If you’re not living under a rock in 2020, you’ve likely been inundated with news about the coronavirus, and it looks like the whole world has been thrust into a panic, completely unprepared. We clearly didn’t see this coming, hence the lack of vaccination, and that’s left people in a scramble, trying to protect themselves at the last minute. However, realistically, the coronavirus isn’t scary and trending simply because it can be deadly; it’s scary because people were caught off guard. In fact, there are many illnesses we’re all aware of that have far graver prognoses than the coronavirus for most sufferers, but those didn’t sneak up on us all at once and wreak havoc, unexpected.
While the coronavirus is a world health issue, some of the greatest and most immediate effects of this virus are those upon businesses and the economy. Since news of the coronavirus has gone “viral” (no pun intended), we’ve experienced some of the biggest economic upsets since the last recession…and this points to one clear and concerning fact: businesses are not prepared for pandemics like this. That may not surprise you but given the magnitude and speed of the coronavirus’s negative impact on the economy, businesses and future entrepreneurs should really take a lesson from all this right now and prepare to insulate themselves from future health disasters (and other unexpected scenarios) that are inevitable, down the line.
Related: Entrepreneur Ideas for Teens
How Pandemics like the Coronavirus can Affect Businesses
You don’t have to be an economics expert to realize that a worldwide health disaster would likely put a damper on business, but there are a few areas likely to experience disproportionate effects. In the case of the coronavirus, the country of origin was China, which is a huge supplier of goods to many other countries. The most immediate impacts we can expect and have seen are delays and cancellations on the manufacturing and transportation of goods coming from China…which could even put some drop-shippers out of business. However, that’s just the one obvious impact – there are many more tangential effects of this virus being felt by businesses all over.
For those businesses that relied on a physical presence in a virus-affected area, they can expect a slowdown in business, if not a closure altogether. Due to the travel restrictions and the heightened caution about unnecessary travel, the entire travel and transportation industry can expect a steep downturn, as well as the vacation and hospitality industry. Oh, and for those businesses that have yet to build their online presence, now’s the time to scramble, as the warnings to stay away from public places definitely won’t be helping in the revival of retail or brick-and-mortar sales.
Now, there are probably a few creative people who might be searching for the positive business angle to capitalize on this disaster…but if they thought the answer was selling hand sanitizer, antiviral face masks, or any other virus-pretension supplies, you’re probably too late. Unless you’re the first to find an effective vaccine or rapid cure/treatment, you’re pretty unlikely to make a fortune off this health emergency. Nonetheless, there are valuable business lessons you can learn from this scenario that you can use in future businesses to remain insulated from similar disasters going forward.
Learn how to create a diverse business with Beta Bowl
How to Create a Business that is Insulated from These Disasters
While you can’t ever 100% guarantee your business success or protect yourself from every unexpected disaster out there, you can build a business that is well-protected from any singular upset. The business principles that will keep you and your business shielded from disasters like the coronavirus are principles that smart entrepreneurs and experienced business owners should implement, regardless of a coronavirus scare or other epidemic. These principles will simply create a better, more stable business, built for success and continued growth in the long-term.
Diversification (Diversify WHERE you get and sell your products, HOW you deliver your products, and WHO purchases your products)
The biggest risk for any business is a lack of diversification. Imagine if all your customers come from one place, and that place experiences a disaster…did you just lose your entire customer base?
Diversification doesn’t just refer to who and where your customers are; you should also diversify how and from where you get your products, or at least have back up options in place, and diversify how you deliver your products. If your business is solely brick-and-mortar, you’re putting yourself at major risk for any issue that compromises your store location or the local population. By ensuring that you market and sell your products to a diverse customer group, through a variety of sales and delivery methods, from online to affiliates to in-store to social media, you are building a business upon multiple pillars. If one pillar falls, your business will weather the storm and remain standing on the other three or four. This is the secret to shielding your business from any singular disaster.
Yes, obstacles may occur, but if you have diversification and backup options in place, you’ll be able to pivot or rebalance your marketing focus or sales method or location and continue operating successfully and profitably.
Related: Creative Business Ideas for Kids in 2020
Why Teens Should Take Note of the Coronavirus and Its Impact on Business
It’s easy for teens to ignore news headlines and macroeconomic events, but when a drastic or worldwide upset occurs, like the coronavirus outbreak, it provides a great learning opportunity for teens (and a great teaching opportunity for parents).
First off, being well-informed about global events and major news stories will only help your teen in their personal and academic life, as well as in their college applications and interviews. Entrepreneurial and business-minded teens growing up in today’s tech-enabled digital age should take inspiration from the world around them, and when a major problem occurs, they should consider future solutions.
If awareness of the coronavirus sparks a teen’s interest in starting a business to combat one negative impact this virus had on people or the economy, wouldn’t that be amazing? If nothing else, you should talk with your teen about current events, disasters, and epidemics, and discuss how they can affect business today and consider the future solutions of tomorrow. At the very least, they may get a great college essay idea out of it…and at the most, they just may build a successful business, solving a major problem!
Related: How to Start a Business in High School
Heads Up for Teens: Why Remote and Work from Home Businesses are the Way of the Future
It shouldn’t take a major epidemic like the coronavirus to point out the fact that remote employment is the way of the future. From the rise in temporary co-working spaces to the rapidly growing gig and freelancer economy, coupled with the increase in online shopping and the decline in brick and mortar retail, it’s clear that working from home, and running digital businesses, are on an upward trend. Knowing this and preparing early, future employees and business owners can set themselves up for success.
For example, some industries to focus on to capitalize on this trend include entirely online businesses, digital and e-learning products, social media-related businesses and sales channels, and online entertainment and related products and services. Additionally, businesses that make use of video, collaborative online tools, and an entirely remote employee base, including freelancers and contract workers, will benefit by saving time and money. That said, as we’ve mentioned, diversification is key, so no matter which industry you choose to pursue, offering multiple complementary or tangential products and diversifying your methods of sales and delivery will further insulate you from unexpected outbreaks and surprise disasters that may rattle huge, less nimble and less diversified corporations.
Now, why should teenagers care about this? Simple: because they are the employees, employers, and entrepreneurs of the future! Teens who are still operating on the old-school mindset that they can rely on an office job from graduation through retirement need a reality check, ASAP. Employment is changing rapidly, and entrepreneurship may be emerging as the greatest job security of the future.
This is exactly why we work with teens, though our Beta Bowl entrepreneurial extracurricular programs, to equip them with the tools, resources, guidance, and experience to build and run their own businesses. Some may choose to pursue entrepreneurship now, and others may simply rely on the skills they learned as a fallback option, but either way, an informed mindset and an entrepreneurial skill set are the best ways to prepare today’s teens for a successful future…plus, as an e-learning company, we offer teens the opportunity to participate in Beta Bowl around their own schedule and from the comfort and safety of their own home!
Teach your teen how to start a business with Beta Bowl
It’s hard to find the positive amidst any disastrous situation, especially with the attention-grabbing headlines about the coronavirus inciting fear and panic…and when it comes to our health and safety, people and parents have a good reason to be concerned, and in some cases, the panic is justified.
However, we would be remiss to ignore the lessons we can learn from this unexpected outbreak, especially as they relate to business and our kids’ futures. Businesses and educational institutions should have backup plans for emergencies like this. Closing schools for a semester or shutting down a business for a quarter is not a great answer or effective solution. Instead, businesses, schools, and future entrepreneurs should diversify their offerings, their methods of delivery, and the groups that they serve.
They should take advantage of technology and the digital age we live in and ensure that no one outbreak will make or break their business, even just for a quarter. If you want to give your child the best gift for their future, equip them with more skills than the core academic subjects; equip them with business acumen, entrepreneurial skill set, and the confidence and independence to rely on themselves to create their own opportunities and success.
That’s exactly what we do here at Beta Bowl, and we would love to have your teen join one of our Beta Bowl entrepreneurial extracurricular programs and gain this unique, robust, and valuable skill set, as well.
Related: Tips for Aspiring High School Entrepreneurs