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Friday, May 18, 2012

Even a Blind Squirrel Can Find Nuts

There was a time of transition where I was seeking to find a company to run.  I was eager to obtain an opportunity where I could make a difference and get involved in a startup.  The search was exhausting and took extensive time to seek and review opportunities.  I was on the phone and sending email every day for several months.  It was during this time that I began to think the opportunity did not exist or that no one would allow me to have one.  I was speaking with a trusted advisor and he offered me the following advice; “Even a Blind Squirrel Can Find Nuts.”  At the time, all I could do was laugh.  It was funny and did not seem to relate to my situation.  What he was really saying was that there are so many opportunities available that I must keep looking to obtain the one that I wanted.  This is true for a startup or a job search. 

The advice turned out to be more appropriate than I realized.  It was not until if found what I was looking for and built the company that I began to really see all the opportunities available.  They come from so many different sources I now have more problems screening them than finding them.  Opportunities can come from Universities, Company spinouts, Friends, and other places.  I see them at competitions where entrepreneurs are seeking help and money.  University faculty may have an idea but not know what to do next.  Startups are stalled and the entrepreneur has no idea of next steps.

In the early time of entrepreneurial development, seeking the technology becomes the sole activity and it is time consuming.  Opportunities exist everywhere, but it is important to set your expectations such that you keep seeking until you find what you want.  More importantly is that you search using better-defined parameters. That is, to finding something that is a real fit with your knowledge and skills.  This means setting appropriate filtering in your search.  Start by determining what you really want and try to limit the search.  You can always expand it later.  I find limiting first helps me stay focused.

On finding that special opportunity, make sure you do your own diligence.  With so much to choose from, your goal must be to select the best possible business opportunity you can find.  Keep in mind you have to live with the business for a long time. 

I will always remember the advice “A Blind Squirrel Can Find Nuts”  for two reasons; 1) the person that said it was a very close friend and advisor, 2) it is true and says stick to your search there are things out there for you.  Learn to review the technologies after you find them and you will always end up in a much better position.

Oh yes, the squirrel in the photo was unharmed in during his/her involvement in this endeavor!