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There are opportunities in a crisis…

Diane Hall


Opportunity words on a phone screen

The pandemic has been brutal to most businesses. Pubs, restaurants, the travel industry…I could cite more examples of sectors that have been hugely impacted by social distancing rules and the restrictions of various lockdowns.

However, some businesses—even when we were all practically under house arrest—flourished in the same situation.

It’s a business rule: there are always opportunities in every crisis.

Imagine you made disposable face masks before March 2020: in the pandemic, your market will have opened up from just the healthcare sector to…everyone in the whole world. If you didn’t realise greater profits during this time, you were doing something wrong.

This is an obvious example, but there are plenty of them.

In a global crisis and a fragile economy people tend to lose their jobs. Due to this loss of income, they could struggle to pay their mortgage. Worst-case scenario could see their house repossessed. Financial professionals, lawyers, conveyancers and eviction/enforcement officers make a killing from other people’s unfortunate circumstances. On a similar note, estate agents typically enjoy a boom as people are forced to downsize or move to different areas for available work in a crisis.

There are few jobs for life, but if ever there was one, it’s anyone associated with death. After all, it’s the only thing we’re guaranteed to do when we appear on this earth. Funeral directors, gravediggers and embalmers may not be desirable careers but they’re very secure jobs.

It’s not quite as straightforward, as there are a lot of caveats, but in theory, working in the food industry is another safe bet. Look at the surge in profits supermarkets enjoyed during the early part of the pandemic. Firstly, we all need to eat to survive, and secondly, it was the only thing we were allowed to do! Rather than pulling down their shutters and giving up, many restaurants and pubs saw opportunities when they weren’t allowed to open in their usual manner; they diversified during the various lockdowns and got their food to their customers via take-out and delivery.

As a result of the schools also being ordered to shut their doors in the early days of the pandemic, worried parents panicked at the thought that their offspring’s education could suffer. Private tutors of all subjects were in high demand as a result. Sessions, thanks to technology, could be delivered virtually and presented no health risk.

People Celebrating going to the Gym

People Celebrating going to the Gym

The desire to keep fit developed over the last few decades. Gyms became popular and home exercise equipment established a market. Stuck at home in the pandemic, with nothing to do but work out or eat your body weight in chocolate, it’s perhaps no surprise that the fitness enthusiasts amongst us chose the former. Subscriptions for online fitness classes soared, and once lockdown restrictions were lifted appropriately, personal fitness trainers became very popular indeed.

The wealthier amongst us probably didn’t suffer too much when the economy became another casualty of coronavirus. That’s not to say they were unaffected, but with the cushion of significant assets and savings behind them, they were certainly less likely to panic about their survival than someone facing redundancy or eviction. Financial consultants likely picked up a lot of work during the last eighteen months as the people with investment portfolios assessed if these were still appropriate, or if they required a cash sum withdrawing from their funds.

The majority of company owners moved as much of their business as they could online once the pandemic took hold. The question of security kept technical support professionals busy. Some businesses may have had to revisit the design and navigation of their websites to enable online transactions, whilst others needed tech support to open channels/methods of communication between them and their customer.

Whether the next crisis waiting in the wings would bring the same opportunities is yet to be seen. For instance, tech professionals and online fitness sessions wouldn’t have featured in this article had it been written three decades ago. The world continues to turn and evolve, whatever the crisis. If you’re savvy and understand changing market forces, you’ll be able to recognise the opportunities within each.

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