When you say that successful businesses are governed by skill and not chance, some people will try to say no. Their argument often is that they know so many people who have succeeded without any skill. While that argument may sound interesting, I personally disagree with it. Skill does not necessarily have to be technical. The ability to identify business opportunities, and taking the necessary time and speed to explore availability of such opportunities is also skill. Start-up and survival of businesses is often dependent upon the entrepreneur’s ability to discover and exploit opportunities. For you who are planning to start a business, first think of the opportunity you want to exploit. You will discover an opportunity when you recognize that somewhere in your community, or even elsewhere there is market disequilibrium. An opportunity lies somewhere where resources are currently being used at a sub-optimal level. In such a situation you find that if you mobilize resources and perhaps use them in a different way, you can do something people will actually pay for. The bottom-line here is to reconfigure those resources to produce a product or service that satisfies a need which is currently unmet. To be able to do this, you need to question everything you see and hear and always think about ways you could make things different. What comes into your mind when you see everyone complaining about a given product or service? Many technologies are becoming outdated because things change so fast, do you just take this for granted? To be able to understand what I’m talking about, you should start to think like a little child. Children question everything they see and hear. To achieve this, try not to let your past experience block your mind. Usually your past experience will tend to make you think in a certain direction, which may kill the creativity and risk taking elements in you. This is especially true if you attempted before and failed. While you need to think like a child when discovering opportunities, you need to use your experience to evaluate these opportunities. The evaluation involves asking key questions and finding answers to them. If exploited, what need could this opportunity satisfy? How big and important is this need? Where will I get the money to exploit the opportunity? What knowledge and specific skills are needed to exploit this opportunity? Is the opportunity at hand really exploitable? These and many more questions will need answers. You may not ask these questions and get all the answers overnight, it may take some time. Even if an idea comes when you are in bed, get up and record it before you forget it. The problem with most of us is that we forget the idea as soon we think about it. I will also tell you that while opportunity discovery is a key for business starters, it is more critical for existing businesses. As a business person you must always be on alert for any new opportunities.
Remember that things around you change very fast. New and better competitors are coming up every day. Your business must constantly be in a dynamic state where you should be on the lookout for any opportunities and must have capacity to reconfigure your business model to exploit them. If customer needs change and you cannot change your business model, your business will collapse. In fact, to guarantee survival, you need not fight for market share – you need to fight for opportunity share. In questioning everything, you should be able to see tomorrow’s customer and his needs you to prepare your business to meet these needs, develop the necessary capabilities and wait for the opportunity. When the foreseen opportunity comes, you will certainly be more prepared to take the biggest share of it. This way you will stay ahead of your competitors.

Don’t just think of making money But think of ways of making money.


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