“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” – Ann Landers
Every morning presents new opportunities that provide endless possibilities if we have the right mindset. New opportunities usually present unique challenges. New challenges come with a need for some problem-solving. Solving problems opens the door to new opportunities. So, how do you respond when opportunity knocks?
Seizing opportunities isn’t always easy. If it were, everyone would do it. Rose Leadem says, “Ironically, hard work is the key to taking advantage of opportunities. If you put in the time, effort, and commitment, you’ll open many doors for yourself. It’s only a matter of noticing opportunities and acting upon them.”
Playing Three Card Monte
“Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something.” – Wilson Mizner
Growing up in New York, I remember seeing the three-card layout on a make-shift cardboard box table on many a street corner. The Three-card Monte game is an old trick designed to con people out of their money. Sometimes, the dealer operates alone under his accomplice’s watchful eye; sometimes, his accomplice plays the part of a passer-by.
The goal is to lure others into the game of guessing where the Queen is once the three cards (face down) are quickly rearranged. It’s a game you usually don’t win. Making the most of opportunities isn’t a game of chance. Thomas A. Edison says, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
It Takes Importunity to Make the Most of an Opportunity
“Many times, the opportunities in our lives look like problems” – Chad Reyes
How serious are you to make the most of your opportunities? I like photographing sunrises and sunsets as well as animals in their natural habit. I’m aware that to capture those photos requires timing; it’s importunity that allows me to be in the right place at the right time, which affords me the opportunity to seize the moment.
Writer William Arthur Ward says, “Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them,” how true it is that timing is everything. I must be awake and outside before dawn, looking east while it’s still dark if I’m to see the sunrise because that’s where my opportunity is rising.
A little bit of knowledge is empowering; knowing what you want, and where, when, and how to find it positions you to seize the opportunity when it presents itself. Opportunities are not usually discovered when you’re lucky, but when you’re looking.
Author and speaker Ben Kubassek remarks, “If you’re not looking for opportunities, you are unlikely to discover them. One’s mindset when facing challenges contracts or expands the number of possibilities and the extent to which things change.”
“They say knowledge is power, and it’s true. You won’t find opportunity without knowledge.” – Grant Cardone
Opportunities to acquire knowledge are present within most conversations if we’re actively engaged in listening. Haven’t we all spoken with customers, clients, neighbors friends and heard their issues with various problems? Aren’t those conversations possible opportunities in disguise?
Doesn’t every problem reveal a need? Can possessing a degree of knowledge about that need open an opportunity to meet it? Of course, it does! Mentor and Business Planner Amanda Jesnoewski suggests four ways for identifying business opportunities:
1. Listen to your potential clients and past leads When you’re targeting potential customers listen to their needs, wants, challenges and frustrations with your industry. Have they used similar products and services before? What did they like and dislike? Why did they come to you? What are their objections to your products or services?
This will help you to find opportunities to develop more tailored products and services, hone your target market and identify and overcome common objections.
2. Listen to your customers When you’re talking to your customers listen to what their saying about your industry, products and services. What are their frequently asked questions? Experiences? Frustrations? Feedback and complaints? This valuable customer information will help you identify key business opportunities to expand and develop your current products and services.
3. Look at your competitors Do a little competitive analysis (don’t let it lead to competitive paralysis though) to see what other startups are doing, and more importantly, not doing? Where are they falling down? What are they doing right? What makes customers go to them over you? Analyzing your competitors will help you identify key business opportunities to expand your market reach and develop your products and services.
4. Look at industry trends and insights Subscribe to industry publications, join relevant associations, set Google alerts for key industry terms and news and follow other industry experts on social media. Absorb yourself in your industry and continually educate yourself on the latest techniques and trends.(1)
“Most people ignore opportunities because they see only danger. Entrepreneurs ignore danger because they see only opportunities.” – Simon Sinek
(1) Amanda Jesnoewski “Four ways to identify more business opportunities.” https://bit.ly/2PNRRSZ
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***