Boss Lady

Spotting new business opportunities


Most people think they have an idea of what makes a businessperson. Successful entrepreneurs are often thought to be driven, creative, hard working and financially aware.

But business success does not depend on abstract qualities. The true entrepreneur doesn’t just embody certain types of personality traits; he or she has learned some crucial skills, and perhaps the most important of those is how to spot a business opportunity.

A business opportunity can be defined as the chance to satisfy a market need or want by creatively combining available resources. Entrepreneurs as diverse as Bharat Lall and Richard Branson have succeeded through their ability to spot an opportunity, but knowing the importance of spotting business opportunities is not enough. The key thing for budding entrepreneurs is how to find these opportunities, and how to act on them when you do. To help point the way, here are a few handy tips to get you thinking.

Think outside the box

Yes, it’s a cliche, but it contains an important core of truth. If you think like every other entrepreneur and approach every market in the same way, you are unlikely to find the best opportunities. There are many ways to put this into practice, from analyzing data to trying to think like a customer, but however you go about it, you have to find a way to think differently and look at the world from a different angle if you want to find your opportunities.

What’s inside the box?

At the risk of overstretching the box metaphor, you also need to know what’s ‘inside the box’. By that, we mean that you need to know your industry inside out. That involves every development that has changed the industry, every aspect of its current state and every significant future prediction. Only when you know what has been tried, what has worked, what has failed and what the future is likely to bring, will you be in a position to come up with the innovation that will exploit the opportunities in your industry.


As well as learning everything there is to know about your industry, it is vital to network with other people involved in the same sector. Not only will you form valuable links that could help you later on, you will also hear different perspectives and pick up new information, all of which will help you add detail to your understanding of the business landscape.

Lose your fear of failure

Many people underestimate how important this psychological aspect of entrepreneurship can be. If you’ve spotted a good business opportunity, you have to be able to go for it with all of your energy. There will often be risk involved, but there can be no innovation without risk, so if you find yourself being afraid to fail, then you need to work on that. You can reduce the risk of failure by building up your knowledge and experience, but at a certain point, you have to take a leap of faith. If it helps, remind yourself that failing is just part of the learning process.

Write it all down

In the frantic world of business, it can be easy to lose track of your ideas and of your progress. By keeping a simple journal that includes every new business idea, every meeting and every useful piece of information you can remember from each day, you will have a valuable resource that you can turn to for inspiration. You will also have a useful record of your successes and failures, which can help you to monitor progress and learn from your mistakes, enabling you to become a more successful entrepreneur.

Dull and impossible

There are two areas of any industry that can produce plenty of business opportunities: the dull and the impossible. There may well be aspects of your industry that no one wants to focus on because they are dull or mundane. By treating these tasks that no one wants to do as business opportunities, you could find your business becomes an essential service.

The same goes for the impossible. If you can solve a problem that no one else has been able to, then you will be at the forefront of the market. Look for intractable problems in your industry and study them carefully. Remember, every problem has a solution!

Spotting business opportunities is an art and a skill, not a science. By developing the way you think about your industry and following the ideas given above, you can improve your ability to find those profitable business opportunities and become a successful entrepreneur.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

Recommended for you