There’s no sugar coating it – the Covid-19 crisis has had a massive impact on practically every business sector.
Many businesses have now been closed completely for months and are struggling to ascertain how they’ll cope with reopening physical premises while keeping staff and customers safe – and the Financial Times has reported that the UK economy shrunk by a record 20% in April 2020.
However, British businesses don’t give up easily, and while the pandemic will impact some enterprises more than others, there are a few firms which might navigate the storm skilfully – thanks to innovative business models and the natural advantages of their particular specialisms.
Let’s take a look at niche businesses bouncing back for the new normal.
Local convenience stores
There’s no doubt that huge supermarket chains like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s have benefitted from remaining open throughout the pandemic and we’re all grateful to their staff, who have faced significant risks in their roles.
But local convenience stores, typically staffed by a solo owner or a skeleton staff, have also benefitted and provided a popular service for community members who don’t want to journey to large supermarkets or are unable to because of illness or family commitments.
For instance, this recently reopened Corner Shop in Fife has been at its busiest for years, while providing a lifeline to elderly and incapacitated local residents through newspaper and food deliveries – let’s hope that the Great British local shop enjoys a sustainable resurgence in the coming months.
Winter travel companies
In general, the travel industry has suffered the most obvious and dramatic impact during this pandemic, and there’s no doubt that in one way or another, it will continue to be affected far into the foreseeable future.
However, one travel niche which may crank back into gear faster than the rest is the snowsports industry – while firms specialising in summer holidays in the Northern Hemisphere will have to wait until summer 2021 to start seriously recouping losses, projected easing of lockdown restrictions might mean that the winter 2020/21 vacation season is still economically viable.
This benefits experienced ski holiday firms like Erna Low, who can offer customised packages for skiers of all ages and abilities in Europe’s most popular resorts. Furthermore, there’s also a chance that tourists who have had to cancel their summer 2020 holidays might be tempted to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, rather than wait many months more to take their usual sun, sand and sea break next year.
As well as the aforementioned disparate examples, there’s also hope for digital firms who were either already partially based online or had the capacity and expertise to completely digitise their operations swiftly so that customer service continued largely uninterrupted. Retaining existing clients and attracting new ones is another matter, but on the face of it, firms with business models that already suit remote working are in better shape than those struggling to convert physical operations to eCommerce.
Which businesses do you think will bounce back more easily from the pandemic? Let us know in the comments section.