected as it might’ve been.
People want beautiful gardens to spend their time in now more than ever and they also aren’t as anxious about letting people into work on their gardens for landscaping and outdoor maintenance as they would be inside their homes. If you don’t have green fingers, can you set up an outside version of another business like personal training?
4. Virtual assistant
Virtual assistants offer their remote services to companies and business people to help make their lives more efficient. If you have great communication skills, a business mind and are super organised it could be a natural fit for you.
Services you can offer include (but are by no means limited to) customer support, calendar management, website maintenance, email marketing, blog writing, research, social media management.
5. Digital marketing
A company’s online presence is more important than ever with many trying to shift more of their products and services online. This will result in the online marketplace being even more crowded and websites will need an excellent mix of paid search, search engine optimisation and content marketing to drive traffic and conversions.
If you have skills in these areas then freelancing directly for clients or on behalf of agencies would be a strong business idea. Consider specialising in one service or industry to really stand out as an expert in your field and know where to target your own marketing.
6. Cleaning services
The staycation is back and it’s here to stay. And with it will come thousands of Airbnb rooms and holiday homes that will need cleaning. Really well. Set up a business that’s a lean, mean, cleaning machine and you could be the cat that got the cream.
7. Drive-in movies
We stare at them in envy on American TV shows although they never took off in the UK but now could be the chance. It would be the perfect way for a family to get out of the house and enjoy an activity together while being able to social distance. Don’t forget you’ll need roller-skating waiters to deliver the drinks, popcorn and hotdogs though!
8. Online shopping
Despite Amazon holding a pretty big stake in the e-commerce arena, there are still opportunities to be had if you don’t try and compete directly with them. Subscription models (where customers sign up for something to be sent to them at regular intervals) can generate you a recurring income while providing a convenient or sought after product for customers. This could be toilet rolls, a hair dying kit or a treat box.
Choose a niche and don’t spend huge amounts on stock before you have tried and tested that it sells. Or reduce the risk further by becoming a drop shipper (where a manufacturer, wholesaler or another retailer dispatches the product for you but you market it) or an affiliate marketer (where you make money online by getting commission from sending customers to other people’s websites).
9. Working from home life
Working from home has become kind of a big deal around here with any imminent returns to the office either being off the cards entirely or being phased. A lot of businesses are bound to look at closing or reducing their office space to save money. And many people working from home who would normally be in an office have found themselves saving money too on commuting, flat whites, fancy lunches and after-work wines. Could you deliver them a home working win? Tasty sandwiches, their weekly coffee bean count, working from home loungewear that looks smart from the waist up or an ergonomics stand.
10. Getting healthy at home
The lockdown paradox seems to have been that people have either been rammed with work or really quiet. Similarly, people have either got super fit or done zero exercise. One thing you can guarantee is that everyone has baked banana bread. And everyone will either want to continue with their fitness streak or turn their unhealthy lifestyle around. Here’s where you could help with home workout equipment or a juice diet delivery programme.
If you have always been keen to start a business then now is as good a time as any. Life’s landscape has shifted so dramatically that it has left many cracks and gaps that need filling and clear problems that need solving. Look for the ways you can help people with the skills you have and you’ll get closer to your lightbulb moment.
Some of these ideas have more longevity than others and some will require you to move quickly to take advantage of the current climate. Work out how you can speedily test the market with a minimum viable product and don’t be afraid of failure.
Think you’re ready to get started? Read our guide: How to start to a business in 20 days