In many ways there were two sides to 2020. On the one-side, there has been a monumental personal loss to so many families, we’ve all been taking the strain mentally due to our daily lives being uprooted, even if we have yet to admit it to ourselves, and many good businesses have been torn apart by COVID.
But though searching for positives might seem futile, there have been some, and they are noteworthy.
Change = business opportunity
When people have a problem that needs solving, that is often when there is an opportunity for a new business to emerge.
When life is stable, people incur major problems relatively infrequently; most people’s problems have been solved, and there are less opportunities for businesses to be created.
When COVID happened, simultaneously putting the population at risk, disrupting the supply chain and dampening demand for many products and services, suddenly there were a lot of problems that needed solving.
For prospective entrepreneurs this is actually a good thing – people needed to:
- Keep safe whilst out and about during Covid
- Communicate effectively with their team whilst WFH
- Make childcare work when nurseries and schools were closed.
These new problems and others are creating opportunities for the businesses of tomorrow to emerge.
This might sounds counterintuitive, but in the good times it’s hard to create a great business. Why? A lot of the top talent gets sucked into corporates, and consumers are less inclined to change their behaviour, because, well, they don’t need to.
Economic shocks mix things up – Thomas Vosper was made redundant at the beginning of the COVID crisis, he’s recently completed an investment round for an innovative new retail concept that he since started – you can read about it in his recent blog.
And whilst COVID undoubtedly has caused huge disruptions, some companies in some industries were quickly able to shift into the ‘new normal’.
Working from home was something that was alway going to happen, probably in a decade or so. When COVID happened, almost everyone had to do it, straight away.
But this had a few benefits that weren’t necessarily foreseen, people by way of being forced to do it – actually became good at using video calls.
Meetings where people would have travelled across town and back, and set up 1 hour meeting to justify the time, suddenly became more efficient half hour Zoom calls. A huge time and efficiency saving.
When the pandemic first hit, there were signs that investors were being more cautious – some had taken hits on their portfolio and dropped back on the number of the investments that they made, and pushed harder on valuations.
However, investors have adjusted to the new normal, for each in person meeting they have given up, there are many more Zoom and virtual meeting that they are taking.
Lockdown enforced many people to become savers, as there were so few opportunities to go out and spend money. Investment activity has rapidly obtained new momentum.
The upshot is that we are fortunate to just had our record ever month at Angel Investment Network, and feel well placed and optimistic to enter 2021, despite the continued uncertainty. We’re mindful that it remains a challenging time for many.
Wishing you a happy festive season, even if it’s not what you hoped for, we hope that you at least get the quality downtime that you deserve.
See you in 2021.