How many times have you heard someone say that they want to set up their own business but don’t know where to start? Or they don’t know how to either create or find a suitable opportunity? I hear it all the time. Usually the problem isn’t a lack of smarts on their behalf; rather it is that they are looking for a ready- made solution served up on a plate. This won’t happen. The competition for opportunities is too intense and there are usually other people around with far greater resources to put “obvious” opportunities on the ground.

This means that the budding entrepreneur has to be smarter and work faster than ever before if they want to launch and/or exploit an opportunity and embed it in the market-place. It also means that they will need to work within a narrow, but potentially deep, niche that larger competitors have ignored or haven’t discovered yet.

This leads inevitably to two places where all the best opportunities are:

  • Sectors or niches where customers are being over-charged.
  • Sectors or niches where customers are being under-served.

The best opportunities may sit at the intersection point of the two.

The internet has been a great enabler in this respect. Essentially it has provided access for large and small local businesses to a global marketplace while at the same time reducing their supply chain costs by allowing them to sell direct to their customers.  Customers have embraced it too because these cost savings have been passed on to them in the form of lower prices. It’s a WIN:WIN for both sides. The losers are, of course, the incumbent suppliers operating with a traditional supply chain and selling at higher prices.

Fundamentally, the best opportunities will be in the same two places where they have always been – where customers are being over-charged or under-served. The problem is that this is usually not obvious in any market and only becomes evident when someone enters it and blows it apart. But that’s the skill. Find it first and you might be the business that blows it apart (and wins big time) or be part of the rest of the market that is forced to play catch-up and may ultimately get blown away…

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