"The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulas, recipes or other people's opinions." Paulo Coelho
Paul Clitheroe is an Australian financial analyst, Paulo Coelho an author and it's obvious both have experience in recognizing opportunities when they cross their paths.
This is the time of year when opportunities knock - it's the "slow season" for some of you, but for others, like manufacturers who are exhibiting at the various conventions, it's anything but slow. Vendors and speakers are working to get their presentations together for the various shows and everyone is looking for a new approach to the business. They're thinking about the plans they put together last fall for the new year. If they're a Japanese company, their year isn't over yet, because they work with a March 31 year end fiscal. That means the new year hasn't really started for them yet.
Here's my point - if given an opportunity to do something that's going to benefit your growth or your business, take the time to consider all the possibilities, but don't take too long. Be true to your word if you say you're going to get back to somebody and do it when you promised. If you need time to get a second opinion, get it, but don't turn it into an act of Congress - take too long and the opportunity might be gone.
I worked for somebody once who could never make a decision. He'd ponder until time simply ran out and we missed some great opportunities. He'd rationalize, living by the idea that another idea would come along shortly, sort of like the NYC subway. Well, new ideas don't always come along on schedule and some concepts are over crowded, just like the subway at rush hour.
- Look at each opportunity and start by asking "What's in it for me?" or for those of you who feel that sounds too self-centered, then ask, "What's in it for my business?"
- Remember that every opportunity brings something different to the party. Obviously additional revenue is one of the most fun benefits, but don't overlook projects that get you exposure and get your name out there. Others might include community involvement and events getting you more exposure with your target audience.
- Look at the investment value. I love it when somebody says to me, "It's not going to cost you a thing...just a little time." Well, time is something none of us have enough of - so there's a cost to everything.
- Next, what's the time duration of the opportunity. How long are you going to be involved?
- Last on the list, who are the other partners involved and what's the return on investment?
I wrote yesterday day about procrastination when it comes to your "to do" list. Well, opportunities often fall victim to the same type of complacency. Make your decisions, stick with them as long as they're logical and remember that very few decisions are cast in stone. If something just doesn't work out as planned, you've always got the ability to regroup and start again in another direction.
Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
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