3 Major Opportunities That Will Come From This Pandemic

It's a time of major growth and change. Get ready for it.

learn more about Jason Feifer

By Jason Feifer

AJ_Watt | Getty Images

What good can come from all this bad?

There's reason to be optimistic. Throughout history, terrible events have led to great transformations. The bubonic plague of the 1300s led to the modern employment contract. Cholera epidemics of the mid-1800s gave us urban parks and radically improved infrastructure. The 1918 Spanish Flu revolutionized healthcare.

What are we in for this time? I started calling some smart people for a podcast titled "The Good That Comes From A Pandemic", and their answers thrilled and inspired me. Here were three big things I learned:

1. Crisis will pop our bubble — in a good way!

"Moments of crisis show us that the ways we've been doing things actually hinder our existence," says Michele Moody-Adams, a professor of political philosophy and legal theory at Columbia University. "They hinder our success in life, and they challenge human well-being in problematic ways."

It's true. Think back to a pre-coronavirus world, when you'd ask why something was done in a certain way. The answer was often, "Because that's the way it's always been done." People didn't like change. They didn't want to think too hard about what they were doing.

Today, we're forced to deeply consider everything. Nothing is taken for granted. That means we can finally find the will to create great change. "A crisis like this can shift the options that we are willing to collectively take seriously," says Brian Berkey, an assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school.

What will that look like? Consider the last time you had a great idea and someone said, "That's not possible." Making your entire workforce remote? Seems possible now! Reinventing your business? Seems possible now! Creating new solutions to intractable social problems, which nobody took seriously until COVID-19 laid them bare? Seems possible now!

It's all possible now.

2. Crisis creates new needs — which you can solve!

Remember a few months ago, when most companies opposed remote working? That meant there was a limited marketplace for tools to support remote workers, which is why there were so few options like Zoom. That's how progress goes. "Opposition leads to smaller markets, which in turn reduces investment by innovators," says Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

But now, everything has changed.

This virus scrambled the way we live and work, and created all sorts of new marketplaces. More remote workers means there's a need for a wider variety of videoconferencing and workflow systems — and a new wave of startups can rise to offer solutions. More internet usage means there's a strain on our digital infrastructure, which could lead to massive new investments in cloud computing, digital processing, and more. And this isn't limited to tech. New healthcare needs have already given rise to a ton of new solutions, for example, and surely many more will come.

The chain reactions here are fascinating. A virus keeps us at home, which puts a strain on our broadband internet, which means a new solution comes along, and that new solution enables new technologies we can't even envision today, and those new technologies give rise to entirely new industries, and on and on we go.

3. Crisis changes the rules — for the better!

Before COVID-19, you couldn't walk into a local restaurant and get a cocktail to go. Now you can. Why? Because the law was changed.

Before COVID-19, you couldn't talk to your doctor over Zoom or FaceTime. Now you can. Why? Because the law was changed.

There are dozens of examples like this — rapid rule changes that made life easier for everyone. As a result, businesses have been able to serve customers in new ways, and companies have been able to innovate new solutions. The ripple effects may be profound. "I'm really optimistic that if we permanently waive these regulations, you'd see large benefits," says Alec Stapp, director of technology policy at the Progressive Policy Institute.

I think it's likely. We've entered a world where take-out cocktails are normal, and virtual doctor visits are a breeze. Once the virus is contained, we're not going to want to go back.

So what's an entrepreneur to do? Here's my advice: If a law has changed and you see an opportunity because of it, go create new and tremendous value for people. Make them love you! Make them never want to see you go! That way, you might just be the first to a brand-new market opportunity — and the reason it stays.

The world will be transformed. We can either lead that transformation, or wait until it comes for us.

Either way, we're going to look back at this moment one day and think, "Wow. That's when it all began."


Like these lessons?

Click to hear the full episode, "The Good That Comes From A Pandemic", or listen below.

Jason Feifer

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief

Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine and host of the podcast Problem Solvers. Outside of Entrepreneur, he is the author of the book Build For Tomorrow, which helps readers find new opportunities in times of change, as the host of the podcast Help Wanted, where he and cohost Nicole Lapin solve listeners' work problems. He also writes a newsletter called One Thing Better, which each week gives you one better way to build a career or company you love.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business Solutions

Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30

If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle today.

Health & Wellness

5 Essential Steps to Expand Your Vision and Start Living Your Dream Life

It's time to break free from your comfort zone and expand your vision. When you refuse to settle for a mediocre life, you can start building a life you love.