4 Ways to Spot and Seize Every Opportunity

seize every opportunityHow do you get ahead?

It’s the oft asked question of start-up teams and big time CEOs looking to break into a new market or breakaway from the competition. In our fast-paced, ultra-competitive world the ability to spot and seize new opportunities can make all the difference. To get ahead and stay there you must identify a problem, devise an innovative solution, and then execute the idea. Here’s four ways to help you do just that.

 

1. Say YES More Often

It’s easy to say no. You don’t have time to take another meeting, make another phone call, or attend another conference. But, sometimes, saying yes leads us to new ideas, better opportunities, and helpful people.

You don’t have to say yes to everyone all of the time, but you should try saying yes more often. To this point, take a piece of advice from Gary Vaynerchuk a social media savant, entrepreneur, and angel investor. Vaynerchuk says there is value in taking random meetings because “life is predicated on serendipity” and all about “who you meet.”

Saying yes just might connect you to the people and opportunities that could change everything.

2. Think Promotion, Not Prevention

Starting a new venture is a risk. There are more than a few things that can go wrong. But, the potential rewards – if things go according to plan – outweigh the bad. Don’t waste your energy fixating on what you might lose or what might go wrong. Focus on the upside – what you can gain – instead.

The risk involved may lead to conflicts, which are often unavoidable. However, there are ways that you can learn to deflect that negativity. Creighton University offers a program that allows graduate students to study conflict resolution in Spain. Learn about collective memory and how it relates to conflict resolution all while taking in the unique culture of Madrid. The class itself is an immense help to anyone who wants to learn more about furthering their business, and the opportunity to study abroad has the potential to enhance your perspective regarding your business venture, as well as life in general.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review highlighted a study of entrepreneurs. The positive, promotion-focused individuals were more adept at identifying and executing on ideas. Conversely, the prevention-focused individuals in the bunch, consumed by what might go wrong, were less creative, closed-minded and lacked confidence.

3. Ask Lots of Questions

Sometimes the opportunity we are searching for is right in front of us. We’ve yet to land on the idea because we’re not asking the right, or enough questions. Consult with employees, team members, customers, and industry thought-leaders on a regular basis. Ask questions about what you’re working on now, but dig deep and search for insights into what’s coming next so that you can create it, as opposed to reacting to it.

  • What frustrates customers or users?
  • How can you improve an existing product or service to remedy this frustration?
  • What can you create to solve this problem?
  • What could you provide to your customers that the industry is missing at this moment?
  • What will this customer base/industry want or need in three to six months, or a year?
  • How well do you know your industry and customer base? What can you do to better meet the needs of the customer and the changes in the industry?

4. Tear It Down and Rebuild

If you have hit a sticking point or find yourself at a stalemate, it may be time to destroy your current plan, process, or culture. To tackle new markets and take on new competition you consider disrupting your own business. You’ll never innovate if you are standing still. So if you’re not getting ahead by conducting business as usual, you need to re-imagine your day-to-day.

  • Open up decision making to allow for the free exchange of ideas.
  • Give up control and empower your team.
  • Be unpredictable, agile, and quick to execute on new ideas.
  • Study competitors and analyze upstarts looking to steal market share.

Don’t become committed to your process or predictions; seek out the right process for each project instead. Abandon the notion of stability or certainty in business; that leads to stagnation. Don’t be rigid, be fluid. Armed with a promotion-focused outlook, a willingness to consider new ideas and a commitment to finding the best forward, you’ll be poised to spot and seize every opportunity.

How else do you spot and seize every opportunity?

About Joe Vennare

Joe is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete where he writes, instructs and speaks about all things fitness. But, there’s more to him than just exercise, so he moonlights as a writer, bookworm and self-professed knowledge addict. For more, follow his business and fitness escapades on Twitter, @JoeVennare

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