Are you waiting for your small business to get ‘lucky’? Stop waiting and start creating opportunities. Don’t get hung up on looking for ‘big’ opportunities – making the right small change can produce big results.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
The following 10 areas are places that you can start to look today for opportunities for your small business.
10 Places to look for new opportunities.
1. Your Customers
Find opportunities through your existing customers.
- Ask your customers what they like, what they don’t like and what else they would pay for.
- Sell a premium version or follow-on product to existing customers.
- Encourage referrals from existing customers through incentive schemes.
- Encourage repeat business by introducing a mailing list.
- Find other market niches that would buy your product. Look across: age, wealth, season of life, education, values etc
2. Your Marketing
Don’t keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome. If your marketing doesn’t work – change it.
- Price differently.
- Change the volumes you sell in.
- Use discounts and offers.
- Combine with complimentary products.
- Advertise differently.
3. Your Time
Your time is a real cost so make sure you’re charging accordingly.
- Charge a premium for quick delivery.
- Can you charge in advance?
- Match the delivery of your product with when people want it – whether that’s daily, weekly or annually.
- Change your opening hours if it will attract more business.
- Make time in your schedule to work on growing the business.
4. Your People
People are a dynamic resource and a great source of opportunity for your business.
- Use more skilled, and more costly staff.
- Use unskilled, and less costly staff.
- Add value to the customer experience by creating employee belief in the product.
- Capture staff ideas and recommendations.
5. Your Quality
Identify the optimum quality for both your product and customer experience.
- If you increase quality will customers happily pay more?
- If you reduce quality will customers happily pay the same?
6. Your Location
Don’t just assume that your business has to be where you are.
- Could you produce – in another region or another country?
- Should you sell – in another region or another country?
- What other channels are available – direct sale, distributors or retail?
7. Your Technology
Find out how your industry is using technology. New technologies can be used to:
- Reduce costs.
- Improve quality.
- Access new markets.
- Improve efficiency, etc
However, technology doesn’t always add value in the eyes of the customer and so it’s possible to find opportunities in the removal of technology as well e.g. handmade clothes and removing automated telephone systems.
8. Your Product
Are there other ways to produce your product or service?
- Can you produce more?
- Can you become more efficient?
- Can you reduce your costs?
- Should you outsource?
9. Your Funding
Don’t let a lack of investment hold your business back if it’s ready to grow. Funding can come from a number of places.
- Bank facilities.
- Asset leasing rather than buying.
- Family and friends.
- New Partners.
10. Your Relationships
Are you benefiting from the skills of others or struggling on your own? Use others to help make your business a success.
- Sub contract.
- Take on employees.
- Join an association.
- Find a mentor.
- Find a business partner.
Opportunities aren’t simply things that present themselves, they have to be created. Instead of waiting for something ‘lucky’ to happen to your small business look for the opportunities that are already present in your business and set your business free.
© Business Set Free Ltd 2013