Entrepreneurs – How Do You Spot Your Best Opportunities?

Where do you find your best opportunities?Where do you find your best opportunities?

There are two things that set breakthrough entrepreneurs apart from the crowd. First, they are great at spotting new opportunities to grow their business. Second, they are great at taking advantage of these new opportunities faster than others.

Today, I’m talking about how to spot great opportunities.  In the next couple of weeks, I will talk about how to execute on them.  For entrepreneurs, it’s critical to find new opportunities and clients to continue growing their business. As simple as sounds, it can be very challenging to continue identifying new opportunities to grow your business every year. But if you’re not taking advantage of new opportunities, your competition is.  I believe it is critical for you to seize new opportunities, particularly now.  Here’s a list of questions I use to help my clients begin seeing new opportunities and clients.

Where do you have the greatest footprint and experience and in what markets? I believe it’s essential for organizations to seize opportunities within their current markets. Larger organization can afford to make mistakes and invest significant capital to develop new markets. Most organizations get better results if they focus on what they know and then learn more about their clients and customers.

What is the biggest challenge or threat your customers face in the next 12-24 months? What keeps their CEOs up at night? Do you know what it is and how can you learn more about it? Who else might be in their market who could share what they know with you? I’ve found bankers very helpful in helping me understand the bigger challenges facing my clients.  How many bankers do you have in your network that could help provide insights into the different challenges your customers are facing?

Are you able to open communications with others to create value for all concerned? When I’ve consulted in the medical field, I noticed it was very frustrating for my clients to have to reinvent the wheel when it came to product development. I’ve worked in several industries who have failed here in North America because they were unable to see opportunities as they became available. When talking with new competitors in these fields, though they all shared a common understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the troubled markets, they chose different solutions for the market. Think Apple and Samsung as examples of companies that took common knowledge and practices from other industries to create breakthrough products and services.

How connected are you in your markets? Do you work with user groups, trade associations, vendors, customers, and even potential competitors? We are moving into a time when collaboration is becoming more critical that competition in many mature markets. Are you prepared to develop the community to help your organization seize opportunities than your more traditional competitors?

Finally, how do you leverage your multi-generational work force? Do you understand how different generations see your product or service? What are their expectations and how are others missing these opportunities? If you’re a 55 year old male who only worked for one organization, it might be an interesting conversation to talk with several millennials about how they see your marketplace. I think you may be surprised by what you hear.

We’ve covered several ideas to help you start connecting to your markets in a different way. Next week, we share how you can take advantage of this information and connections.  We’ll begin to explain how to organize this information into new opportunities.  See you next week.

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