The Opportunity In Crisis

A young woman looks out thoughtfully through railings. Is she seeing an opportunity in crisis

History shows us that there is always opportunity in crisis. When our normality changes so do our needs and new needs have to be filled. But there are basically two different types of opportunity. Those that help you and others cope with a crisis and those that simply exploit it. I’d much rather go with the former.

Our current world crisis the covid 19 pandemic is the perfect example. In its early days we saw panic buying, fear and confusion. But fairly soon we saw temporarily scarce items like toilet rolls being sold at 10 times their usual price. Then it was masks and handwash. I was reminded of war time spivs in old films flogging silk stockings. Whilst some of us were buying up “prepper” items like these for our own use, others had seen an opportunity. Scarcity is always good for sales. 

But after things settled down and the shelves were re-stocked we began to realize we were in for the long haul here. That’s when the better side of opportunity in crisis began to show itself. Businesses had to work out new ways of serving their customers. Employers had to think of ways to let their employees work from home.  The opportunities all this created: PPE, Software, training, home delivery, online ordering, to name a few, benefited everyone. Maybe one of the best opportunities a crisis gives us though is learning. 

New Crisis – New Opportunity

In their excellent article – “Sometimes the world needs a crisis: Turning challenges into opportunities” Brookings outlines how the largest oil spill in history Deep Water Horizon led to the rapid creation of safety equipment that is now a global standard in the Industry. The articles also shows how the Asian Debt crisis of 1997 taught valuable financial lessons that helped weather the global crash of 2008. In these and other examples, it’s clear that crisis creates all sorts of opportunity. 

One feature of the current crisis that creates a wealth of opportunity is our increased reliance on the internet. I must admit I never thought I’d be having Zoom calls with my 80 year old mother who doesn’t even do texting but that is now a thing. In fact Zoom is now a normal part of everyone’s lives. TV chat shows are conducted on it and millions of home workers and self isolaters use it daily. 

Without the pandemic the growth that Internet shopping has seen in a year would have taken ten. We’re not just going online for the things we used to buy on the high street, we are now buying things online we never woud have before. 

Obviously this has created a boom in business for online sellers rather like that experienced by pick and shovel makers in the 19th century gold rush. It also offers an ongoing opportunity for anyone interested in getting into e-commerce, affiliate marketing or digital education. Even though  we seem be to conquering the pandemic, things will never be the same again. Maybe we don’t want or need them to anyway.

Where To Find Opportunity In 2021

There seem to have been some advantages to this period of global lockdown. Closed factories and vastly less leisure travel and commuting have meant a marked decrease in pollution. There’s been some pretty positive social change and community spirit.  A lot of people have enjoyed working at home, spending more time with family and a break (or at least a change) from the rigours of the old normal. 

Making your income on the internet has offered all this for a long time now. I started doing it after the last recession cost me my job. To be honest aside from missing friends and family and the slight inconvenience of masks, lockdown hasn’t been a big deal. 

Because an internet business doesn’t place any geographic restrictions on you, we upped sticks and moved to a quiet seaside village 6 years ago. Cheap rurual property prices meant we could afford a house with a big garden and our quality of life is fantastic. Things would have been very different in our city apartment.

I very much believe that the prime opportunity in crisis this time is the Internet. If you’ve been working from home you’ve had a taste of the internet lifestyle. Imagine taking it a step further though. Imagine no boss, flexible hours and no real earnings cap. What if you could have all that in a location of your choosing within a year or two? It’s entirely possible and it’s not rocket science. 

I work with an organisation that mentors individuals and businesses who would like to transition to the internet. During lockdown their co-founder Stuart released a video all about taking advantage of the pandemic crisis from his home in Portugal. Click here to see it.