June
11
2012

Okay, so last week, we started our hunt through the hazy forest of lucrative business opportunities.

We trekked through the mounts and gorges of Direct problems and Frustrations People Experience, The Angle of Usatisfied Needs, ending with the wide open spaces that the limitless range of Wants allows us to select.

This week, we resume our hunt through the last four angles of the forest. So while you  ignore achy joints and unfounded gripes, let’s quit us like the hunters we are and belly crawl  through the undergrowth. Have your scopes ready as we negotiate the uneven terrain before us, but…

 …be careful though!

Watch out for the toothy tigers of discouragement and depression. They are known to eat huntsmen alive… yes even bold ones.

And remember, like the first time, I’ll start with a brief overview of the angle in question and when the icon of a hunter appears, that’s when we’ll zoom in with our scopes to some specific areas within that angle where opportunities may lie hidden.

4.  The angle of Futuristic Wants

Taking the concept of The Angle of Wants a step further, this angle focuses on wants that may still emerge in the future. So in scoping this one, you need to become proactive.

The continuous demand force driven by human nature whereby wants become needs as soon as they are met, ensures the creation of new potential wants.  Business opportunities sprouting out of potential wants, can be found in the quest to make life easier and better for people. See The Figure below.

The Figure…

Take for example the telephone.  In the beginning of the 20th century, people didn’t have a need for a telephone, simply because it didn’t exist.  Nowadays, man can hardly imagine a society without telephones.   Even this need changed with time.

Nowadays, not having a cell phone has turned into an unsatisfied need. Everywhere you see people with cell phones plastered to their ear. Cellular communication that forms an integral part of people’s lives today, was once a futuristic dream. So was the laptop computer. But somebody saw where the general trend was headed and proactively capitilised on it.

Try and identify upcoming wants that may still appear as you observe current trends. Regularly study these trends and try and figure where they’re headed. A nifty resource tool here is “Trendwatching.com”. Go to there and subscribe to their free service. They’ve already taken a lot of the ache out of the tooth-ache. Hunting’s just become easier.

The person who invents a motorcar that can fly will have several futures made. His own and our world’s of congested traffic.

 

Hmmm….seriously though, as crazy as that sounds, just remember that the concept of  humans flying, was once a futuristic dream. Today, air travel forms an integral part of people’s lives.

So,  if you’re a techno and/or scientific geek, keep your ear on the ground and your nose in the media to keep abreast of what’s current and cooking. Read lots an’ lots o’ trade magazines and scientific journals. The only way to be ahead of your time isn’t time travel, but to know what’s happening currently. Also read and / or watch media with a futuristic focus.

5. The Angle of Individuality and Differentiated Tastes

It’s a fact that “Aunt Mildred” does not necessarily like the same things as “Uncle Walter”. People have different likes and dislikes. If you didn’t figure that out yet, I’m letting you in on the secret now… Cater to this and you’re in business. Differentiated tastes are the reason, for instance, that the invention of the automobile evolved into the motor industry.

Like “The Angle of Wants” discussed in part one, this one is also limitless in the variety it offers you. There are about 8 billion people on the planet and they ALL have differentiated tastes.

An inability to nail a business opportunity here, has definitely nothing to do with a lack of variety or because “all the niches are saturated’. Something else maybe, but not the excuse that all the “good ones have been taken”.

For example, a new design for cell phones in the form of fruit, jewelry or cute animals is sure to sell like Aunt Mabel’s hot puddings on an icy county fair.

  1. 6.     The Angle of Value Adding (Innovation)

 

A Focus from this angle can also help expose new business opportunities. Folks are always looking for getting the best value for their money.This means that if you can find more cost-effective ways to solve existing problems, you’ll be in good business.

Finding ways to increase value to existing customers means either having to reduce the cost of an item or increase its benefits or both. Right,so what is value?

Well, a useful equation for our discussion here is:

Value = Benefits – Cost.

Meaning that if you add value to a product / service, the additional benefit must have more value than the cost to create that benefit. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Otherwise, there’s just no way the customer’s going to surrender his hard earned cash to you. No way. He must find the value more than the money he’s going to cough up or no deal.

Let’s look at a few areas and activities where you can maybe find value-added opportunities (there are many more – this is only for starters):

v                Shops/Services

Always examine existing products and services in your field of interest, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can this product/service be improved?
  • What products are missing from the range?
  • Can this product be produced at a cheaper cost?
  • Can the packaging be improved?
  • Can the product be aimed at a different market?
  • Can the service be delivered more promptly?
  • Ask “what if?” questions about existing businesses, for example: What if it operated 24 hours? What if operated at night? What if quality was better?

v                Advertisements

You can study or analyse product or service advertisements on TV and magazines.  Ask yourself whether they can be improved or promoted in a better way.  Ask “what if?“ questions.

v                Ask questions and learn to listen

Listen when talking to people. Listen more than you speak. The art of listening is something that will provide handsome returns.  Listen intensely when people complain about a product or service.  Whenever people are unhappy, there are potential problems to be solved.

v                Household duties and appliances

Focus on household duties, like gardening, cooking, ironing, washing up, painting, looking after children, or sweeping. Is there a quicker, safer, easier, cheaper, more pleasant or less boring way of doing it? Can a new labour saving device be designed? Is it possible to improve on household appliances and other fixtures, like lights, baths, stoves, etc.?  Search for possible problems where solutions could be developed.

v                Observing children and babies

Visit a nursery and watch how children play and interact. Can new toys and games be designed? Are there services to supply, such as a catering service especially geared towards children?  Ask “what if?” questions.

v                Holidays

Focus on ways and means to improve the pleasure people can experience when going on holiday. Zoom in on possible problems they might experience.

v                Sports and hobbies

People take part in a hobby or play a sport; look out for products or services that are missing or can be improved. Perhaps some sporting or DIY equipment could be improved or made cheaper.  Listen and be on alert for complaints.

v                Office equipment and office operations

See if they can be improved or what else can be created.  Don’t forget the service aspect.  Between 70%-80% of the economic activity in developed countries, are in services. What problems do the users experience?

v                Machines, processes and systems

Study them.  Maybe they can be made cheaper or better.  Ask questions in order to detect problems you could solve or help to solve.

E.g. Cell phone to open your car door…

 

And so dear fellow hunter, we come to the last angle in our forest.

  1. 7.     The Angle of Environmental Changes

The global drive towards the conservation of earth’s natural systems and the combating of environmental ills, comprise a diverse scientific, political and social force, collectively termed the environmental movement. The movement focuses on ecology, health and human rights.

These people campaign for the sustainable management of resources and the responsible stewardship of the environment through every individual’s behaviour and public policy.

The impact of this movement is snowballing and is represented by an ever increasing range of organisations from across the globe, from grassroots level to huge in size.

Hence Earth Days…

and Protocols and Agreements aimed at fighting global warming amongst other issues.

Consistent lobbying, advertising, other mediums of protest and speaking out by environmentalists, keep leading to the invention of a growing number of environmentally friendly products and services like bio fuel, the electric car, solar heating, etc.

Okay, so if you’re not green yet…get with the programme! Get environmentally conscious!

Start focusing on change events in the external environment; e.g. new legislation, new technology, or new social trends that might emerge.

A cool idea would be to take everyday activities and utensils (use the categories under (6) above for instance), and see how they can be made more green or environmentally friendly. For that though, you have to study what is meant by “green” and become clued up on the whole ins and outs of planet preservation (if you’re not already).

E.g. furniture, made of neither wood nor plastic, but waste materials. Or think of the impact that global warming will have on places. Try and counter that effect with innovative products.

Well, that wraps up our look at the seven different angles you can use to scout for business opportunities.

Next time, we’ll take a look at that cool idea you have for a business and see if it’s likely to turn out either as money maker or a duck that looks alive, but is actually dead in the water. See you there!

 

 

Elmarie is a wordpreneur for the EntrepreneurialBusinessSchool(Pty) Ltd and a freelance creative writer, web writer and copywriter. Email her at ebouwer@ebschool.com

 

 

 

Resources

1.EntrepreneurialBusinessSchoolManagement Course.

 


 


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