Last year was a challenge for everyone, in both our work and personal lives. It urged us to embrace the fact that we are not in control of everything. It opened everyone up to new ways of doing things and has raised a lot of questions when it comes to the future of work and the economy in general.
It seemed as if in the last few years we were reaching a point of stability again, having overcome the last recession of 2007. The global economy was starting to reach a point of balance until COVID-19 hit every corner of the world, creating a new recession, yet this time caused by a global pandemic.
We’re not here to talk about the negative aspects though, quite the contrary. Uber, Airbnb, Zalando and Whatsapp, where all founded during the latest recession (2007-2009) and are, nowadays, some of the most famous and powerful companies in the world. This proves that when trouble knocks on the door our mind starts to work to find ways to overcome the negative situation.
It’s in not-so-stable situations that entrepreneurial opportunities occur, which is why we believe that 2021 is the year to start a new business, project or idea.
- New problems to solve
We have been forced to change many aspects of our lives in the past few months, with one of the biggest changes being switching from offline to online. To minimise social interaction the need to have and use online products and services has risen and while there are many solutions to help us with our day to day life, there’s also a lot that hasn’t been created yet.
We should expect new digital and online-based solutions and ideas to be born this year, and especially those that simplify manual work to be more efficient and boost profitability.
2. Acceleration of e-commerce
A study by Forbes shows that in 2020 e-commerce grew the equivalent of 4 – 6 years. The ‘stay at home’ regulations that put the world on stand-by in early 2020 played a big part in the growth of online shopping, but now that restrictions have started to ease out in many countries, e-commerce continues to grow as people become accustomed to the perks of shopping from their phone or computer and getting everything delivered home.
Online shopping is nothing new, but now that the demand is high, there’s a big opportunity to develop programmes, services and solutions that lend a hand in making e-commerce smoother.
3. Greener planet
Aside from getting national and international updates on the status of the pandemic, one of the only few non-COVID related information that we could hear on the news or read online is how the lockdown was positively affecting the environment. Even though the fight for a greener and more sustainable planet has been years in the making, the last year might have inspired more entrepreneurs, investors and even big corporations to join the movement and start to make a difference.
4. Greater access to top-class talent
Finding good professionals might be one of the biggest difficulties for startups, who often look for polyvalent profiles to cover the most important and needed positions to launch and start a business. With the pandemic, quite a lot of startups and companies have been forced to let go of a big part of their workforce. Some of them might be eager to, for once, work for themselves, while others might start to look out for newer opportunities.
If you want to capture and retain quality, talent perks like after-work beers and free coffee might not work anymore. Instead, offer flexibility, remote working and perks that facilitate a good and stable work-life balance.
5. More clever funding
We’re in the middle of a health and economic crisis that we will have to learn how to live and cope with in the next upcoming years. And while this is worrisome for people around the world, it doesn’t mean that funding is gone. Although in the last few years raising money was ‘somewhat’ easy, now that there’s a shortage, it will be more selective. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing – on the contrary. Less money means that the available funds will be invested in outstanding ideas and projects.
When trouble rises our minds seem to work twice as hard to find ways to overcome the difficulties. Uber, Airbnb and Zalando all brought solutions to the table and became big players in the digital world. Now, even though the reason for the recession is completely different, it’s a good moment to build something that solves problems generated by the shift to the online world.