While the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic was treated as the arrival of a crisis in many parts of the world. The pragmatic in Zimbabwe said that COVID-19 is a crisis within a crisis for Zimbabwe. We saw this as attempts to lock down the country have exposed weaknesses in many of our systems and also in the incomes of many more. While it is easy to point to COVID-19 as an example of a crisis we should use our wider experience to inform some of our decisions. These business ideas represent those which have thrived through many different crises.
Professional services related to services offered by highly qualified individuals or organisations. These services are usually used by businesses of all sizes. The reason why these work so well in a crisis is that a crisis represents not only a shift of focus but also a shift of wealth. Many will see the crisis as an opportunity to start a business or try something new. These individuals or businesses will require professional services such as accounting, web development, legal services, a consultancy in various business areas and more. This is your opportunity to strike if you possess any of these skills.
The food here refers to grocery items. This is perhaps more typical of the sort of crises we have faced in Zimbabwe but every crisis comes with a few opportunities in food. Fresh produce, meat, dry goods are some of the areas that benefit in times of crisis. If you have skills or the strategic capability you can make a fortune in this area. The problem being faced by your potential clients varies with the nature of the crisis; it may be affordability or an access issue. You just to have to identify it correctly and offer the best solution. With lockdown in the pandemic that solution has been bringing food to people as it was in 2008.
Food also does well as prepared ready to eat food in a crisis. Crises come with many different complications and if you can offer people a solution that improves convenience sufficiently you will have a winner. The best thing about prepared food the purchase behaviour is habitual so unlike other business ideas which will wither away if and when the crisis ends, this one will weather beyond that. Prepared food also has a very wide range to choose from and even niches. From vegetarian meals, speciality cakes, pizza delivery and many more. In the current crisis delivering these works best.
Support services refer to activities a business needs to operate but can be outsourced without affecting the business performance. Take for example logistics for delivery. These services work well in a crisis because many businesses will look to cut down expenditure and one way of doing so is shrinking or eliminating the expenditure on support services in the business. These include functions such as Human Resource Management, After-sales service, sales, advertising and the aforementioned logistics. You can swoop in as a partner providing ancillary support or take over the entire function.
Crisis fighters are things which deal with the crisis. In the case of COVID-19, this is the supply of Protective equipment and hygiene agents such as sanitisers. Fighting on the front line of the crisis can be very rewarding especially for those who are taking advantage of strategic capability they had all along. However new entrants can still find their way to profitability. We had roughly 3 months warning before COVID-19 became a concern for us and while no one could say for sure it would a small investment in preparation could have paid off huge.
Never waste a good crisis as the adage goes. Of course, it is not easy to find and mobilise great ideas while the world or your country is living in dire fear. But, when has succeeding ever been easy?