Could this Pandemic Create New Business Opportunities?

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For most businesses now is a time of caution and uncertainty. Mitigation and emergency planning is likely underway. The CDC has provided solid guidance and new information is forthcoming daily. Communication Plans are being rolled-out and revised as needed. Travel and meetings are being curtailed. Disruption may become the new normal for the next few months.

Road sign that reads, "Uncertainty Just Ahead" with a background of storm clouds.

Alexander Fleming, the Nobel Prize winner who invented Penicillin, is quoted as saying:

“The unprepared mind cannot see the outstretched hand of opportunity.”

More people will be working from home, face to face meetings will be limited, and large gatherings will be avoided as well as travel to those meetings or gatherings. Working from home can be challenging for people who are not accustomed to it so helping them make the transition may be very important to your financial bottom line.

Collaboration tools such as Slack, Basecamp, and Asana can help maintain productivity and foster necessary interaction. Some tools include video conferencing, but even so, having tools like Zoom or Webex can help both internally and externally. Seeing the person you are speaking with helps increase engagement and lead to more effective communication by spotting nuances such as facial expressions that could otherwise be missed.

Tools that are secure, are easy to implement (cloud-based solutions have an advantage here), and are easy to learn and use can be a cost-effective way to keep your business on-track. An additional benefit could be the creation of an effective distributed workforce.

But wait, there is more!

There may be important projects that you could pull in and start now. That is another means of keeping your teams engaged and focused. This could also be an opportunity to enhance skills with online training or to conduct research on new technologies or business models.

This could also be a great time to buy and sell products and services. Business demands could temporarily decrease in many market segments.

  • Sales organizations could leverage that as an opportunity to provide appealing offers to your customers and prospects.
  • Buyers could leverage their ability to quickly purchase products and services to secure better deals during this lull in business.

Reasonable concessions are mutually beneficial and could be a boon for both parties.

Negative events like a pandemic are not ideal and should not be taken lightly, but they can provide opportunities to advance your business and be positioned for even greater success once this situation is under control. It is like that wise old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

2 thoughts on “Could this Pandemic Create New Business Opportunities?

    Jim said:
    March 15, 2020 at 10:51 am

    While this IS a time to focus company teams on how to be creative and innovative, any thoughts that it is a business opportunity are unhelpful. Sorry.


      Chip Nickolett responded:
      March 15, 2020 at 11:46 am

      I believe that this is a matter of perspective. While it is NOT the time to take advantage of anyone or anything, leadership an any organization needs to understand and prioritize needs (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and act accordingly.

      Once the Physiological and Safety needs have been addressed then helping ensure that remote teams can work effectively is good for employees, customers, and the business. That can provide the sense of belonging and purpose that helps keep people in a more positive frame of mind. It provides an opportunity for people to step-up and contribute ideas and more – fostering respect and self-esteem, and providing positive examples for others. And using some of the time for training, coaching, etc. can improve skills and help each person grow and achieve more – which are good investments that people make in themselves and companies make in their employees.

      Having purpose and opportunities to grow beats sitting around and worrying about things. And, if you come out a month or two later with an improved team, new ideas, new products, etc. it is very possible to get a jump on your competition. I personally do not see any downside to this idea or approach.

      Much of what I wrote about here is similar to what I did with my own company after 9/11. That was a very tough time and it was easy to focus on the bad with 24×7 news coverage. As a team we decided to donate a percentage of revenue to a couple of charities, and for every new project we made a donation to a charity in the customer’s name. People had a purpose that was also a useful distraction. Customers appreciated our focus on both helping them and helping others. It was a win-win at a time when other businesses saw an immediate decline in business that lasted for several months.

      And, going back to your original comment, taking time to focus company teams on how to be creative and innovative IS a business opportunity. So many companies are focused on the day-to-day activities that they forget to invest in the future. If they do nothing more than make that investment now their business should benefit, especially relative to trying to maintain the status quo.

      Thank you for your opinion!



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