The real question is: Are you out searching and creating opportunity, or are you sitting back waiting for sales to walk through your door? Opportunity is one of the most exciting aspects of business; it’s fun, it’s creative and it’s rewarding. In my life and career, I found three parts that go into capitalizing on opportunities. The first, and the cornerstone is, your perspective. Without having the proper perspective, you’ll never see the right answer. Second, is to clearly identify those opportunities. Third, is to execute and maintain on those ideas to capture those opportunities.
Perspective is everything. You know when you meet that new wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend and you think they are perfect, yet somehow your friends and family don’t see the same thing. In the end, typically, is it not your friends and family that had it right all along? I think we get too intimately involved sometimes. It becomes hard for us to see, we get comfortable in our surroundings. That’s why I reality think it’s important sometimes to try to break away from your business as “yours” and from your view, and see it from a ‘new customers’ perspective. Lastly perspective to comes down to this; is your business willing to just sit there and wait and see and gamble on what sales walk through the door today, or are you a business that’s going to make sales walk through the door? Are you going to control the sales flow or be controlled by it? That all starts with your prospective; are you ready to attack the sales? Are you ready to make a concentrated effort into seeing business as a sea full of opportunity?
Don’t make excuses! I think the number one repeat error in perspective that I hear is excuse, after excuse, after excuse; for why it’s not busier. Yet there is always somebody on the block that’s packed. Do you think the business down the street that’s at full occupancy or even on an hour wait is making excuses about the weather or construction or holidays or schools? No way! They’re not complaining, because they are capitalizing on opportunities instead of making excuses and blaming their lack of results on parameters that equally affects everybody.
Lastly take off the blinders and get a little uncomfortable. Maybe those empty tables are empty seats are groups of untapped demographics that you have not yet thought about or tried to attract. Move beyond your comfort zone and the groups that you are familiar with and try to start identifying new target demographics that would boost your sales increase your public visibility as being popular and full.
Next, is identifying opportunities. So this is what I like to do, first, I focus on successful competing businesses. So I look for other like businesses that are killing it. I check them out and I see what they’re doing. I look at their customers. I look at their employees. I look at their décor. And almost most importantly, I look at their deals, specials and advertising campaigns. After a few visits to a few local hot spots you should start to see some trends. Now find ways to either directly incorporate those ideas or add a twist to make it your own. Focus on what works.
Next I like to focus on non-competing businesses I look for the businesses again who are doing well and in my area. I want understand why what kind of products they are selling; in what manner are they selling it; who are their target demographics; are there opportunities for cross promotion? (Cross promotion in of itself is a whole another topic and blog article however this tool could be extremely powerful.) Definitely look around and think about how you could give a benefit to another non-competitive business and what benefit that you could bring them. Tap into their already existing customer base.
Lastly I like to get real creative; so now we see what’s working for competitive businesses, we see what’s working for non-competitive businesses, time for us start getting creative having fun ideas that will resonate with the target demographics and get them through the door.
Finally and probably most important is the execution. It’s time to capitalize on these opportunities or ideas. First thing I do is I make a plan, I come up with whatever the idea is I figured out who I want to deliver this message to and where these people are, I confirm through some research within those demographics. Then figure out all operational aspects must be met in order to achieve the idea within the timeline and plan it out accordingly.
I think most of us know all that stuff and actually do a pretty good job of planning and configuring. I personally feel one of the biggest failures in execution isn’t execution, but the time that you allow it to be in play.
I often times see really great ideas promotions or campaigns pulled from the shelf before they had time to ferment. Remember that our audiences do not respond immediately sometimes, yet other times they do and sometimes after initial pop it will die back down and that’s where you have to build it back up to maintain it as a strong viable promotion or opportunity. Don’t get discouraged; don’t let a few down weeks make you second-guess yourself. If it was a good idea when you researched it and you planned it, give it time. You often see in the marketing world that it takes a year or more for an idea or opportunity to resonate with the target demographic and see results. So, if that’s true for large well-known corporate brands, how much more true is that for the small and medium sized business owner? Lastly, always give yourself room to grow even though the premise might be spot-on. What worked last quarter might not be really exciting people this quarter. Critically look at your idea, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater but the tweak to mold to adapt, to expand. How can you make this great idea better? And at the end of the day just like that boyfriend or girlfriend that everybody else knew was no good you do have to be honest yourself when idea is hit the wall is no longer producing don’t let your ego stop you cutting it and go into something else.