Business is essentially an exchange between two people or two groups, the first (a customer) a person with a need and the other (Businessman) with a solution. The businessman gives his solution to the need of the customer; the customer receives satisfaction and in turn makes payment to the businessman.
Hence two major aspects must be considered
in identifying business opportunities.
1. What the people need (or sometimes want).
2. What solutions you can offer.
• Identify what people need around you, write them down - Since business is essentially about providing solutions to peoples’ needs, in identifying business opportunities we must focus on the needs of the people.
• Analyze these needs, asking these questions;
Are there solutions to these needs?
Are people satisfied with the existing solution?
What more do people want?
Business opportunities must not be a total new business idea or something no one has ever done. It could be improving on an existing product; it could be modifying a particular product to meet the need of a specific segment of the market.
When Cowbell came into the Nigerian market, there were already some big players but they realized that most of the populace had weak spending power and seeing that most milk products in the market came in packs that are somehow above the spending power of most people, they induced milks in small sachets that they majority of the populace could easily afford. They gave them so much share of the market and they made so much from it that today even the big names like peak have joined them.
• Check the trend – What are the likely needs of people tomorrow? What is likely to be in higher demand tomorrow? There is an Igbo adage that ‘the animal that first gets to the stream drinks the good water’. The world is continuously evolving and the only thing that is constant in life is change. You need to understand the trend and hence position your business so that it benefits from the changes that will happen tomorrow. People like Bill Gates built his company - Microsoft on the trend in the computer industry which he identified in the late 1970s.
SOLUTIONS YOU CAN OFFER
• Your Skills – What are the specialized skills you have, or you can easily acquire, that you can use to solved other people’s needs. These can be acquired skills (from schools, workplace etc) or it can be inherent talents that you can develop. You can build your business around the skills and carve a niche for yourself.
• Your Passion – Everyone has a strong liking for something, something that naturally arouses your enthusiasm. When you are working in an area that naturally interest you, you are easily inspired and you are more focused. The creative genius in you comes out and you are never tired of learning more or exploring further. Hence your passion is a key factor in identifying areas you can build your business around.
• A good business idea must not be a complex idea, some companies have become big from producing/selling things like water, sweet, pencil etc.
• Don’t just focus on today, consider if your product or service will be needed tomorrow also, it's better to build businesses that have long term potentials.
• Don’t enter into an area you know nothing about.
• Don’t be carried away by the promises of high reward, do market survey.
• Consider if you have enough skill and knowledge to enable you compete with others in the same line of business.
• Consider what will be your unique selling proposition.
7 PRACTICAL STEPS TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS