Finding opportunities is different for companies, entrepreneurs and diverse lines of business. Nevertheless, I am going to try to list the general skill set required, in my opinion, to find such opportunities, in addition to an example for each.
Examples will try to cover the diverge type of business and entrepreneurship, from solo-entrepreneurs and small businesses to big corporations & multinationals.
The skills needed to find opportunities:
- Able to see the potential for profit.
- Open minded enough to hear any opinion.
- Ready to take a risk.
- Pondering on ideas.
- Capacity to detect great ideas & copy them.
- Ability to reason logically.
- Deep commitment.
- Empathic Curiosity.
Able to see the potential for profit:
At the end of the day, launching a business is about profit. If you can see the potential for profit in a project, that’s finding an opportunity.
With more people fearing to venture into malls and supermarkets due to Covid19, a solo-entrepreneur decides to launch a grocery delivery service.
Louis Vuitton , the luxury multinational, starts making face masks !
A light factory start replacing fluorescent tubes in light fittings with UV tubes …
Open minded enough to hear any opinion:
You might have an idea about a business, then you discuss it with a friend who put the idea in doubt. Open mindedness, allows you to discard bad ideas or improve them, thus allows you to find real opportunities.
An open mind is also very important at later stages of company growth, when you already have a successful small or medium business. Listening the opinions and ideas of employees, might allow you to find great growth opportunities for your business.
Company growth is stalling, you set a company brainstorm session for new ideas.
Or better, hiring a marketing consultant, who has a trove of marketing experience.
Taking feedback seriously, and paying extra attention to the negative ones.
Ready to take a risk:
This stands true on so many levels, however you spin the sense of finding opportunities, taking risks would be an answer!
Taking risks is basically testing the idea, the offer, the person, the business … and it is spending time and money, and that’s why it is called a risk.
No legit entrepreneur have escaped taking risks, because taking risks is synonym with opportunity.
I contact you offering you the possibility to provide a marketing service for your products in different languages. There is a price tag, but you are ready to take the risk, because getting access to a new market can help any company grow.
A first time entrepreneur, takes a risk by buying the first batch of products to sell.
Pondering on ideas:
Taking time, to analyse ideas from every aspect, is essential to identifying good opportunities. Opportunities can be separated from unfruitful ideas only when you analyse them thoroughly. Thinking about an idea 24/7 for weeks is not uncommon for businessmen.
New entrepreneur wants to open a snack. He studies the competition, checks the amount of customers they get on average, and calculates the cost of running a restaurant, as well as the conservative expected revenue. Brainstorming ideas about what to offer, how to market etc… Intensive thinking, 24/7 weekend included!
You have a company that produces vegan dishes, you are expanding into new territory, you have competition, you think about how to beat them. What you can offer that they don’t have.
Detect great ideas & copy or modify them:
Your competitor might have came up with a great idea, or maybe another non-related business. The ability to detect & copy good ideas or modify them is important .
A competing company started offering a new flavored chips, it is a hit. You do the same, otherwise you lose market-share.
While on a vacation, you notice that dried banana snacks are a hit. When you return home you launch a dried fruits snacks.
Ability to reason logically:
Sometimes, finding good opportunities is all about crunching the numbers, and doing some logical thinking. Many times, entrepreneurs are presented with potential opportunities, that fail to pass the logic test. Some ideas look good on paper, but not in reality.
You have electric tools shops, you have several regional brands exclusivity deals. A new brand want you to add their products to your offering, but no exclusivity deal. If the margin is not great, you refuse to promote a brand that competes with other brands you have exclusivity on.
Committing to a project deeply, working way beyond the Monday to Friday 9 to 5, can present you as a reliable service provider and would lead to partnership opportunities.
Owner of a small car repair shop, a big company sends a car for repair, to your shop. You work hard, fast, and even on weekend to repair it. Because you know, that going the extra mile will impress the corporate client. Impressing the client by being committed, means you get to be an official partner, and getting future business from them.
Sometime an opportunity is not profitable right away or even at all, but it would pay dividends directly or indirectly down the road. A good entrepreneur is able to imagine the benefits to his business, even if they are not at all obvious.
In front of your ice cream shop, a small strip of land is for sale. It is not big enough to build anything, but you buy it. Then, hire a landscape company & buy few benches. You are smart enough to know, that you created a small park like destination, where kids and their moms can enjoy an ice-cream. You transformed your business into a destination.
Finding ways to fix random businesses, or at least mentally, is a great exercise and sometimes uncovers nice opportunities.
A gym in the neighborhood is doing bad. You try to figure out ways to make it more successful. Considering basics, supply/demand, competition, pricing … and you try to get their business an advantage. Then you realize, you can partner with them, offering a 30% discount to all their members that visit your tattoo salon. It is a win win, you get more clients and their clients are happier and are more likely to bring referrals.