Market Insight: Richard Alberg, MWS Technology
The Covid pandemic will create amazing business opportunities for entrepreneurs as markets adapt to new demands from customers, says serial entrepreneur Richard Alberg, CEO and Founder of MWS Technology, which provides technology to training providers.
The Covid pandemic is going to create some amazing new business opportunities for entrepreneurs as markets adapt to new demands from customers, says Richard Alberg.
He says: “There is a lot of economic disruption and dislocation that we are going to experience as a result of Covid, and when you have this much change and damage, it creates an opportunity. There is going to be loads of opportunity at every end of the spectrum – for the person with the back bedroom business and for the individual who is trying to grow something of scale.”
Richard says one place to look for business opportunities is in providing lower cost versions of existing products and services. “The economy is taking such a bashing that there is going to be a new value market created. There is going to be a group of people who want to buy things for less money than they could previously buy them for; so for businesses which can offer solutions at a lower cost, there is a new market.”
Another area of opportunity will be in technology, he says. “We all learnt to do a huge amount through technology in the absence of travel during the pandemic, so there will be a long term growth opportunity in the technology-enabled sector because people are just used to using technology. If, for example, people used to have seven out of ten meetings face to face before the pandemic, then after the pandemic they might decide to have seven out ten meetings online instead, which will create business opportunities to service that.”
To take advantage of these opportunities, entrepreneurs need to do three things. First, they need to consider what they want to achieve on a personal level. Are you looking to build the next Amazon, or are you looking for a lifestyle business that you can run from your home? Both are entirely legitimate aims but require different approaches. If you know what you want, that will give you focus, and half the challenge of doing anything entrepreneurial is focus.
Second, they need to articulate the market opportunity they want to address and decide whether it is a realistic goal. It is one thing to set up a dog grooming business serving dog owners in your local area; it is quite another thing to say you are going to have a UK network of dog grooming centres which will transform dog ownership throughout the country. They are two very different goals even though they are in the same space, so it is important to make sure there is a market gap that looks like what you want to address.
Finally, you need to decide how you are going to make it happen. You don’t need answers to everything but it is useful to have some of the big answers already there, such as whether the funding and skills you will need are realistically obtainable.
Richard says that entrepreneurs have two big advantages in spotting good business opportunities. For a start, they are unlikely to be held back by the legacies of already having a business which was developed in and designed for a different commercial environment. “You can do new things because you think it is what the market now wants and you are not going to be held back by issues such as having expensive leases on retail outlets or staff with the wrong skills, for example.”
They also have the advantage of actually thinking and acting like an entrepreneur. “That means that your mindset is up for doing something different and taking a risk and trying to make something occur in a gap in the market.”
Richards Top Tips for entrepreneurs
1. Decide what you want to achieve.
2. Articulate the market opportunity and decide whether it is
a realistic goal
3. Decide how you are going to make it happen