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Monday, March 4, 2013

5 Actions opportunistic entrepreneurs use to build business

Would you have thought riding a bike 26 miles from here was a business opportunity?

Your surroundings offer many different opportunities for new business.  One of the more common statements entrepreneurs provide in meetings with potential funding sources is “We are opportunistic.  This statement translated means: “if we see something big, we will capitalize on it.”   Entrepreneurs are opportunistic by nature and always seek ways to create or increase value whether it was planned or unplanned.

Opportunity often shows up in unexpected ways and once recognized related businesses locate in the near the area.   A great example of this takes place in the tourism business.  Haleakala National Park resides in Hawaii on the island of Maui.  The extinct volcano is around 10,000 above sea level.   Someone determined that providing rides to the top to watch the sunrise would be a business.  Providing the ride to people that like to bike extended the fun for tourists.  Today many bike shops host bus rides to the top to view the sunrise and they outfit the tourists with bike equipment for the 26 miles downhill back to the bike shops.  This type of opportunistic activity shows up in resort areas and the business founders are entrepreneurs capitalizing on their surroundings.

Similar opportunities take place in the technology space.  Founders find a way to better connect people on-line and create the businesses Facebook and LinkedIn.  Other entrepreneurs recognize opportunities in related businesses that may enhance the experience and improve on connectivity and sharing.  The new businesses may not be as disruptive but they are new businesses capitalizing on the surroundings. 

Sometimes the opportunities are obvious while others require a leap of logic to recognize them.  Your ability to either innovate and create a new area or see a fit in an existing space is important.  You may not recognize many opportunities no matter how obvious they may be.  For example, the article “5Steps toward rebuilding your creativity and innovation side” provided an example of a missed product opportunity.  A second example is the case of a scientist working in the nuclear magnetic resonance field.  When asked to join a team developing new and novel equipment he declined thinking the new field would go nowhere.  What he turned down working on was the MRI found in many hospitals.  Missed opportunity or not, he failed to recognize the potential.

Your objectives should be to enhance your ability to recognize opportunity and increase your ability to create and capitalize on it.   A few steps that may help in the training are below:

1)      Survey surroundings:  Many of your business ideas will come from a survey of your surroundings.  Problems or needs of others can serve as a clue.  Services that people may enjoy like the bike trips or restaurants in resort areas may be a little simpler to recognize.  Treatments for medical disorders are more prominent, but may be harder to solve.   

2)      Recognize opportunity:  The opportunity for business exits where a sufficient market is available to provide the desired revenues.  Income levels need not be the same for a small business owner compared to founders in technology or medical areas.  Try to not discount ideas too quickly because it may be the big one!

3)      Assess market:  The market must be sufficient and sustainable.  You must have sufficient service or sales over prolonged time to sustain the business.  People must want what you have!

4)      Plan: Sufficient planning and organization of thoughts are important to developing the proper steps to start the business.  You will ensure the best chances of success by conducting sufficient research to understand the sector, markets, and need.

5)      Act:  Carry out the plans and prepare to adjust the path should the situation be required. 


Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon