Many people have asked me how they can spot business opportunities. My answer used to be “just look out for them.” But I have realized that everyone need a little more explanation every now and then. I have identified 7 questions you can ask to expose business opportunities again and again.
My favorite business is the one that avails me the opportunity to teach people things that will make their lives better. By lives, I mean finances, relationships, and so on. But I have other businesses which make money for me on a daily basis. Spotting business opportunities is now so natural for me that I never saw a need to write on the subject. the 7 questions I have discussed below will help anyone to start spotting business opportunities on the go.
The 7 Business Opportunities Questions
The 7 Questions are centred around complaints, innovation, expertise, trends, and so on. I suggest you write them all on a sheet of paper and put it up somewhere you can always see the questions. Then go on to question your way to opportunities!
Business Opportunities Q1: What are people complaining about?
When people complain about a particular product or service, it is an indicator that there is need for innovation. Seize the opportunity and find a way to meet that need. Many business opportunities can be spotted through this. So when next someone complains about something, don’t get irritated. Find out if other people are complaining about the same issues and be the solution. There you go! A business opportunity!
ACTION: If its about a product or service, there are two paths to making it a business oportunity. First is to create a documentation of the solution and present it to the present manufacturers for a payment, stocks or employment. The disadvantage here is that they might tell you they are not interested and implement it without compensating you. Second path is to create the advanced product/service yourself and sell. Only disadvantage is that you may not have the resources (time, money, HR) to create the advanced version of the product.
Business Opportunities Q2: What is getting obsolete?
Have you discovered something or a method of doing things that is getting obsolete? That is a business opportunity glaring at you. Just over a decade ago, some of us still read our books and prepared for exams with candles. While we were busy doing that, some guy from Eastern Nigeria was busy signing deals with rechargeable lamps makers in China. Today, candles are only used for religious activities and relaxation rituals like massages. The Nigerian market is flooded with all kinds of rechargeable lamps today. It is even difficult to find kerosene lanterns in villages today. They have all gone obsolete. And someone is making money to meet that need. Asking the “what is getting obsolete” question is definitely a very good way to identify great business opportunities.
Business Opportunities Q3: What do you like doing?
This almost sound like a cliche. But seriously, what you like doing can be a pointer to many business opportunities. Do you like singing? Do you like speaking? Do you like writing? Do you like to work out? Do you like to write codes? Do you like playing a particular musical instrument? Do you like to sell? Do you like to fight (lol)? Do you like to draw? Do you like to fix things? Did you enjoy yourself immensely the last time you moved from where you used to live to where you live now? Do you like cleaning? Do you like ironing clothes? Do you like cooking and trying out new recipes? Do you like to teach? Do you have too much love for mathematics?
Seriously, there are business opportunities in all the questions I have asked above. Yet. the list is not exhaustive. Watch out what you like a lot and find a way to convert that passion to profit!
Business Opportunities Q4: Which experts can you use around you?
You have heard phrases like OPM (other people’s money), other people’s ideas and so on. Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen in their book The One Minute Millionaire wrote much content on the concept. Apart from the two I just mentioned, they also wrote about;
- Other people’s experience
- Other people’s resources
- Other people’s time
- Other people’s work
I suggest you get that book in your library because it is a very important resource for anyone who seeks to be successful in their endeavor. I bought mine on 29th November, 2010 and have read it again and again.
Here, I am asking you to use what I call OPEx. This means Other People’s Expertise. If you notice that there are experts around you (maybe you live in or around a campus, etc), leverage on their knowledge and create a service. For example, I once made money from doing accounts for a couple of firms just because I had many acquintances who just happened to finish various levels of the ACCA Certifications. My role was to market the service, collect the money and apportion as agreed and ensure they do the job. If accounting was a passion, I could have built a big accounting firm without being an accountant myself. The expertise of the people around you is an avenue for business opportunities.
Business Opportunities Q5: Which book or trend is everyone talking about?
Yes! Which book is everyone talking about right now in your city? Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad created a very strong wave of interest in people to invest in stocks and in Real Estate in Nigeria. Everyone began to buy shares. Almost everyone began to buy lands. Some people quickly created firms that sell shares. The banks and organizations in various industries quickly began to raise money. An acquintance of mine also created a company and became an investment expert. People gave him money. I didn’t! I wish I could say I didn’t because I knew it will all come crashing down. But no! I was broke! Lol! That’s a story for another day! By the way, that book will change the way you think about money. If you don’t have it, get one!
But the point is if many people are talking about a book, it means that the book has good advise that they want to take. If that is the case, it is wise to position oneself to provide whatever the book is asking people to get to enjoy its promised benefits.
This principle applies to trends created by movies, music, memes and so on. A few years ago, a top official of a security firm in Lagos State granted an interview to Channels TV. He could not express himself very well and the journalist mercilessly prodded him on to make alarming grammatical blunders. The statements he made were used to create T-Shirts, Face-Caps, and domain names matching the statements were even bought!
Business Opportunities Q6: Which sector is booming presently?
If money is being made in a particular industry, chances are there is money there for you as well. Booming sectors don’t boom for too long. When business opportunities are identified in a booming sector therefore, they should be seized immediately. Some years ago when I was still very broke, I noticed that a particular company kept advertising car trackers on a Nigerian newspaper everyday. Car trackers were not as common as they are today. The fact that they advertised almost every day of the week was an indication that they were making money. I called the phone numbers on the advert and indicated interest to sell for them in Benin City. The CEO invited me for a meeting with him in Asaba. That was it! I became the “go to guy” for car tracking devises in Benin City. I did not have to take any risk. I only made fliers and handed them out to people who have good cars. When they make an order, the man makes supply and I make some money. Looking for what is selling and aligning yourself to benefit from it is a great way to identify business opportunities.
Business Opportunities Q7: What Divergence Can You Create?
Yes, what complex process can you simplify by supplying a little part of the equation? This is what divergence is about. For example, one can decide to save drycleaners and laundry firm operators the stress of ironing clothes. Lets say you have devised a method for ironing clothes at the least time and least cost possible. Lets say these operators can turn clothes over to you and get them ironed at an extremely low rate. Lets say about 10 operators in your location now give you their customers’ clothes to iron. You have created a divergence and in every divergence, there are business opportunities.
You do not always have to create divergence. There are areas in which divergence already exist. But no one has taken advantage of the business opportunities that exist in them yet. You can take advantage of them!!! For example, if you are a lawyer, you should have by now identified the multiple divergence in the profession. I helped one of my coaching clients to identify and develop something in the law profession the other day and he has gone on to make money he never thought existed before.
Which of these questions do you think you will find most useful? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks!