Would Sir Isaac Newton really have discovered gravity if nature hadn’t decided to pelt him with an apple? While this may not be an apt way to begin a discussion on how to spot an opportunity, you have to appreciate the fact that Newton didn’t just appreciate Mother Nature’s largesse and eat the apple, he spent a moment in thinking about the opportunity at hand, an opportunity that with time and endless hours of work translated into the definitive theory on gravity. So how do you have your Isaac Newton moment?
Not a straight answer to this one, we’re afraid but we do know a few things…
- Check your baggage at the door: In simple terms, don’t let your previous failures, however abject, cloud your view about another, seemingly similar opportunity. You don’t need the self inflicted negativity. So really check your baggage, your predispositions and other undesirable qualities at the door.
- Opportunities need to be spotted:
Sometimes a long, hard think is all it takes. At others a conversation about prevalent conditions of market or business or even the state of the local trains may spark an opportunity. You need to be receptive, above all else you need to keep an open mind and accept all points of view. After all you never know which one of them will lead you to that opportunity.
- Dialogue is important:
If you think that you’d be able to spot an opportunity in isolation, you would only be half right, in that it isn’t impossible for you to do it alone. But talking, chatting, conversing about things is also important. Sometimes we are so obsessed with the deep thoughts we choose to preoccupy ourselves with that the rather innocuous sounding details, which could make or break an idea slip our minds. A chat with a friend or contemporary could really help better identify a fatal flaw in a plan.
- Sometimes being repetitive ain’t such a bad thing:
Revisiting the drawing board on an idea can sometimes help bolster it or elevate it to the next level. In any case, being repetitive and thorough are simply due diligence that need to be followed to ensure the repeat value of a perceived opportunity.
- Surround yourself with thinkers:
Many hands make light a job. Similarly many minds, a think tank of sorts can seriously expand on the pros and cons of an opportunity or a situation and help you identify a better circumstance or set of circumstances for yourself. Make spotting opportunities a team job, surround yourself with diverse thinkers who can analyse a situation from diverse angles and come up with better, more rounded solutions than you could on your own.
- Competitive analysis:
If there’s one MBA tool you need to use in order to spot an opportunity, a SWOT analysis of your competition would be it. What are the opportunities that they’re overlooking, if any and is there anyway you could use that to your advantage? Enough said, we think.
As an entrepreneur, one of the things you will need to be is an oracle. An oracle who sees beyond what exists to what possibilities lie ahead. In spotting ways and means to promulgate a change is how you will ultimately succeed in your endeavor. And that is the ultimate goal of any entrepreneur.