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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The current "Big Thing"

15 September 2020

Every now and then, a "big thing" comes along.

Computers were once the big thing, the internet was once the big thing and I'm pretty sure that many fortunes were made by those who were smart enough to spot the trend and get invested at the right time.

So what are the current and coming "big things"?

Well right now I think it's a pretty good bet that those folk who have taken a position in "work from home" support businesses are probably "doing very nicely thank you".

Whether it's the supply of technology for such operations or whether it's simply providing furniture, consulting and information, those who call themselves "work from home" specialists are probably in high demand.

Corporations will be wanting to ensure that their staff are both safe and productive if they're operating from the comfort and convenience of their own homes and the workers themselves will likely need to know the best ways to do things and the best gear to use.

To see how this might translate into business opportunities and sizeable profits, one only has to look at how most retailers ran out of webcams within the first few weeks of lockdown.

If you had been smart enough, you could have snapped up all the available wholesale stocks of such devices and then flogged them for twice the recommended retail price, knowing that you would still be unable to meet the demand.

Right now there must be massive potential for "consultants" who can advise companies and workers how to best set up their workspaces and procedures to maximise productivity. There's also a huge opportunity for those with the necessary skills and qualification to check home-work environments for compliance with the government's Health & Safety requirements -- because no employer wants to be facing criminal charges should a home-worker trip on the living-room rug and fall through a glass coffee table while engaged in a Zoom meeting on their mobile phone.

I also suspect that a lot of traditional "bricks & mortar" retailers are also looking very closely at beefing up their online presence or creating one if they don't already have such a thing. Online sales boomed during the lockdown and that will likely have a strong ongoing effect as even the most old-school customers have finally woken up to the convenience of such things. Supermarkets have been a great example of this with their "click and collect" or home-delivery online shopping options seeing a massive surge in demand. That hike in sales via the web or shopping apps has persisted far beyond the lockdown period.

Anyone who is good at creating such online retail outlets would likely be doing very brisk business these days and if they're not, they need to find out what has gone wrong with their own operation.

They say that every disaster brings new opportunities and that's certainly been the case with CV19. The gradual shift to remote working and online retail has been given a very swift boot such that we've probably seen several years worth of growth in just a few short months.

Anyone looking to create a profitable business right now could do a lot worse than coming up with solutions to the problems that people are trying to solve in these areas.

CV19 isn't going away anytime soon and the changes it is bringing will be persistent ones so I am sure many a fortune will be made in the coming months and years.

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