10 Ways for Business insights to succeed post-COVID-19

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With unemployment rates matching those of the Great Recession and a new layer of challenges
brought on by social distancing, business closures and supply disruptions, companies must ask: how
will the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis change the world of business? Which new consumer behaviors
will continue once the pandemic ends? What opportunities will emerge for business growth, and
what does that mean for pivoting existing businesses or launching start-ups?

To help spark inspiration, the following lists 10 ways the world can be different after COVID-19 and
how businesses can use these insights to succeed post-pandemic.

1. Regionalized production and supply chains

Companies that depend on supplies from distant sources have struggled to maintain operations
during the pandemic. This is especially true for manufacturers, retailers, and e commerce sellers that
source from faraway places such as China – which supplies 50 to 70% of the world’s copper, iron ore
and nickel.

Moving forward, businesses might seek production and supply chains closer to home. Doing so will
not only help protect against future disruptions, it could result in cost savings due to reduced
shipping and transportation expenses. Saving money and securing against potential disaster are
benefits many companies are likely to explore; at the same time, a revitalized market for
regionalized production and sourcing presents new opportunities for entrepreneurs to pivot towards
or start manufacturing facilities, warehouses, online sourcing platforms and other related

2. Ongoing remote employees

A recent Gartner survey revealed that 74% of CFOs plan to shift some employees to permanent
remote work after the pandemic ends. Of those, 25% said 10% of their workforce will remain
remote, 17% said 20% of their workforce will remain remote and 4% said half of their workforce will
remain remote.

Remote employees save companies money and enable businesses to retain top talent that seeks
flexibility and the ability to work from the comfort of their own homes, avoid commutes and
perhaps even travel without missing work time. It also presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to
cater to the work-at-home employees who need powerful, reliable equipment, software platforms
and related accessories. Many of these products are expensive at the enterprise level, but some
companies might pivot toward equipment leasing, accessory add-ons such as headsets and office
furniture and SaaS platforms that streamline remote communications and enhance productivity.

3. Increased delivery and curb-side pickup

No longer the exclusive domain of pizzerias and Chinese takeout, delivery and curb side pickup
services have expanded to other types of restaurants – and indeed, other industries – during the
coronavirus crisis. The safety measure is likely to outlast the pandemic as people are falling in love
with the convenience of McDonald’s on their doorsteps.

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Services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats were already bringing favorite treats to homes (one might
imagine how those businesses have surged during the pandemic), but there’s room for more players
and new markets. From nationwide franchises to local restaurants and hardware stores, every
retailer and eatery can identify opportunities to boost sales with delivery and curb side pickup – and
other entrepreneurs can enter the game by offering third-party delivery services that eliminate
additional overhead for businesses.

A recent Gartner survey revealed that 74% of CFOs plan to shift some employees to permanent
remote work after the pandemic ends. Of those, 25% said 10% of their workforce will remain
remote, 17% said 20% of their workforce will remain remote and 4% said half of their workforce
will remain remote.

Opportunities also exist for companies that can support or augment delivery and pickup services. For
example, software and app developers can build platforms that make it easy to order, fulfill orders
and track order status.

4. Contactless shopping

Already implemented in the delivery services, customers are likely to seek shopping options that
limit or eliminate contact with other people and surfaces. This presents an opportunity for certain
companies to develop new solutions that cater to contactless demand or bolster sales for existing
products in new markets and with new customers.

Automatic doors are a simple example, especially since many businesses do not have them installed.
Contactless credit card machines are another idea, given that many will be reticent to manually
input their pin codes at checkout. Necessity is the mother of invention, and a society wary of contact
presents excellent opportunities for innovative companies to cash in.

5. Greater reliance on e commerce

E commerce grew by 14% over a one-week span in March, illustrating how the pandemic has shifted
buying to the online environment. That makes sense given social distancing and stay-at-home
mandates, but what might be lost in the e commerce surge is the fact that many people are buying
goods online for the first time. After their initial introduction to the convenience of online shopping,
populations such as senior citizens and rural shoppers are likely to continue buying online.
Greater reliance on ecommerce presents multiple opportunities for companies that can cater to
specific segments – for example, simplified shopping platforms for seniors or parent-restricted
access for minors – and it underscores the importance of having a strong online presence. Local
businesses that do not have websites or social media presences (or that leave theirs untended to)
could be left behind. Web designers, app developers, social media and online marketing experts
have an opportunity to grow their businesses by reaching out to those who need their services now
more than ever.

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6. A newfound need to be clean

No one likes shopping in a dirty store, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the need to be clean
even more important – especially since the real threats are invisible. Retailers, restaurants, and
other companies that have foot traffic must convince their customers they won’t get sick if they
shop at their facilities.

Sanitizing wipes for shopping carts, hand sanitizer dispensers at the door and checkout lane wipe-
downs between customers are a start. Such measures also present opportunities for entrepreneurs
to manufacture, distribute and sell sanitizing products. Janitorial companies can offer sanitation
services to retail stores and restaurants. Supply companies can keep sanitizer and wipe dispensers
filled. Moving forward, businesses will need to prioritize cleanliness and opportunities abound for
ingenuity companies: perhaps new technology will be developed or incorporated in a new way to
offer in-store cleanliness, such as UV lights in checkout aisles.

Businesses will need to adapt and innovate. Already, online concerts featuring top performers
have commanded millions of views. Gaming tournaments once held in arenas might shift online

7. Consumer trust is paramount

There’s no doubt many companies already prioritize consumer trust, but the very real health risk of
COVID-19 takes the need for transparency and authenticity to new heights. Maintaining a clean
facility is part of the equation, but on a broader level it’s likely customers will choose to buy from
businesses they view as ethical and that have their best interests in mind: quality service over

A company’s actions during and post-pandemic could have a direct impact on its bottom line, so it’s
important for businesses to have their fingers on the pulse of public sentiment. It’s likely a reason
Shake Shack recently returned the $10 million Pay-check Protection Program (PPP) loan it received
as part of the stimulus package: the burger chain was publicly criticized for taking money that was
supposed to go to small businesses. Though the company wasn’t nefarious for accepting the loan, it
recognized that keeping it could do more long-term damage than returning it, which likely elevated
consumer trust in the franchise. The act illustrates how businesses that work to earn trust are
positioned to enjoy success once the pandemic ends.

8. Less group entertainment

Even when stay-at-home mandates and social distancing end, many will be reticent to attend events
packed with large crowds. Karaoke nights might be tough since people will be wary of sharing a
microphone with dozens of others. Bars and nightclubs could suffer. Attendance could be low at live
concerts and sporting tournaments.

Businesses will need to adapt and innovate. Already, online concerts featuring top performers have
commanded millions of views. Gaming tournaments once held in arenas might shift online
permanently – or at least for an extended period. Sporting events might be held in empty stadiums.
Entrepreneurial minds will prevail, however: bars can position stools and tables at least six feet
apart. Concerts could be held in outdoor venues with dedicated seating and spacing. Performers can
continue online shows, but with new levels of interactivity: live video viewer streams or software
that controls in-home lights, speakers, and other devices. Sporting events can institute interactive fantasy games or online betting (perhaps for charity). And of course, companies will be needed to
develop the technology needed to make events more interactive.

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9. Greater emphasis on health and wellness

The coronavirus crisis has brought public and personal health to the forefront. The threat itself is
scary enough, but people understand they’re more vulnerable if they’re in poor health. Moreover,
the act of visiting the doctor or going to the hospital is considered risky. Post-pandemic, that means
many are likely to place greater emphasis on their personal well-being and healthcare companies will
invest additional resources into providing remote care.

Enterprising companies can launch interactive health and fitness classes so people can work out at
home. SaaS developers can create personal health tracker platforms and devices to help people
achieve and maintain their health goals. Companies can work with doctors and hospitals to develop
remote care platforms. Though video doctor visits are available now, it’s possible opportunities exist
to develop devices that take key medical measurements at home – perhaps there will be a return to
the traveling doctor, albeit via machines that feed data to hospitals. Companies that innovate new
medical technologies that cater to remote care could usher in a new era of healthcare accessibility.

10. Quality of life decisions

Post-COVID-19, some predict that employees will be making more decisions based on quality of life
versus work opportunities. For example, those who have been forced to hunker down in city
apartments will decide to move to the suburbs or rural areas where they can enjoy the great
outdoors – or even just a lawn.

If that happens, businesses would be wise to consider the need for employees to lead quality lives
when they make their hiring and policy decisions. It lends credence to the idea that companies that
allow remote work will be best positioned for success post-pandemic; otherwise, they risk losing top
talent that deems a pay decrease acceptable to achieve better lives.

It also represents an opportunity for businesses to provide quality of life-related products and
services. Real estate companies can market city-to-suburbs relocation services. Moving companies
might see a boon. Communications and technology firms can provide the connectivity needed to
maintain operations from afar.

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