The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, or today – Chinese proverb

It might just be me, but I think everyone has those moments when they look at some part of their life or business and thinks ‘darn, I should have gone with xyz opportunity ages ago’. And that’s then followed by a bit of self-flagellation of ‘if only, I’d done that then, now I’d be … (usually something/somewhere better).

Just like trees, the best time to for an opportunity was 20 years ago, or today.

Richard Branson once said that opportunities are like buses – if you miss one, there’ll be another along any minute. As business owners, we’re presented with a myriad of opportunities all the time. Some are amazing, others maybe less so – the difference is mostly your perception – and whether or not your head gets in the way.

For example, how many times have you heard of or read a success story of someone who created a spectacular business from something (in hindsight) really obvious, that lots of people could have done – but didn’t? For example, today I read about someone who did exceptionally well selling home delivered fruit boxes – as in million dollars a year well.

I was talking the other day to a friend and SOI client, a former chef, who considered an idea for a business some 30 years ago. It was selling ready-made, prepacked, calorie-controlled meals that could be home delivered to people wanting to lose weight. She dismissed the idea because it just didn’t seem feasible. At the time, she told herself no-one wanted that (even though she did and a couple of girlfriends thought the idea had legs). Today she readily admits she just wasn’t sure she could actually pull it off – her head and her thoughts got in the way.

In hindsight, there was a market. A rather large one, in fact, serviced by a business called Lite & Easy which has done well now for decades.

If only she’d gone for it then. Just imagine the empire she’d have today…

The good news is, since then my friend has gone on to actually start, grow and build her own business. These days she’s too busy looking forward to look back and lament 30 years ago.

4 actions you can take on your next opportunity

But also she’s since learned that when it comes to opportunities, and these days she gets presented with them frequently, there are four simple things she has to do, BEFORE walking away from an opportunity she thinks has merit;

  • Question – does the opportunity align with her business’ current goals? I.e. Does it help her move forward towards them (otherwise she feels it’s pointless to pursue)
  • Research – is there a market in need of the current opportunity or will there be a benefit for the business or her clients in some way
  • Back herself – she’s succeeded once, she can do it again. She says the secret here is to give herself permission to have a go, expect it to be imperfect especially at the start and fix it as she goes.
  • Start now – once she makes the decision to proceed with an opportunity, she takes immediate action, even if it’s something small – maybe registering a new URL, hiring a VA to develop a process or setting up a focus group conduct in-depth research. That way she feels committed to pursuing it further. That way if she decides at some point that the opportunity is really not going to work for her, it’s not because her head got in the way.

So far she’s used this methodology to launch three different arms of her business and a couple of products. And knowing her, there are several other opportunities she’s considering.

What can you do now?

If you want to make more time in your business day so you too can make the most of the opportunities in front of you, consider outsourcing your admin tasks like phone answering and meeting management or maybe you’re thinking it might be time to move to a more professional, yet flexible office space. Either way, we’d be delighted to chat. You can call us on 1300 318 680 or drop us a note.