To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to recognise an opportunity when you see one.
Specifically, you need to be able to identify a problem or gap, and come up with an innovative solution.
You also need to be able to execute on that solution, but without spotting the opportunity in the first place, you aren’t shifting anything!
Seeing opportunity is one of the three key things that entrepreneurs do and do well.
It was Winston Churchill who said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
It is possible to have a “filter” that looks first for reasons why something won’t work; why it is too difficult; too costly etc. It appears as if successful entrepreneurs have a healthy dose of optimism and see things more consistently from the view point of why they could work.
The good news is that even if,
by nature, you are more pessimistic, through consistent choices (nurture) you can up the optimism level
and opportunity seeing that you experience.
Opportunity is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. The truth is an opportunity will solve your problems.
Here are four tips in finding your opportunity:
Actively look for opportunity
Before you can see an opportunity, you have to be looking for opportunity. This seems basic, but many people have given up on looking for opportunity. This is why there is that saying, “You wouldn’t see an opportunity if it hit you in the face”.
Opportunity can literally be right where you are but you’re blind to it. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
Be willing to read and research
They say knowledge is power, and it’s true. You won’t find opportunity without knowledge.
Everything you ever want, you are just a piece of knowledge away from obtaining. It is said that someone who reads and researches a subject for 10000 hours becomes an expert in that subject.
I know of a top-ranking photographer whose growth and visibility is directly tied to his voracious appetite for research. In his case, he didn’t follow a formal education path.
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him.” – Maya Angelou
You must go for it
You have to leave the land of comfortability and set sail into new territory. Harbours are safe places for ships and boats to shelter in a storm, but ships and boats are not designed to stay at harbour. They are made to venture out and fulfil their purpose. So it is with the budding entrepreneur and “going for it”.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Richard Branson’s advice is similar: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”
Be a network ninja
Everything you want, somebody else has it. Contacts equal contracts. How big is your power base? How big is your pipeline? The more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way. There’s a reason why successful network marketers make a lot of money – they prospect.
Identify which groups, companies and individuals you are wanting to meet and connect with. It may be that a networking event doesn’t have these earmarked people in attendance, but there may be a company, individual or interest group present at the networking session that can give you a “warm” introduction to those key people/organisations.
It may be helpful to draw up a list of potential customers, decision makers, influencers, opinion leaders and experts through whom you want to extend your networking circle. By then asking yourself who and how can you be introduced to them, you may see clear linkages in the event or session you plan on attending.
Remember, networking is your net-worth; your first focus is to connect, not sell and that networking will pay huge dividends, when you work.