Where to look for business opportunities
Business opportunities can come from two different sources.
(1) They can develop/evolve as a result of your personal background including your previous jobs, hobbies and personal experiences, or
(2) From opportunities in the external environment or general market place
(A) Look at yourself
That is, review each of the following areas to see if there is a business opportunity ready to be uncovered
(a) Lifestyle and experience
(b) Your hobbies
(c) Your job
In this case a major consideration in among business venture should be to love what you are doing. It is only natural that looking at past experiences and interests could reveal an opportunity to further develop them into a viable business.
Life style and experience
Ideas may arise from casual observation of daily life situations. It simply a matter of being more attuned to what is happening around you. Ideas may become obvious as a result of travel, your own experiences in seeking products in the market place, ideas expressed by others who have recognized a problem or opportunity, or simply the result of observing the behavior of other people.
Hobbies or interests may lead to business opportunities. E.g. Writers who establish publishing companies or teachers who establish their own private schools or private libraries.
Note: An entrepreneur must be careful that he/she remains objective when assessing business opportunities in this area since what one loves to do may not always be the most profitable business opportunity.
Idea from your employment can evolve in many different ways. You may have identified a product or service opportunity that your employer is not pursuing. Perhaps you have developed specialized skills or knowledge that may be of interest to others in the industry or may be you have a product to sell to your employer. Note: Do not copy your employer’s product it may be unethical / illegal.
Lifelong learning is an important requirement for successful entrepreneurial endeavors. In addition to develop skills, education can lead to business idea. It will significantly broaden your perspective and help you to see opportunities in areas that you may not have otherwise considered.
(B) Look at what is happening around you
There are several environmental factors that any lead to business opportunity. These are:
Changes in the market
i.e. when consumer change their buying habits and preferences there are always new opportunities to substitute E.g. home entertainment and video stores / libraries vs. cinema halls.
Changes in an Industry
When governments change regulation there is often an effect on many industries. Opportunities arise to help provide solutions to companies to deal with these changes or to service new needs created by them.
The impact of technological growth has had an influence on almost all sectors in business from car maintenance to photo radar to videoconference. New opportunities that exploit new technologies are developing at an alarming role.
The demand for certain products has created a very competitive market place in some industries. The personal computer industry is an example where competitive pressure has greatly influenced this market.
Changes in the age, income, and status of the population have contributed to increased demand in many sectors such as health can, financial planning and travel advice.
How do trends factor in?
If you can identify a trend and learn how to tap into it, you are on the road to developing a successful business with incredible potential. Knowing what your client will want in the future is a stepping-stone to success.
A trend is defined as, “a definite, predictable direction or sequence of events”
A trend can last over ten years.
Trend information provides us with data about the past and the future. Trend forecasting is accomplished by using different methods, depending on who is doing the forecasting.
How do you predict trends?
There are two ways in which trends that are occurring can be recognized.
(a) Reading books written by futurists, (normally applied in stock markets), or
(b) Learn how to identify a trend yourself.
In either way, the following tools should be considered:
• Demographic data; shifts in the statistics relating to the population
• Changes in the make- up of the population
• Changes in society : Habits and value
• Economic indicators: Inflation, unemployment levels etc.
In a trend, what is looked for, are indicators that there will be a large enough segment of the population who have similar needs to support a business venture.