We are frequently asked by aspiring entrepreneurs, “How do I spot the next big opportunity?” The short answer: do something, anything, but get going! It’s hard to see what the folks in the cars on the freeway are wearing until you catch up with them. From the road side, it’s all just a blur.
When you are on a mission and you need a product or service and it doesn’t exist, that is the time to realize the opportunity. We, for instance, have discovered several applications that we would buy if only they were for sale. We have had to use work-arounds, coble together various applications, and overpay for poor services that sort of do the job, but not really.
On the other hand, we have had to buy certain services that try to be all things to all people and offer huge options we just don’t need and can’t use. But we still have to pay full price for the big clumsy service. Every day we see the opportunity for improved services and applications. Why do we see these opportunities? Because we are on a mission to share our knowledge with others, and that mission requires integrated services. Yet others are asking us where to find the same services we need.
The building industry is a great example. Many of the innovations in fasteners, brackets, materials, and jigs come from the construction workers themselves. They wanted to get the job done in a faster, cheaper, better and safer way than what was readily available. If they hadn’t been building, they never would have seen these opportunities.
There is the big advantage to working with an entrepreneur prior to starting your own business. You’ll see what they are missing, what could help them, or how to save them time and money. Keep your eyes open. Look at the applications they are using, the service they subscribe to, and the other tools they use. Take notes! There is huge room for innovation and you can be the one to spot it – if only you are moving toward a goal! Even though it is someone else’s goal, by working with others you will be more likely to see the opportunities.
Opportunities exist wherever there is an unsatisfied demand. So make sure that you are not the only person who would pay for the solution. Then get ready to devote your time to the opportunity. There are no half measures.
We are often asked why, if we see so many opportunities out there every day, do we not jump on all of them. The fact is there’s not a shortage of opportunities, but there is a shortage of time, commitment, and focus. Michael’s father used to say, “Good ideas are like belly buttons; you have to push them to get them going, then you have to run to keep up with them, and nobody has time for two!”
So it’s not about where the opportunities are so much as it is if you are willing to do the research, prove the market, and see it through to fruition. And it’s this latter part that kills most new ventures. Many proponents have no idea what is involved in seeing it through to fruition. We surely didn’t when we first recognized the opportunity for a low-cost, high-quality everyday American house wine. But we found out while doing it, learned our lessons, and stuck with it.
Opportunities abound! But you must get started in the business world to discover what is needed by you and others. So, get out there and get going!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.