Some recent end-of-the-world scenarios were publicized, but never came to pass. In addition to doomsday predictions, some very real disasters – Hurricane Sandy, tsunamis, earthquakes and more – have made the topic of disaster preparedness much more legitimate among average consumers. And if consumers are talking about it, a smart entrepreneur’s ears should be perking up.
With greater numbers of families and individuals talking about the importance of gathering survival kits and prepping for emergencies, a few enterprising folks are meeting the growing consumer need. Disaster creeps around every corner, but instead of igniting panic and fear in some, the ever-looming threat of physical and financial chaos has instilled a new sense of ambition in a class of niche entrepreneurs.
Income.com wants you to take notice of survival preparedness, because it might just be the next big thing in entrepreneurship. A couple savvy businesspeople are cashing in on those concerns by starting businesses designed to cater to the supply needs of families and those prepping for the worst.
Take SurivivalKit.com, for instance. The company’s products range from car survival kits to office survival kits, offering customers food rations, medical supplies and other items that can help them withstand any number of unforeseen incidents. In addition to offering these useful tools, the company also maintains a blog on its website, a small-business marketing trick that any entrepreneur should use to provide added value to clients and prospects.
What is survival preparedness?
Survival preparedness isn’t an entirely new fad, but thanks to a couple high-profile events – the aforementioned Sandy, tornadoes, apocalyptic predictions – and some media exposure, it’s reached a whole new class of consumers. National Geographic currently airs a series called “Doomsday Preppers,” the gist of the show being exactly what the title implies. The series profiles families and individuals who stock up on enough supplies and equipment to see them through whatever doomsday scenario they are expecting.
There’s no shortage of scenarios people are preparing for, either: natural disasters, societal chaos, financial collapse, terrorist acts, nuclear warfare, pandemics, fuel shortages and even a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field.
What survival preparedness means for entrepreneurs
The new trend in survival preparedness has been a boon for entrepreneurs who have gotten into the supply side of the equation. The litany of different scenarios also necessitate a varied amount of supplies that preppers are in the market for.
Because survivalists intend to survive on their own means, they have a long list of needs that savvy entrepreneurs can fill: non-perishable food, dehydrated foods, clean water, warm clothing, cooking appliances, shelter, portable shelter, lighters or matches, first aid and hygiene products, firearms, ammunition, duct tape, axes, hammers, saws, wood, fabric and fuel.
The list could keep going on, but you get the point. What preppers can’t supply or make by themselves, they will buy. That’s where some entrepreneurial ingenuity comes into play.
How can entrepreneurs court survivalists
You can start by packaging an all-in-one survival kit that would appeal to a broad base of survivalists. For instance, items packed into a durable material like mylar could include: waterproof matches, meals ready-to-eat (MREs), a battery-operated radio, water, dust masks, a heat blanket and various tools. You can even look at other emergency kits that entrepreneurs have already crafted, like those at Survival Outpost or SurvivalKit.com, which sell one-person kits for up to $100.
If you indeed go this route and package supplies, make sure to buy in bulk. Consumers have sang the praises of Costco because of the big savings on big purchases, and entrepreneurs can do the same thing. It is far more cost-effective to buy large quantities at one time instead of constantly resupplying your inventory when your whole goal is to repurpose those goods and sell them.
Entrepreneurs can also take their cue from other survivalist businesses that clue you in on a niche audience. Safe Castle sells bulk cases of storage foods including carrots and strawberries and also builds underground blast doors and shelters. QuakeShake markets deluxe pandemic kits that include liquid bandage sprays, biohazard bags and respirators.
Why online is vital to survival entrepreneurship
Some tenents of modern entrepreneurialism also hold true for survival preparedness: Online is everything. There are some instances of entrepreneurs opening up apocalypse preparation businesses as a brick-and-mortar store – like Survival of the Fittest in Pennsylvania – but the overwhelming majority of survival preparedness startups have remote bases of operations and utilize online storefronts.
Digital shops are the most common option, like the one established by The Hurricane Store, a digital enterprise started by two Florida entrepreneurs who sell natural disaster survival kits over the internet.
Another key factor to understand in survival preparedness is that the likelihood of an entire community or region being doomsday preppers is not very high. Preppers are strewn throughout the country, and many maintain residences as far away from society as they can get. Online survival supply stores facilitate easier interaction and more detailed product listings, like the entire components of a six-person natural disaster survival kit.
Income.com warns entrepreneurs against scoffing at the idea of a survival supplies startup even though some may see it as a bit far-fetched. There is a veritable consumer base that is in need of easy access to large amounts of supplies, which entrepreneurs can provide them with.