This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme

New Businesses Opportunities As Restrictions Lift

DATE: 26/10/21


For most new and small businesses, the last 18 months have been challenging to say the least. From navigating lock downs and reformulating how business can work, to anticipating life after a global pandemic, the business territory has seen more changes recently than ever before.

With each challenges has come confusion and insecurity over the future for many businesses. In particular for new and small businesses who may not have as much financial reserve to fall back on or economies of scale to rely on. So now, as we experience restrictions lifting and the economy looking towards a post-pandemic world, what opportunities exist for businesses? And importantly, what can we use from our experiences to properly maximise these opportunities going forward?

Businesses have been asked to be agile. From altering product offerings and means to deliver services, to working around changing employee conditions and crucial financial upheavals, the flexibility required has been significant. And it’s through these changes in behaviour that we can highlight some important takeaways to apply towards future business opportunities.


Learn from data and insights

If nothing else, look at the pandemic economy as a learning opportunity. We’ve watched consumers respond to a whole new economic climate and digging deep into the insights that surround that behaviour is invaluable. From spending behaviour, where, when, shopping online rather than in person, choosing certain types of brands, locally, internationally. We can use everything we’ve learnt from these tricky months to understand our consumers better. Understand their priorities and behaviours in ways we never have before. Understand the lack of consumer trust towards companies who did not deliver the way customers wanted or needed during this time. And crucially, we can learn from those companies that did what they promised and more.


Digital Transformation

Everyone from students to shops, colleagues to services, have been forced willingly or otherwise to up their digital game. We’ve all discovered that more can happen online, that life can function digitally and that to be a business equipped to manage these expectations means to be a business capable of digital transformation. Being present online, being capable of delivering products or services digitally and being prepared to respond to changes digitally will not only future proof your business but will help to build costumer confidence.


Be Human

The pressure on businesses and consumers has been immense and one thing that has come to the fore is that we’ve all responded far more positively to being treated as humans by humans. Whether that meant talking to someone on the phone about a product or service you need rather than voice mail only, or your boss being compassionate about the difficulties that working from home brings, the more personal approach has been welcomed and it’s likely to stay. If you’re launching your own business, be sure to build in a full customer care strategy that incorporates real contact and not simply auto responses and delayed email responses. And if you’re growing your business by building a team, be aware of your employee experiences. Treating your team in the way you’d expect to be treated will go a long way to cultivating a culture of loyalty and a reasonable expectation that your employees will treat your customers in the same way.



Agile, flexible, evolving. Businesses have been asked to be this and more. And now that we know that they can? Well the bar won’t lower from there. There’s no longer space for archaic businesses who refuse to alter their process or administration to respond to consumer or economic requirements. Successful business now counts flexibility and adaptability as key to survival. Start your business with an open mind as to how things will evolve and you’re on the right track.

As we take what we’ve learnt and move forward in an economy where restrictions are lifting, it’s time for businesses to regain ground or to pivot for the future. But where do the opportunities really exist in a post-restrictions economy?


E Commerce everywhere

Online provision of, well, everything, is where it’s at. No longer limited to traditional e-commerce products, the expectation of customers is that they can find and crucially buy anything they want online and look forward to receiving it no matter where in the world they are. Shaping your business idea to ensure it is e-commerce compatible is a good start. Whether you’re providing physical products or a service, the information your consumers need should all be available online and the structure around how they access it should be clear. The beauty of online is the your choices are endless, limited only by your creativity. Carving out your niche online even if you plan to trade physically, means you’re adding another door to your business as well as protecting yourself against any future economic challenges.


Online entertainment

It’s not just sales of products and services that have opened up a world of opportunities for businesses. Think of everything entertainment and suddenly the choices are endless. From TV and Film production to online gaming offerings, streaming services to online concerts and virtual tourism events. If you can conceive of your business being offered online in this way, go for it. Perhaps you’ll offer the same service in person too but knowing the explosive success of online entertainment options in the last 18 months should inform us as to what consumers are willing to pay for.


Environmental concerns

Consumers have been shopping with their environmental purses of late. Investing in brands who have ethical production and environmentally positive practices. If you’re thinking of launching or growing your business, having in mind how you fabricate and ship your product, how you treat the team that work for you and with you, and how you choose to give back to your local and environmental community will carry a lot of weight with your consumer base.


Health and Fitness

The last year or so has proven difficult for many of us when it came to prioritising our own health and fitness. For some, it was simply not having access to our usual gym or GP, for others it was the realisation of our own mortality and how important it is to prioritise how we eat, live and exercise. Whatever the catalyst, many of us are investing more in our health and fitness, online and offline. From engaging in on demand exercise programs to having our healthy meals delivered to the door, we’re willing to spend on our well being and companies are quick to pick up on this.

There’s no doubt that COVID and the restrictions around the pandemic have caused unprecedented anxiety to businesses, of all sizes but as we emerge from the other side, its’ important to take what we’ve learnt and to look toward the opportunities we find ahead.


Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.