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As entrepreneurs and business owners, we do our best to plan for the future. But no matter how much we try to prepare ourselves for the unexpected, none of us could have predicted, nor prepared for, the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis it has created.
Roughly eight months into the pandemic, our plans—both in business and in life—have drastically changed. We’re continually being challenged like never before. As human beings, we’re first focused on keeping our families safe and healthy; and as entrepreneurs, we’re tasked with the daunting challenge of navigating these uncharted waters and figuring out how to keep our businesses running.
With all of this turmoil, it’s also important to understand that it’s times like these—times of crisis—in which some of the greatest business opportunities are presented.
The crisis has shaken everything up at breakneck speed, from the shifting patterns in commerce to changes in consumer behavior, and with it, some amazing opportunities are being born. For those of us who recognize the opportunity in front of us and actively seize it, the benefits will be enormous.
Simply put, some of the greatest business success stories will be made during this crisis, either by making a great pivot in an existing business or by creating a new business built on the latest demands created by what will become our “new normal.”
Given the dramatic changes in our lifestyles, consumer purchasing interests have changed drastically, and with that, we’re seeing surges in existing product categories driven by the pandemic, in addition to the meteoric rise of new categories, as well.
Take, for example, outdoor gear. With so many of us sheltering in place and remaining socially distant for the majority of 2020, “staycations” quickly became the new normal. Those of us who wanted to “get away” over the summer without risking our health (or that of others) began purchasing camping equipment, bikes and paddle sports accessories like never before. In June alone, camping equipment sales increased 31 percent over the previous year, reaching $605 million in sales that month.
Consumer behavior and buying patterns like these have changed radically since the onset of the crisis, creating opportunity for new business ventures. The way customers shop is changing, as well, with a drastic dependence on e-commerce. The bottom line is that what customers are shopping for has changed, and how they shop has also changed, and it’s up to us as entrepreneurs to meet those customers where they are.
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to explore an idea in these newly popular verticals or a veteran entrepreneur looking to change your existing business model, now is the time to seize that opportunity.
The pandemic has brought incredible change and tragedy, but also tremendous opportunity for us to learn. The businesses that facilitate these transformations, like embracing e-commerce and changing consumer trends, will be the ones to prevail.
The reshaping of cultural and societal norms is swinging the door to opportunity wide open. In the midst of this global crisis, for entrepreneurs, this is not the time to cower and retreat.
Now is the time to be bold and seize the opportunities emerging all around us.