If the rumors are true, the country’s largest consumer companies reached an informal consensus, 2020 was lost. In May, many companies decided to make massive cuts to their communication and marketing efforts to focus their energy and plans in 2021. The actions of many firms seem to prove what many of us have feared, shelving by 2020. For small and medium-sized companies that live as Part of the supply chain of large firms, this budget reduction is a death sentence. For large companies that have lost —either a significant amount of income in the mass consumption sector— or others that simply have not received payments from the government, the reality is critical.

The news of a possible vaccine at the end of the year will do little to change the course of the world economy, the year will go down in history as the worst economic crisis in the last 100 years. However, that analysis is only valuable if viewed from 100,000 feet. For people, the fight to get ahead day by day is more urgent than worrying about whether the national GDP will fall 8 or 10 percent. For this reason, companies must reinvent themselves and change the way they perceive the market.

Starting point: innovation versus complacency

We must begin by admitting that we do not know the right path, there is no perfect vision for the future. I can’t count the times I’ve heard CEOs talk about the excellent decisions they made to have the current results; however, that clarity is never reflected in his comments to the future. A few days ago a young man asked me what advice I would give him for the future. My answer was, I don’t know. There is no magic ball and no safe path. The great work towards 2021 will be to recognize that there is nothing certain, nor do the large companies with the best teams of consultants have laid out a route. The answer is in the market, let’s find out what the consumer is doing and build a small sandcastle in the hope that the next wave won’t take everything.

The businesses of 2021 will be the result of iteration and innovation, a few weeks ago he spoke of Strategyzer’s model of exploration and exploitation. That is a great first step that must be accompanied by innovation. The constant questioning what, who, how and where we sell our services and products. Everyone is at the table. If today things have been complicated in your business and you are not questioning everything you do, you will surely have a bad time. The opportunities in 2021 will be wrapped in a common denominator: solving problems for third parties.

The problems to be solved in 2021

The first is evident, lack of employment. Naturally it will be a great year for Uber Eats or Rappi but also in UpWork and Task Rabbit. These platforms serving in the Gig Economy will see benefits from a surge in cheap labor. But it pales before the Hustle Economy, this new way of working that seeks to keep loyal customers afloat to their service providers. A notable example is Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/) this platform allows professionals to build a subscription platform for clients to pay for services in a subscription model. Consider a Chef who can teach weekly, an artist, or a teacher. Patreon added 100,000 users in the first two months of the pandemic.

Another major problem will occur in the homes, while the families are reconfigured to mixed schemes of home office, face-to-face work and home schooling. Slowly we see how the homes have become out of adjustment, the children stay at home while one parent goes home and another goes to work, one of many possible combinations. We are close to having impossible situations at home. This means new business opportunities. Why think of conventional schools? Academic models like liks.co could be the outlet for many parents, hybrid education models less susceptible to changes in health issues.

We will also have to think about older adults, the retirement homes were especially hit by COVID-19, showing that the retirement model needs analysis. We will all reach that age and from now on we must analyze the opportunities to serve a sector that is mistakenly considered less relevant from the perspective of economic capacity.

2021 will be the year of problem solving that up to a year ago we knew existed, mass sanitization, remote education, and online selling were relatively small businesses; today they are the hope of many companies. The question is, what problem are you going to solve for your future clients?