There are many times when we feel pulled one way or another with business opportunities. But how do you know if one or another is right for you? There is a process and it starts with the business vision and your strategic plan. Then use these suggestions to fill in the blanks so you can recognise when a business opportunity fits you.
Are you dazzled and distracted? Some business opportunities make us feel like we’re kids in a candy store. When you are entrepreneurial by nature and a small business owner, you know that you have to keep looking for ways to keep your revenues at healthy levels. How do you recognise the business opportunities that fit you?
*Joan (names and details have been changed to maintain confidentiality) is a small business owner who has just released her first product. It’s a small company so everyone wears multiple hats. But now it’s on the brink of growing rapidly over the next 18 months. It hasn’t always been clear that releasing this product was such a great money-making idea. In fact, Joan wasn’t at all enthusiastic when it was first proposed to her. So, she brought the subject to our coaching sessions.
We followed a process
Any opportunity can be analysed to see if it fits your business and you. It is simply a matter of being willing to listen to the answers.
Here are five questions to get you started:
# 1. Is this in sync with my business vision?
# 2. If I do X, which goal does this support?
# 3. Given my cash flow, is this a good decision right now?
# 4. Will this make money?
# 5. Do I really want to do it or do I think I am supposed to do it?
The process is not a straight line
It is important to go through a process of evaluating the opportunity before jumping in. There is an emotional piece to the process that must be included in the decision-making process. It is easy to be caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment. You like and admire a potential collaborative partner. The idea is very much like something you have dreamed of doing. This is heady stuff!
For Joan, she was aware that her business gave her customers peace of mind and the tools for success in her services. This was a key differentiator and relationships matter deeply to her. The product had to be aligned with these values as well.
One way to begin an analysis is to ask why. This can remove some of the glitz that clouds effective decision-making. Completing a SWOT analysis can highlight a number of things such as how your product is different from your competitors to what barriers could derail the opportunity.
Related: Growing Pains and How To Manage Them
The rest of Joan’s story
Joan was used to a business model that had services as the central offering to customers. Shifting to a model that had both products and services was unnerving despite her stated intention to go this route. Joan also discovered that she had to trust her employees to execute the plan. Interestingly, they offered to do the majority of the work and report to Joan about their progress on a scheduled basis. Joan expressed feeling apprehensive that she could monitor this initiative while doing her regular work. To her credit, Joan was able to listen to their ideas, projections and analyses and accept that they had a market ready and waiting.
Story has a happy ending
Joan and her team not only secured funding and new customers but also have hired additional employees. By following the process, it was easier to manage the excitement and anxiety as well as the logistics and specifications of the product.
To recognise business opportunities that fit you, you have to be willing to set aside your excitement and ask the 5 questions to determine if it is worth pursuing.
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