Business opportunities come up all the time, whether they be outside opportunities that are presented to you, or even ideas that you come up with on your own.
The question that comes up for many entrepreneurs when presented with a business opportunity is this: “How do I know whether this is a good fit for me?”
I’ve recently been presented with two opportunities, one of which I’ve turned down, and the other I’m reasonably certain I’m going to follow up on. As I was considering these opportunities, I started wondering about that questions, and the process(es) that people use to determine whether a business idea is a good fit for them or not.
I thought I’d use this space to share the method I use when weighing new business opportunities.
Both of these opportunities have come to me via my own business success, one being offline, and the other online.
One of the ideas involves a past client of mine who is now putting together a collaboration of subject matter experts in the UK to help business owners. It seems like a great premise and after a meeting with the creator, I’m really excited about the possibilities. My gut (one of the things I use to determine the viability of an idea) tells me that this is a great opportunity. However, there are some other elements that need to be in place before I say, “yes.”
The other is an online concept, in which someone has seen my work and my success and reached out to say, “What you do perfectly compliments the work I do, can we work together?” My response was a polite but firm, “no.”
I realized that my “barometer,” or method of determining the fit of both these ideas is exactly the same. It all starts with my gut…
After a long time in business, I’ve learned to trust my instincts, my “gut feeling.” Quite often, you ignore your gut feeling at your peril. You shouldn’t rely on it exclusively, but it’s still worth listening to. While it usually won’t be clear, “This is a BAD idea!” it may instead leave you with the sense that something needs to be questioned, and that you should proceed with caution.
Once an opportunity / prospective client / etc. has passed the gut reaction, I then ask three very important questions to determine if it’s right for me:
- Can I absolutely deliver 100% of the work that’s required?
If there is ANY doubt in my mind at all, then I know I need to step back and reconsider. Why can’t I deliver 100%? Is there something I can do to make that happen?
- Will I enjoy it?
It doesn’t sound like a very pragmatic strategy, but the reality is, if you take on an opportunity that you don’t enjoy, the end result will not justify the sacrifice. The work (and you) will suffer, and you’ll likely end up with even less value from the finished product.
- Will it be profitable?
It’s essential that you have a clear idea of how much of a return you’re going to get for the effort you’ll put into an opportunity. Putting in a huge amount of effort, time, money, etc. into an opportunity that only has a small return is not a wise business decision.
How do YOU decide whether a venture / business idea / new client is a good fit? Do you have a process? Do you use your gut along with evidence? Let me know in the comments!
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