Even a person remotely associated with entrepreneurship will tell you that ‘sensing opportunities’ is a skill worth picking up for every entrepreneur. While entrepreneurs gain this skill early on, they rarely sharpen it and keep it alive through the entrepreneurial journey. This is why we see only a few entrepreneurs become extraordinarily successful, only a few become serial entrepreneurs and so on. Most others started the same way, but let their entrepreneurial abilities drop. Among the many things that this arsenal is made of, one important one is ‘sensing opportunities’.
How does one develop this skill?
For sensing opportunities one must learn to see changes, as changes are the source of opportunities. Underlying changes come in many forms – demographic, societal, cultural, political, technological, etc. If one learns the art of watching ‘changes’, then one can quickly identify opportunities that can open up.
What practices can help you see changes?
Reading the newspaper can help! When we read the newspaper we need to look for those articles that are not news today, but are factual changes being reported. While they are reducing day by day in the periodicals (as they are boring), they are the ones that signal up and coming changes.
Reading well written magazines, especially columns and editorials are good places to start noticing changes.
Thought Leaders in your domain or industry constantly keep sharing reports and data about changes taking shape.
Being out in the field and close to your customers / markets can give you indicators of what is happening. Customers normally keep telling you what is changing in their lives. When we listen, we hear them early.
How to know if any of these changes will become opportunities?
If you can keep a small journal and note down all the changes you come across, over a short period of time, you will start noticing opportunities. When a typical change is being reported over and over again, please know that the trend is slowly going to become talked about. You can have a head start by sensing it early. You can then brainstorm or seek help to figure the opportunities that could come up due to the change. You may then quickly narrow them down to what you and your company can help resolve. This leads to some possibility for innovation in your entrepreneurial firm.
But to keep this skill sharp we need to constantly practice it. Hence start the habit today. A little time everyday is a worthy investment on this endeavour and this will lead you to many profitable opportunities along the way.
Think about it!