During 2020 the world was shaken to its core. However, every crisis has also its opportunities and disruptive ideas. I collected and curated the ones that will likely outlast the pandemic. As the world is getting back on its feet, there has never been a better time to start a business.
Home delivered food became a norm during the pandemic. The 4 food delivery market leaders in the U.S. increased their revenue over 2x (even though their profitability is still questionable).
However, people are now used to getting restaurant-quality food to their doorsteps in 15-30 minutes. The demand will stay high even post-COVID.
The new decade will require a new set of skills: data analysis & visualization, no code/low code, automation, machine learning and cybersecurity are among the core skills that many employees will be expected to handle (at least on a basic level) during the next 5-10 years.
Many are also fed up with the obscene tuition fees that many universities charge. The no-degree programs are a part-answer to this. They are built on the fact that all materials are already online or that core subjects can be taught at a fraction of the cost when compared to traditional education.
Work will never be the same again. Work and location will unbundle: countries will compete for the best remote talent.
Work-from-home kits make it easy to furnish a home office.
Talent marketplaces enable employees to work flexibly for multiple employers at the same time. Pay varies from $35/h to $200/h depending on the project, experience and the client.
Talent marketplaces will become a focal point of human resources management in the future. They also allow people not to be reliant on only one source of income.
Lemon.io is for developers.
Field Engineer is for engineers.
99designs is for designers.
More platforms here. The catch is that the professional platforms usually have a vetting process and typically only let 1-10% of the best talent in.
In the future most companies will maintain a small core workforce and hire the rest of the talent on-demand. And not just individual talent: it’s already possible to build entire teams on-demand as well.
Traditional gyms have weaknesses: they are usually packed with people, vulnerable to shutdowns during a pandemic and always located at a distance.
Remote fitness solves those problems. You can exercise when it fits your schedule and from the comfort of your home.
While people will unlikely abandon traditional gyms completely, 75% of people say that they will retain a virtual component in their training even after the crisis.
[Pro] Domestic travel
As the world opens up, domestic travel is likely to rebound faster than international travel – domestic travel will likely reach pre-COVID levels already in 2022.
People still have the desire for adventures and to discover new places. For now, it’s more convenient to do that closer to home: fewer travel restrictions and more substitutes for air travel.
Example opportunities in the domestic travel space include local tours, motorhome rentals, and last-minute cottage holidays.
[Pro] Cleaning & Disinfecting
Demand for better hygiene is here to stay. For example, global sales of surface disinfectants surged 30% in 2020.
Properly disinfected and sanitized environments became a minimum standard during the crisis. Cleaning methods have shied from reactive to preventive.
Plenty of opportunities for specialized cleaning and supplying disinfectants in diﬀerent industries: healthcare, restaurants, oﬀices, movie theaters, festivals and so forth.
Equipment trends include air purifiers, contactless tech and UV-light sanitizers.
[Pro] Virtual Events
Virtual events were a $78 billion market even before 2020. Year-to-year growth is expected to be 23.2% annually between 2020-2027.
It’s the same phenomenon as with remote work: aer the crisis no one will even remember that events used to be mostly on the spot.
Some events will remain 100% virtual. Most will likely go hybrid.
Virtual events can charge good money. Collision charges $149 for regular and $999 for VIP access. MicroConf oﬀers video access to past event recordings for $35. Indie Worldwide sells a year of founder matches for $80.
[Pro] Household Plants
There are many reasons which explain this trend. It’s a simple hobby which is easy to start but can take a lifetime to master. Indoor plants also act as a decorative element. There are also health benefits.
[Pro] Remote Health
Remote health providers have seen 50-175x the patients using their services when compared to pre-COVID era.
Most companies have great physical healthcare benefits but still lack options for mental wellness. The strain of COVID-19 on mental health will only accelerate this demand.
Possible other opportunities:
- Mental health services for solopreneurs.
- A course to help new founders fight impostor syndrome.
- Solve the problem of enormous amount of wasted time and lost focus on social media.
[Pro] Online Shopping
Think you missed the e-commerce train? Think again – things are likely just getting started.
40% of the companies surveyed by McKinsey reported that they’re not even moderately prepared to capture the potential growth in e-commerce.
There are still countless of businesses with very rudimentary landing pages, no SEO, no optimized sales funnels or no possibility to buy online. Help these companies to untap the potential of online sales.
[Pro] Benefit Corporations
There are already 3,500+ oﬀicially certified benefit corporations globally and the number is rising. The idea of a benefit corporation is to prioritize social and environmental benefits in addition to shareholder profits and income.
As interest in benefit corporations stays high, it might be a good idea to start a consultancy helping companies to go through the certification process.
One aspect of getting certified is having a plan for carbon neutrality. Start a carbon oﬀsetting service or help companies create a comprehensive plan to achieve carbon neutrality 2030 or earlier.
[Pro] Refurbished Products
COVID-19 put millions out of work and lowered their income. At the same time, recycling and circularity are megatrends aﬀecting all industries.
Refurbished electronics are no exception: if you don’t need the latest tech, you can get a smart phone, tablet or a PC 50-70% oﬀ.
But it doesn’t have to be just electronics. Circularity as a trend applies to all products. How about refurbished furniture, clothes or apartments?
[Pro] Creator Economy
COVID locked us up in our homes. Many side projects were started: newsletters, podcasts, art, music, video, ebooks…
This was an acceleration of an underlying trend: more and more ordinary people can earn a supplementary income from creating digital products and services.
But these people need help to stand out from the masses: only a tiny fraction (0.5-2%) of creators usually earn any meaningful money from their creations.
How to help people:
- Create a no-design tool to help non-artistic creators to bootstrap their brand
- Help people spread the word on the right platforms.
- Start a paid creator community to elevate people to success and gather feedback from peers.
Automation is a huge trend that is not directly related to COVID. But everyday automation has definitely been a trending topic during the pandemic.
RPA consultancies have popped up in huge numbers during the last 1-2 years. But when thinking about the number of potential processes to be automated (hint: it’s an insanely high number), there’s no shortage of automation work in sight.
The cost structure of RPA can be a deal breaker for small businesses. Many licenses start from yearly fees of $2k-$5k. There’s a good opportunity to oﬀer RPA services to micro businesses using open-source solutions or good old scripting.