COVID-19 has caused the world to change more rapidly than anything we’ve seen—and likely will see—in our lifetimes.
For entrepreneurs, it’s been an uncertain few months. Many businesses have had to make drastic changes to stay afloat while others have already fallen by the wayside. We’ve seen dramatic changes across entire industries such as healthcare, education, retail, and entertainment—all in a matter of weeks.
And this is just the start! We haven’t even gotten to “after COVID.” (But don’t worry, it’s not all bad.)
Entrepreneurs have nothing to fear.
I recently recorded a podcast with my good friend Peter Diamandis where we did our best to answer one simple question: How will industries change after COVID?
One thing we both agreed on right off the bat is that entrepreneurs should not be afraid, even if their industry is being affected or will be affected by COVID. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, you can be as successful with a disrupted industry as you can with a multiplying industry. There will be winners and losers regardless of how poorly an industry is faring on the whole. It all comes down to changing your business and finding ways to provide more value than your competitors.
There’s a joke about two men walking in the forest that I think encapsulates this perfectly. One of them stops and says, “I hear a bear!” He sits down, takes a pair of running shoes out of his backpack, and starts to put them on. The other one says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” The first man replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear.”
So forget about outrunning the bear. As industries continue to change after COVID, the winners will be the ones that are able to keep their competitors between them and the bear.
Change doesn’t have to be bad.
There tends to be a lot of doom and gloom involved when people talk about how industries will change after COVID. The airline industry is one that comes up frequently. After all, how can you pack people onto a plane while maintaining physical distancing? It’s just not possible—and for an industry that needs to fill every seat to turn a profit, that’s frightening.
But let’s look at the other side of the coin. As airlines struggle to fill their planes, they’ll need to adapt and change their service to set themselves apart from their competitors. Everyone is going to have to up their game in the experience economy—they’re going to have to find ways to provide far more value than they did previously to keep their customers happy. That means a better experience for everyone.
And not only that, but as plane tickets continue to climb in price, private flying will become more feasible for many people. The idea of buying a plane or chartering a plane is already becoming more realistic.
There are also thousands of small airports around North America compared to the 27 major airports we tend to use today with jumbo jets. All of a sudden, flying goes from something scary and inaccessible to a new, exciting opportunity. Look out for new businesses in the aviation space—there is a tremendous opportunity to provide value after COVID that the big airlines simply can’t compete with.
So this question, “How will industries change after COVID?” does not need to be met with doom and gloom. Airlines are just one example, but the reality is that for every negative change, there will be many more positive changes—and we have entrepreneurs to thank for that, because they’re going to be the ones making the changes.
Technology will advance at a rapid pace.
I’ve been amazed at how quickly businesses around the world have transitioned to remote work. At Strategic Coach, we’ve been holding virtual workshops with Zoom and the experience so far has been remarkable. Not only are they easier for our team to manage, but our clients are loving the experience and we’re able to reach many more people than we were able to with in-person workshops.
Video conferencing technologies like Zoom and other remote productivity tools will continue to improve rapidly during and after COVID, but that’s just the beginning. Other industries are going to see massive changes and technological advancements as well.
Much like the airline industry, restaurants have been the focus of doom and gloom over the past few months. And for good reason, of course, as virtually all restaurants have been forced to close down or drastically limit their capacity. It raises the question: What positive change could possibly come out of this for restaurants?
Well, restaurants are in a unique position to help people right now. They have different supply chains than grocery stores, and many restaurants are realizing they can sell their inventory to their customers as groceries. So not only are they able to add an entirely new revenue stream to their business, but they’re helping people who are having trouble finding groceries at their local stores. I think this will be something we continue to see from restaurants after COVID.
Takeout has also become the new normal, and I’m excited to see what changes this brings to the restaurant industry. As much as I love going out to eat, I think there is a huge opportunity for “ghost kitchens” to pop up, where restaurants are operating out of an industrial location with only takeout or delivery options.
Peter also points out how these new restaurant operations could lead the way for drone delivery systems. Imagine if you could order your favorite dish from a local restaurant and have it delivered to your doorstep via drone within a matter of minutes! I am confident that restaurants will still come back after COVID in their traditional capacity, but there will be many additional capabilities that come out of this pandemic that never would have occurred otherwise.
And this is just one example. We’ll be seeing positive changes, new technology, and increased value across thousands of industries after COVID.
Want to hear more of Dan’s thoughts on entrepreneurship and business? Check out all of our Strategic Coach podcasts and our partner podcasts at StrategicPodcasts.com.
We’ve experienced the solution.
One of the most interesting byproducts of this situation we find ourselves in is that we’re currently experiencing solutions to problems that were previously thought to be infeasible or unrealistic.
All major cities around the world have been facing the same problems for decades: traffic, congestion, pollution, overcrowding, high real estate prices …
But look at them now! Nearly all of those problems have disappeared as people are working remotely and traveling less.
One of the reasons people generally can’t solve a problem is because they don’t know what the solution feels like. But now, we all know what the solution feels like. We know what it’s like to not have traffic congestion. We know what it’s like to have clear skies and no pollution in our cities.
This new way of living is going to speed up the solutions to many of these problems after COVID. The fact that we’ve now had this experience will encourage us to find real solutions to these problems.
No one will want to go back to rush hour traffic and polluted air after experiencing this. Many of these problems were seen as “necessary evils” or there was no clear solution in sight, yet in a matter of weeks, we’ve solved them almost by accident. No one can say that these solutions are impossible to solve anymore, and that brings a lot of exciting possibilities.
Entrepreneurs are poised to thrive after COVID.
How will industries change after COVID? Well, that’s up to the entrepreneurs of the world.
There’s an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to thrive after COVID. Even if your industry appears to be failing, now is the time where you can reinvent yourself, adapt, make changes, provide more value, and come out the other side stronger than ever.
Entrepreneurs are resilient, and these scary times are putting our resiliency to the test. But we’ve had tests like this before, and we will pass them with flying colors.