Opportunities are like buses, if you miss one, another one will be along in a minute. That saying has a lot of truth in it, and although I hate missing an opportunity, I’ve found out over the years, not to lose any sleep over it, because it probably wasn’t meant to be.

Good or bad, I’m wired to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities. I owe much of my success to being able to identify real needs in those areas where I have some knowledge, and this is the catch. In order to take advantage or spot opportunities, you need know what you’re looking for.

Opportunities or distractions

Of course, the best opportunities are those that tie into what you’re already doing and leverages your existing resources and clients. Why go chase an opportunity that will require you to find a completely new customer base? You risk splitting your attention and focus. So, instead of multiplying your results you could seriously jeopardize what you already have.

Too often, I see business owners take their eyes off the ball to go chase a perceived opportunity, never having taken the time to fully assess whether it even fits within their skill set their customer base, let alone the financial and time investment needed to make it happen. They are like a flock of pigeons running after the next handful of bread crumbs thrown out by a curious bystander.

Punch Buggy

When I was a kid, one game we frequently played when travelling in the car was Punch Buggy. This of course was in an era long before any form of personal electronics, so it was a way to keep ourselves entertained. The objective was simple, the first person to see a Volkswagen Beetle, punched their opponent in the arm. The point is, if you hoped to have any chance of winning, it took intense concentration to be able to identify a Beetle before the other person did. Not concentrating, usually resulted in a bruised arm.

Yes, being open minded can be a great quality in many aspects of your personal and business life, but when it comes to looking for opportunities, it usually requires an intensity of focus to keep you from deviating too far from your current trajectory. It allows you to focus in one area of commerce by leveraging your existing knowledge. It allows you quickly disseminate information based on knowns instead of unknowns and ultimately help you make a better decision.

They say the world is your oyster and that may be true, but it’s not a great philosophy by which to run a business. Instead, you need to know when to walk away and when to focus and sticking to what you know helps you to do so. Don’t worry if you miss an opportunity, because chances are another one will along any minute.

I’m Greg Weatherdon and this has been your Small Business Minute.

You may also enjoy episode #36 Innovation starts at home


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