Part of the entrepreneurial mindset is tuning your senses to detect opportunity everywhere you go. Once you’ve tuned your senses to detect opportunity, the tricky part is picking which ones to pursue. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you will come across a business opportunity at least once a day on average. In the course of a year, you might pursue three or four of those opportunities; about one percent of them. How do you choose the opportunities with the highest probability of business success?
The intersection multiplier
By choosing new opportunities that have intersection points with you existing businesses and projects, you can multiply the use of your time and potential for business success. For example, my businesses are all based online and around technology. Therefore, it would be silly for me to invest in a dry cleaning franchise about which I know very little.
On the other hand, we make use of e-commerce technology across our product and services offering. So recently when I was presented with the opportunity to work on a couple of e-commerce projects, I decided to give them both a closer look. It turned out we’d be building both these projects with the technology backbone with which I’m getting ready to rebuild the ColorMetrix e-commerce solution.
By selecting projects with similar goals and technology, you will be able to leverage your time and improve the odds of business success. In the example above, the time I take learning how to use a new WordPress theme and e-commerce solution for one project can then be transferred across four or five of my current projects.
Sales and marketing intersections
Even if your businesses and projects are all similar, the audiences for each could be different. I have a friend who owns several restaurants and while he uses social media to promote them all, the audiences do differ. For him the intersection point is social media. He learned the tool once and then applied what he learned to multiple brands and audiences, tweaking the techniques as he goes.
We are just wrapping up participation in a social media contest for ColorMetrix. Social media is not ColorMetrix’s business but it is how we promote our business. What we learned there I’ve begun leveraging into a new venture with Shelby who has been my partner in the ColorMetrix social media strategy and execution. The cool thing about this intersection is I did not see it coming. It grew organically out of working together.
The hard part
Even when you utilize intersections as a way to filter all the opportunities you recognize each year, there will still be too many to pursue. However, I have found that by starting with only projects that intersect with your core business (the one making you the most money) you stand a better chance of not spreading yourself too thin and achieving business success.
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