3 businesses that will thrive during, and after, lockdown in South Africa

3 businesses that will thrive during lockdown in South Africa? Not the way most people are looking at business in April 2020. If I told you six months ago that in the near future you will watch a movie where people hug each other and they shake hands, and you will think that’s so weird, you would have told me I was insane. Yet, my son left our apartment this morning for the first time in three weeks. He’s only four. Just being able to run to the car and drive somewhere got him all excited. If I told you that there would be no traffic at 08:30 in the morning in Pretoria, you would have also told me I’m insane. And we just took my wife for her appointment at the doctor’s office. My son and I waited in the car.

3 businesses that will thrive during lockdown

Will your business survive the Covid-19 lockdown?

Everything has changed and we don’t even know when things will get back to normal. If ever. Many small to medium sized businesses are suffering and might not survive the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa. A small percentage of us is lucky enough to be able to work from home. For most South Africans that is not a luxury they have. It’s depressing but it’s a reality that hit us really fast. So fast in fact that nobody really knows what the fuck is actually going on. The world is changing and so is the way that people spend their money. We are going to feel the economic pinch of this, especially in the middle classes and lower.

But people will keep buying. Many people have no other option, so there will always be business opportunities. We can already see the trends that are developing and easily identify businesses that will thrive during the lockdown in South Africa. Nothing is set in stone, and I’m sure that changes to the lockdown and what we can buy and not buy during lockdown is going to be changing eventually. Dildos are definitely not essential, but some people want to buy dildos. Here are three businesses that are showing promise for growth during lockdown and also after.

3 businesses that will thrive during lockdown in South Africa

The underground cannabis market

You might not like to hear this, but put your own judgement and feelings aside for a moment. The biggest reason the underground cannabis market is thriving in South Africa under lockdown is because it is under ground. Just like underground trade of cigarettes and alcohol has suddenly become a thing because people can’t get what they want from where they used to get it. Prohibition always creates a black market, and the cannabis community has been operating underground for so long that this is nothing new to them.

3 businesses that will thrive during lockdown - Cannabis industry

Especially now that the private use and possession of cannabis has been decriminalized until further notice, the market is bigger. People are not afraid of going to jail for their having cannabis in their homes any more. Regardless, the sale and trade of cannabis remains illegal in South Africa and you can still go to jail for that. I’m not encouraging anyone to break any laws. There are ways to build a brand in the cannabis market in South Africa without breaking the law. You just need to be smart about it. Treat your brand like a media agency by producing content, as much as you can handle and when the government does inevitably legalize the sale and trade of cannabis you will be miles ahead of those who haven’t been building a brand.

Do you think I talk about weed so much just because I smoke the odd joint every now and then?

Pharmaceuticals and medical supplies

No surprises here. You don’t have to be an economist or a dubious trader with insider info to make this genius deduction. Covid-19, Coronavirus, call it what you want is scaring a lot of people and people will easily spend money they don’t even have when they are scared. Testing, vaccines, medicines, medical supplies are all unfortunately things that we mostly need when we are scared. I might not be the one to start a business in this industry, but I can certainly help those businesses be better at marketing in an age when more people watch video on Facebook and YouTube than there are people watching television. You won’t see me buying stocks in anything television related in the near future, but I might invest in a few medical supply businesses.

The other alternative is to start working affiliate marketing in the medical supply business. That could be really profitable if you had some SEO expertise and digital marketing skills.

Ecommerce, all of it

Takealot will soon be able to sell everything again, including dildos, if they want to. It’s hard to compete with Takealot with the backing of Naspers. Now that Multichoice will lose even more DSTV subscribers as everyone starts counting their cents I can assure you that Naspers is going to look at growing other parts of it’s businesses, especially businesses that can operate online. As long as you don’t try to be Takealot you will be fine. Do you think I sell “Afrikaans T-shirts” for fun? Well, I do enjoy making crazy designs happen and putting them on t-shirts. But it is also not something you can really find on Takealot, is it? When you are in bed with Naspers, there are certain rules you have to stick to. I don’t have to stick to any rules and that is why I can sell t-shirts like this.

You might not make millions, and Ecommerce is a lot of hard work. Again, in this digital age you better have the strategies and skill to do digital marketing and produce content. I’m now moving in the direction of building a team specifically just to help with content creation. I might sell t-shirts, and grow tents, and LED grow lights (making more sense that I talk about weed a lot, right?), but what I really need to do more of is produce more content. I need to treat the changing landscape for my businesses like a media agency. It did start as a blog after all.

You can sell almost anything online. I suggest you find something you can do that you love and that you understand well enough that you can keep creating content around that as if you were a media agency catering to people who want to buy what you love. Pots, plants, tables, wallets, belts, the scope is endless. Don’t expect it to grow into a massive success over night, but your chances to make a success of your Ecommerce business is bigger now than they have ever been, because you can be your own media agency.

There are definitely more than 3 businesses that will thrive during lockdown in South Africa. What opportunities have you seen? Maybe change your perspective a bit and let me know what pops up in your head in the comments below.

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