This is a summary of answers to this question on Quora. My handful of ideas are at the end, after the break.
“A viable business idea isn’t just an idea that can bring you coins , it is one that can be profitable and matches your life’s vision and purpose.” Know yourself.
Shopping services, cleaning services, “anti-viral”, home electronics, gardening, at-home activities, camping and outdoors, signage.
Online business as a middleman.
Grocery stores, upgrade internet and SOHO equipment, takeout restaurant, medical supply.
Black market groceries.
Franchise development. (Not sure what this is.)
Online sales, eBay.
Alcohol sales to homes, toilet paper.
Home businesses using the internet. Lead and prospect management online.
Teaching bartending skills online. Generalize that. If you can’t do it now, teach it – the skill is kind of worthless now.
Ecommerce, online collaboration, online entertainment, online learning, telehealth. Know your domain knowledge before proceeding.
Online meetings, survival in worst case scenario, ecommerce of essential supplies, advisors through crisis. Lean business low overhead and prior success in ecommerce or delivery. Diversified customer base. Outreach channels for customer. Critical service in digital space. Competitive prices. Online promotions and no delivery fees. Contactless delivery, sanitation. Online advertising. Unique content to help them get through the pandemic.
Buying up failing businesses.
Online gaming, teleconference. Online classes.
Distance learning, distance work.
Healthcare ID, video conferencing, order management system, education, mobile app for retail, healthcare apps, mobile app for restaurant, restaurant order app.
Home sleep aids: earplugs, eye masks, pajamas. Phone holder. Baking tools. At home exercise. DIY tools. Hair clipper. Cleaning tools.
Commercial cleaning, medical testing, funeral services, cleaning solutions, home delivery. Patient transport.
Online teaching. Ecommerce. Gaming. Content creator.
Online business. Multi vendor ecommerce platform. Online groceries. E-learning. Online crafts marketplace.
Social media marketing, online businesses, more offers, websites and online marketing development. Companies seek cheaper marketing, using online gig sites.
Food, sanitizer, tissue paper, masks.
At-home entertainment, promoting health. Mutual aid networks.
Create a database. Ecomemrce. Streamline mundane tasks. More secure deliveries.
Invest in depressed assets that are necessary.
Transport, food catering, medical, beauty and hygiene, medical, catering, laundry, gold, raw materials, organic farming, pharma, beverages and spirits, event management, electrical.
Gig work. Mental health. Work exchange, turning staff into temps to lend out to other companies.
On demand multi-services and on demand apps.
Virtual services. Self care. Health and beauty. (Post was MLM ad.)
I am surprised the Quora folks didn’t focus on masks. Whether handmade cloth or 3d printed, these are selling fast.
An unscientific survey of other successes says: glaziers, window installers.
Why? Because businesses are now taking pickup orders. This means keeping the customer outside, and keeping workers inside. It’s time to install some kind of walk-up window, or a counter that faces the outside.
An add on: roll down security doors.
Touchless is the keyword. Germophobia has gone mainstream.
Touchless automatic fixtures and appliances. “No contact” is the term of the year, and these touchless products already exist. Everyone know the touchless hand sanitizer dispenser that squirts out some alcohol foam, and the basically same machine that does the same for hand soap. There’s also the paper towel dispenser and touchless hand dryer. We also know the no-contact urinal and toilet. These appliances are expensive, and also need installation. So business should be good.
There are also potential new products, like an automatic sanitation machine to clean out the toilet area. This already exists in some cities that have kiosk restrooms.
Touchless vending machines. Yes, they exist, but are a niche product. Expect them to become viable in the future. Material and operation costs are lower than for traditional vending machines.
Related to both of these above is NFC and no-contact payment and identification systems. NFC means near field communication, and is a form of RFID which means radio frequency identification. Most credit cards and many mobile phones have “nfc” built into them. This allows for features like gas station “fast pass”, payment through Google pay or Apple pay on credit card machines.
The same technology is used to create electronic door locks. These things are pretty expensive, but allow for smaller businesses to implement lock systems that work like a hotel: you use key fobs or cards, or a smartphone with NFC, and each key is unique. These will require installation, software, and training.
Infrared technology is used to make touchless buttons. These often include a mechanical button, but add an infrared heat sensor that detects a hand placed near the button. This is useful for automatic doors that are opened with a button press. The button can be upgraded for less than $20. Sourcing and installation can command a lot more revenue!
If you don’t have much capital, you can use a 3D printer to fabricate plastic door handle pullers. These are key fobs that are shaped like hooks, and allow you to pull the door without touching the handle. Profits are small, but, the market does exist for them on online sales sites like ebay and mercari.
Similar to buttons are touch-free or no-touch light switches. These replace light switches, which are fomites, or surfaces that get touched and pass on germs, and have some potential. Most homeowners don’t even know these things exist, and they are not hard to install. These are not the same as wi-fi wall switches, which cost more and are touched. There are basically two brands: an old Honeywell, and a new “adorne” that costs a lot.
Closely related are the motion-sensor switches, which are common in commercial restrooms. These are more sensitive to motion, so anyone walking in will cause the switch to activate, and then, after several minutes, will shut off. Some switches have an additional timer feature. Are these really worth it, or an annoying add on? It’s hard to say, but given the times, the touchless aspect is a selling point.
Some pens nowadays have a rubber “stylus” for use on mobile phones. They can work to press touch screen ATMs, elevators, and other touch-screen systems. While this has dubious utility, because you could use a tissue to protect yourself, it’s still a selling point, if you have these pens in your store inventory.
A similar “touchless” technology that has existed for decades is the touchless trash can with the lid that flips up. If you already sell them, you can emphasize “touchless” to update their relevance.
Touchless thermometers that read from the forehead have gone up in price into the $60 range, so it’s too late to make a quick buck on these, but there should be strong demand as long as stores and buildings require temperature checks. Odds are demand will increase even more as businesses “open up”.
A workaround is to use a no-contact thermometer attachment for a multimeter.
What’s the technology underlying no-touch devices?
The main one is the motion detection switch, called a pyroelectric infrared sensor, or PIR motion sensor. These detect warmth that’s moving in front of the switch, making them very good at detecting mammals! The switch is a sensor with a lens, and support circuitry to send an “on” signal. You need extra logic to decide how long to keep the device “on”.
Another technology is a sonar proximity detector. It sends out an ultrasonic tone, and determines the distance of an object that’s reflecting the sound back to the sensor.
Yet another is capacitive proximity sensors. These work somewhat like the touchpads on computers, and don’t need to be touched, but are generally designed to be touchable, or placed behind a touchable surface. They’re used to detect things like the presence of water in a tank. These can be used to create touchless products, but aren’t the ideal.