I thought it was a pretty simple question. “What do you want this business to look like in five years?” However, Joan didn’t like it at all. “That’s not a question I can answer. Our market is limited. In order to grow, we have to be opportunistic – see what pops up and then pounce.” Joan is at least partially right. Many successful business owners have gotten where they are by being opportunistic. Unfortunately, many others have failed for the same reason.
Success attracts attention. If you do something well, you’re likely to be asked to do something more. Customers, vendors, even competitors will ask you to grow your business by taking on something new or doing it in a new place. It’s flattering to be invited to new projects or markets by someone who believes in your capabilities. However, responding too quickly to this “seduction” puts you at risk of taking something that does work and evolving it into something that doesn’t. That’s why you need strategic filters to sift through options and carefully select only those opportunities that truly fit.
Are you prepared to effectively analyze opportunities for your business? Find out with the following quiz by answering “Yes” to each item that is true for your company:
We have the following documentation to help filter business growth opportunities:
- Who we are: vision that frames the business we are in and why the company exists.
- Why we’re special: customer & market feedback on our competitive strengths and distinctions.
- How we do things: processes and procedures to review against new requirements.
- Where we have growing room: measures of capacity utilization in all functional areas.
- What we can manage: realistic inventory of our management skills and requirements.
- What we can afford: financial models for projecting the cash flow impact of opportunities.
We always answer the following marketing questions when evaluating new opportunities:
- Is the future better? Does the opportunity present higher growth/profits to our existing business?
- Do we know the turf? How will we deal with unfamiliar environments or competitors?
- Can we foster relationships? How many new customers are needed and how will we get them?
- Will it grow enterprise value? How will this new opportunity enhance our overall brand?
Give yourself one point for every Yes answer above, and then calculate how well prepared you are to be successfully opportunistic in growing your enterprise.
- 9 to 10 Excellent. You have a good shot at being one of those successful opportunists.
- 6 to 8 Good. Take even better advantage of new ventures by addressing those items you missed.
- 0 to 5 Poor. You are at risk of growing your business into trouble through the wrong opportunities.
Dedicated to your success, Mary Bruce
Guest blogger Mary Bruce is President of Kaleidoscope Business Options, Inc., in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her ingenuity, creativity and expertise will help you discover how to create the value you want from the enterprise you own in a way which reflects your personal objectives.
Content © 2013 Kaleidoscope Business Options, Inc.