What To Do Now That The Situation Has Worsened?

In a short span, the situation regarding Covid-19 had changed dramatically. The United States today overtook China with the most number of confirmed Covid-19 cases. South Korea has dropped from number 2 to number 10 in terms of the tally of confirmed infections. Europe is now the epicenter of Covid-19 instead of China. However the epicenter is expected, by experts, to shift to the US at the present rate of infections. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve in the US had, to many observers, thrown everything including the kitchen sink in an effort to boost the economy. The US government had also put together a substantial $2 trillion rescue package to salvage the situation.  As a result, the stock market surged with 3 consecutive days of gain after the news.

The question is therefore what’s next? President Trump expressed that he wants the economy to be back to normal by Easter. In response, some medical experts indicated that it was not up to the President. The schedule, in their opinion, would depend on how fast the rate of infections could peak and then decline. Even if the President mandated the re-opening of the economy, it does not mean that everything would be back to normal. If the number of infections is still rising, people might refrain from going outdoors for fear of contracting the disease. Also, even if the infection rate peaks and declines, there are fears that the virus could become seasonal.

Given this level of uncertainty, many startups are frozen in their tracks. Whatever plans the entrepreneurs had would surely be in disarray now. Professionals in the finance field advocates nibbling at stocks during drops without trying to predict the bottom. Entrepreneurs could do something similar here. They could scan the environment for bargains like choice real estate locations at knocked down rental rates or surplus goods at rock bottom prices. However there is a danger to this approach. In the event that the Covid-19 situation drags on much longer than anticipated, whatever bargains you thought you had would turn out to be a drag.

Another approach would be to do what some companies had done ie produce items in high demand today. For instance, many liquor manufacturers have switched to making hand sanitizers using their expertise with alcohol. Dyson in the UK claimed to need only 10 days to design a new ventilator. As a result, the company secured an order for 10,000 units from the British government. Therefore entrepreneurs could make use of their expertise like what Dyson did to manufacture or make machines that can produce goods in high demand now. Like toilet paper or surgical face masks for instance. However the danger of this approach is that by the time you get things rolling, the demand may have disappeared or the supply could have skyrocketed. As a result, you could be saddled with a ton of these unwanted goods.

A longer term strategy would be to figure out what the world would look like post Covid-19. Many companies reverted to video conferencing as opposed to face to face meetings to avoid contact with one another during this period. This brought a boost to the use of video conferencing which could linger even after the crisis.  There had also been speculation that work from home could become the new norm when this is all over. Another winner had been the jump in the use of internet especially in applications like education and entertainment during the lockdown in many places. Online purchases of goods such as groceries surged as well as food deliveries in locations where people feared going out even without a lockdown . These too could become the new norm when people find them indispensable after experiencing their use during the crisis.

At the end of the day, the important thing to consider is which area in which your expertise could be tapped on to provide solutions. No point trying to break into an area with high demand if you don’t have any expertise in it. At the same time, do not be afraid to partner others to bring together joint resources to solve problems. Finally, it is important to remain flexible and adaptable in this fast changing environment.