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Most businesses start in one of the two following ways
1.) Internally stimulated i.e. an entrepreneur starts a firm, searches for an opportunity and then starts a business
2.) Externally stimulated where an entrepreneur recognizes a problem or an opportunity gap and then creates a business to fill it. It is important to understand the attributes that the entrepreneur must hold on to and conscientiously practice:
- Observe closely industry trends and market potential: Subscribe to industry publications, join relevant associations or follow basics such as setting Google alerts for industry news. One can also follow industry experts on social media to understand the market structure, growth rate, margins and costs. Absorb and continually educate yourself on competitive advantage the market presents for you to operate in, barrier and regulations and other latest techniques and trends.
- Self introspection and fair assessment of the situation: It is not only logical but also a plan to save business from any external exigency. It is of immense importance to ascertain and quickly fix the sources of capital requirement, return on investments, risk managing instruments and maintenance of cash flows.
- Receptive to potential targets and past leads: When targeting potential customers, listen to their needs, wants, challenges and pain points. Have they used similar products and services before? What were their grievances and what they seek in new solutions you have to offer? Why did they come to you?
- Responsive to economic, social and regulatory stimuli: CRTVs were replaced by flat paneled LCDs and latest LEDs, similarly 4G took over 3G and now we are already talking 4G LTE. In a typical business, it is important to relate to working patterns of your own team members, look at demographics of population in terms of age and geographies that have a bearing on productivity and returns. Proliferation of interest and technology coupled with diversity and culture variations make it both complex & endearing. It is also very evident that external environment will intermittently bring forth challenges for a business to counteract.
Uber again fits in as a fine example here, translating a business idea into an opportunity keeping all this in mind. This may not necessarily be a part of initial strategy but dynamic working process.
So whether you are a new startup or growing an existing business, you need to encourage innumerable ideas and then use your planning to filter them down into practically real opportunities.There is no benchmark to map quality of ideas or opportunities. It is a result of sieving out the best efforts with a fair amount of SWOT analysis at the backdrop.