In addition to taking many thousands of lives around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for businesses. Many companies of all kinds have needed to mothball their operations in the hope that they could eventually get back to work — or even been forced by financial circumstances to close permanently.
Despite the dire conditions, though, many businesses have survived (or even thrived) during this turbulent time. It’s a testament to the adaptability of their managers and workers, but also to the stability of their business models. In this post, we’re going to look at four business models that have been largely unaffected by the coronavirus, leaving them to flourish. Let’s begin.
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The concept of the subscription model is extremely simple. Instead of paying for isolated products or services, the customer commits to paying at regular intervals to receive products or services on an ongoing basis. For a perfect example of such a business, look at Netflix: you pay a certain amount each month to gain access to a massive library of films and TV shows.
Another example is Dollar Shave Club: instead of getting steady access to digital products, you get a monthly delivery of physical products. This model has been able to do so well during these times because it involves modest pricing (a small amount paid each month doesn’t seem too bad), requires no travel, and focuses on convenience and indulgence — two things that people stuck in isolation have absolutely craved.
Falling under the ecommerce umbrella, the dropshipping fulfilment model has worked so well in recent months for two key reasons. Firstly, its reliance upon massive suppliers and wholesalers has allowed it to carry on with minimal disruption (assuming each merchant chooses well, that is). Secondly, its low cost and ease of access has made it the perfect route into online retail for many entrepreneurs driven by the COVID-19 lockdown to move into self-employment.
The demand for generic dropshipping products certainly hasn’t gone down. People are buying just as many phone cases and cut-price electronic devices as before — possibly more due to isolation-induced boredom. It might not be the most profitable business model (it’s tough to make too much money on the margins), but it’s certainly a tried-and-tested option.
Overall, there’s a strong case to be made that the software-as-a-service industry has done better during COVID-19 than any other field. With companies everywhere suddenly pivoting to working from home, there was a great deal of panic and uncertainty about how they’d get things done — and the SaaS industry provided the solutions. Leaning on suites like Google Docs, project management tools like Asana, and social media marketing tools like Buffer and HootSuite, plenty of businesses were able to carry on with high productivity.
And since it seems fairly likely that the business world will never fully go back to the old way of doing things (with company offices and mandatory commutes), SaaS providers are set to do incredibly well in the coming years — providing the vital foundations for remote working.
One of the lockdown measures that caused people the most frustration was the widespread closing of restaurants (well, eateries in general). Going out to eat is one of life’s simplest joys for countless people worldwide, so suddenly being limited to eating at home was a weighty blow. Worse still, there were plenty of vulnerable people who couldn’t safely get to supermarkets to buy vital supplies, leaving them in significant danger.
Fortunately, the food delivery industry really stepped up to help people out. While supermarkets and other grocery suppliers ramped up their delivery services to ensure that people who needed supplies would get them, eateries adapted their operations to exclusively provide takeaways. With people sure to remain wary of social gatherings for many months to come, the food delivery industry will continue to do big business.
These business models aren’t the only ones that have done well during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re certainly worth close investigation. There’s a lot to be learned from how they flourished in the face of such a massive challenge.