The most recent commands to ‘wear a mask’ from government agencies is not a big surprise to many people. So, I went shopping online today for a fresh box of face coverings since they may be a part of our dress code for a long time. The entire Pandemic culture reminds me daily that there’s a business aspect to all of it. Massive testing, diagnostic procedures, vaccine manufacture and treatment has become a multi-billion-dollar cumulative business that was not this massive just two years ago!
No doubt this unexpected pandemic with its various parts and places has put pressure on your business and personal life. Since I was mask browsing today, that’s where I did a bit of entrepreneur exploring. The “Research and Markets” organization has published some results of their study on the international face mask marketplace. They predict that it’s expected to reach $31.83 billion U.S. by 2027. That’s a mind scrambling number for what seems to be a pretty simple low-tech product but thankfully, there is a place at the table for various small business owners as well. Though I doubt that you’ve been dreaming for years of becoming a mask maker there are likely fresh opportunities in that category.
Here’s an example of the kind of pandemic pressure encountered by a medium sized company that owns a couple of hotels near my office in Santa Monica, CA. When tourist numbers quickly fell through the floor last March, the hotel owner quickly went delinquent on a $357 million dollar loan! How’d you like to wake up every morning wondering how your business would at least make those interest payments? They missed several payments between May and September of 2020. That’s a painful phone call to make!
One smaller business, a Mexican restaurant that I know of stayed alive because they own their building and California allowed restaurants to sell cocktails to take out! Moving hundreds of Margaritas without people sitting in the restaurant probably took away some of the pain. Yes, I was happy to help support them!
Back to the small enterprise opportunities in this changing market. Of course, the entire mask making business and its supply chain immediately felt the pandemic pressures. The rise in demand was meteoric and the large Chinese companies jumped to the 110% level of production. For the most desirable N-95 masks or cloth face coverings they all need the necessary mask parts. Smaller companies make the elastic attachment cords, metal strips to pinch over your nose and pre-cut materials and cloth parts. As an example I noticed that the 35 employee Aero Rubber Company in Illinois wasted little time in adapting their products for use on facemasks! Don’t we all remember the old adage about “turning lemons into lemonade“.
The pandemic induced ‘Mask-Erade’ is screaming ‘opportunity’ for small businesses across the country for entrepreneurs with open eyes and imagination!