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Uncovering Hidden Opportunities

One of a series of 6 articles about how to create a successful business. This article focuses on how to recognize and capitalize on hidden opportunities by watching trends, noticing what people are buying, etc. In short, how to recognize a need and fill it to become successful.

Successful businesses recognize a need and fill it. In many cases, the need is obvious. However, some businesses thrive by seeing something that no one else does, jumping on the opportunity, and creating a product or service that appeals to the marketplace.

How do they do that? More important, how can you start being on top of the wave, instead of paddling to keep up? Recognizing hidden opportunities requires you to be two things:

1. Open to possibilities

2. Nimble

There is a myth that entrepreneurs have to be highly creative. Although many are, it is not a requirement for success. What is more important is letting go of expectations that things have to be a certain way. If you get too tied into any idea, you miss opportunities along the way. It's like a horse with blinders on; it can only see what's in front of it. That's great when you want to keep from being distracted. However, if you are looking for opportunities, those distractions sometimes reveal a great idea. And if you aren't open to other possibilities, you might not see it.

Approach your day and your world with fresh eyes. When you read the newspaper, look at the trends, new events, what people are reading or watching on television. In your work, what messages from customers seem to be developing a pattern? Is there something you can offer that will answer non-specific needs? All of these observations will give insights into what people want, whether it's a perceived or actual need. Develop an ability to recognize opportunity. Your business will stay fresh, and your customers will respond.

Being nimble requires an ability to be agile and responsive. Ask yourself, "How well do I respond to change? How do I handle adversity? Can I leverage my assets to strike fast when an idea presents itself? Do I have a team in place that allows me to respond quickly?"

In this high-tech world we live in, change happens dozens of times a day. What is a trend one day, is outdated the next. Make sure you have the people, tools, and resources available that will help you see and act on hidden opportunities.

Study the people who are at the front of the wave. They all have these two traits. And when you are open to possibilities and nimble in your business, you will find yourself riding the wave of success, too.

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