How Entrepreneurs Can Find Business Opportunities during a Pandemic and a Recession

by Edgar R. Olivo

Having worked with countless entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries and sizes, I’ve seen that resiliency and grit are the cornerstones to every successful venture, and when it comes to starting over, in my opinion, entrepreneurs may be the best at pivoting under challenging times.

But with all the bad news flooding our screens about the state of our public health and economy, seeing through to the other side of the forest can be a hard thing to do when you are forced to pivot all your plans. A critical ability most successful entrepreneurial-minded people have is to see opportunities in challenging and unprecedented times.

Launching a business to meet the needs of today will require entrepreneurs to spend more time looking ahead and reflect deeper about their next move. Now is the time to reflect on new opportunities — think “essential” and “digital” to launch a business that is pandemic- and recession-proof.

Many skilled workers have turned to freelance work, which is another and common form of starting a small business. Recently, Fiverr, a freelance services platform, released figures on its stock, which rose more than 250 percent in the first half of this year. To what can we attribute the rise of freelance work? Many links can be made due to the acceleration of technology, artificial intelligence and automation. However, according to Fiverr, companies are turning to freelancers because they can expand more quickly with greater flexibility than full-time workers. The last recession gave rise to freelance workers and today’s conditions appear to be doing it again.

Where can entrepreneurs find opportunities?

Opportunities are everywhere — entrepreneurs have to know how to recognize them to seize them.

Before digging into market research, ask yourself this question first: “What do people need during a health and economic crisis?” The first clues are in the words “health” and “economic.” Then ask yourself, “What skills do I have? What skills do I want or need to learn?”

To start uncovering the needs of the market, go online! There are so many great tools available to help gauge what the market needs. But, proceed with caution. We still do not have a clear picture of what the lasting impacts of the pandemic and economic fallout will be, but entrepreneurs can start small and scale as they see success in their new niche.

Here is a quick list of where to study the market to uncover opportunities:

  • Google Search Trends
  • News Reports
  • Economic Reports
  • Climate Reports
  • Health Reports
  • International Trade Deals
  • Emerging Global Markets
  • Technology Acceleration and Innovation
  • Local Government Resources and Grants

Understanding how companies and governments move can serve to protect you physically and financially as we all navigate uncharted waters. As with any investment opportunity, entrepreneurs will need to have enough financial resources to build up while controlling the outflows and maximizing their inflows of revenue to survive.

As we see today, any business that provides a solution to help keep the lives of the population running while they remain in isolation is a proven business model that works.

Here is a quick list, in no particular order, of the top products and services where money is currently flowing:

  • Hand Sanitizers, Masks, Temperature Devices, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Home Essentials and Improvement
  • Medical Laboratories, Hospitals, Pharmacy
  • Home and Food Delivery Services
  • Grocery Stores, Tech/Office Product Retail
  • Blogging, Influencer and Digital Marketing
  • Virtual Services and Online Education (Legal, Financial, Education, Healthcare, Fitness, Entertainment)
  • Software as a service (SaaS), Coding, Website Design
  • Professional Writing, Editing, Curriculum Design
  • Logistics & Transportation Companies
  • Trash Collection, Laundry Services, Landscaping
  • Hardware Stores
  • Security Services
  • Utility Services
  • Janitorial, Cleaning & Disinfecting Services
  • Pet Products and Services
  • Home Beauty
  • Entertainment and Gaming

The time to look for opportunities is now. With any extra time, an entrepreneur can work on rebuilding a website, create new systems, talk to customers, upgrade equipment and create new product offerings. Another recommendation is to take advantage of remote work. It is safer, more productive and can come with more compensation and greater lifestyle flexibility.

It is always good business practice to listen to what your customers need to uncover opportunities from within an existing business. Entrepreneurs who actively study the market will have an advantage in seizing opportunities in the ever-changing landscape of our economy.

EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a non-profit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.

Para la versión en inglés de este artículo, haga clic aquí.

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