Most business owners have a plan, written down or not. Those plans usually focus on keeping things running day-to-day – having enough inventory, staff, and money. But what about planning to be ready for a great opportunity?
Opportunities come in different forms, depending on your industry or market. For example, a new housing development in the area means potential new customers. Businesses get new customers by marketing to them. Seizing that opportunity takes more than luck – it takes planning and resources.
These four steps will ready your business to seize opportunities when they come along:
1. Identify Likely Opportunities
You can’t be ready for everything. Pick two or three likely opportunities and include readiness for them in your business goals. For example, I can increase my tax business income by adding the IRS’ Enrolled Agent designation to my credentials. Consequently, earning my EA by the end of 2016 is a business goal.
2. Define Actions for Each Opportunity
Identify the actions that your business would take when each of your likely opportunities comes up. The action to get customers from that new housing development is marketing. The action to earn my EA is passing three IRS-developed exams.
3. Assess Readiness to take Action
Do you have a marketing plan for that new housing development? How much would it cost? How would you cover the cost? Addressing those questions can’t be done on the fly, when an opportunity is right in front of you. By then, it’s too late – unless you’re ready!
4. Fill Readiness Gaps
Make your readiness plan, figure out the cost, and identify funding sources in advance to be ready for action when opportunity knocks. Make sure you’re ready. I got ready to pass the EA exams by studying and scheduling my time. It’s worked so far – I’ve passed two of three – so I’m almost ready to seize more income opportunities.
Want to seize the next opportunity that comes your way? Get a plan and get ready!