Opportunity & Concept

In most circumstances, this is phrased as "concept and opportunity," but that's backward.  The greatest concept in the world can't create opportunity.  Without a doubt, the most important ingredient in launching a business is identifying the chance for success.  Talent and connections can be bought, but fortune is what we make of it when looking for the possibility.

So what are opportunities?

  1. Invention--what's never been before;
  2. Mimicry--what's been or made by others;
    1. in a new way,
    2. in a new market,
    3. in a growing market,
    4. in a narrowed market (sub-specialty),
    5. better,
    6. cheaper.

There's really nothing else.  Rather amazing, isn't it?  All that is the human world has evolved from those processes, and so must your successful business.  While the simplicity may be boggling, it also makes the task less daunting.  Countless others have done it.  You can too.  One of these six slots represents the full realm of opportunity--in decreasing order of preference.  The lower your rung on this Opportunity Ladder, the more difficult your climb toward success.

Although opportunity should come first, most readers will have already conceptualized their business.  Do you see where it fits on the Opportunity Ladder?  If you will compete on price, are you sure the competition can't match or beat your best price?  If you'll do it better, is a premium version desired?  Regardless, quality is a matter of perception, and how will you persuade your customers to give you the opportunity to prove it?  Be very careful if your business plan is based on either of these two opportunities.

There's never a better time than now to recreate you concept based on a better opportunity.  Can you move up the Ladder with a different approach?  Observe others doing similar work.  Meet with them and ask if they'll share their expertise.  Engage members of your potential market.  Work diligently toward finding a differentiation other than price and caliber.  It will never be easier than before starting.

That's the hard part.  Having arrived at an opportunity, envisioning the business that will fulfill the public's need or want is easy.  Conceptualizing may be a little more difficult.  A vision becomes a concept when it is distilled into a few simple sentences that captures your audience's imagination--and yours!

The fire belongs in your belly.  If you're not excited by what you're doing, I urge you to go back to the Opportunity Ladder.  Keep looking.  Running a successful small business looks easy.  It looks easy because the professional or entrepreneur makes it look that way, and what keeps them making it look easy is their love for what they're doing!  They enjoy every day because of what it adds to their lives.  Those successful operators still have menial tasks, headaches and other unpleasantness, but the overall satisfaction gives a reward and energy that makes it all seem effortless.

Choose carefully and you can be the envy of others too.

© William Hudnall 2011

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