“I don’t know where to find opportunities.” That’s a line that should be burnt out of entrepreneurs’ vocabulary. Opportunities are abundant, around us everywhere. It is merely a choice to see them or not. An entrepreneur is someone who sees opportunities and gaps where no one else does. This means he or she isn’t poor. Poor, of course being the acronym, POOR: Passing Over Opportunities Repeatedly. The secret of success is saying "yes" to the right opportunities at the right time, something we train entrepreneurs to do in our Opportunity Recognition Workshops.
Take a newspaper, any newspaper and start paging through it. First just scan through it, and then start reading the articles. Become aware of your surroundings, whether it be in your community or country. Know what is happening around you. If there’s a draught in the Limpopo it would hardly be the time to sell seedlings to farmers, would it? Take a second to become aware of the socio-economic situation around you, remember you need to be fulfilling a need. Needs and necessities change constantly based on a myriad of socio-political factors.
Now that you are aware of the socio-political-economic climate around you, it is time to start looking for solutions. Let’s keep with the draught in Limpopo, what would be a necessity to fruit farmers? Maybe a nutrient spray that will aid plants to keep growing with less water, maybe some kind of sun shield so that the trees don’t lose as much water during the day. Possibilities are endless.
“But I’m not in the agriculture industry!” Someone calls in the background. No, you are not, but you may be in sales and suddenly your stock of citrus either has a shocking price hike or the quality has gone drastically down. Maybe you need to start looking at buying from farms in the Western Cape or somewhere else that produces citrus fruit. Maybe you will be able to bang a deal that allows you to sell a much higher quality product at a better price. fact of the matter is, you won’t know what you can do if you aren’t out there researching every aspect of your field, looking for both problems and solutions, would you?
Take another example, where you are a clothing manufacturer. Currently it is the Cricket World Cup, next year it will be the Rugby World Cup and the year after that will be the Olympic Games. Official merchandise can cost fortunes up to a R1000 per piece. In the next few years there will be an extremely high demand for supporters wear, however. What to do? Think about either producing or finding a supplier of quality supporter’s wear that can be sold to people unable to afford expensive merchandise. Do not pirate and copy the real thing, but there is nothing illegal about printing a springbok or protea on a green T-shirt, is there?
The fact of the matter is, the more you know, the more you are able to do. Become an expert not only on your own field, but all the other fields that may influence you. Be innovative and look for opportunities around you, after all, isn’t an entrepreneur someone who finds solutions to problems people face?