2020 was a year of opportunity. Yes, there was also plenty of challenge and heartbreak, but the opportunity was undeniable. This year, new opportunities are presenting themselves and you can take advantage of them — if you’re paying attention. You can gain more market share, grab attention, and make a name for yourself and your business.
But don’t think of 2021 as the year business gets back to usual. It’s not. One of the first things you need to do is understand where your industry and community are and adapt to where they’re going in the coming months. Opportunity isn’t going to just fall into your hands.
Plan … And Be Flexible
I’ve been looking at all areas of my business and reevaluating them. I’ve asked myself what I like about my business and what I don’t like, and I’ve been working hard to change and/or remove the areas of my business I don’t like. So many businesses are in a state of change. For the last year, it’s been adapt or die.
If you need to change, why not reevaluate the areas of your business you wish were different? Why only look at the areas of change you’re being forced to look at?
Here are 10 good questions to ask yourself to help find opportunity within your business:
- Why do we do things this way?
- Which areas of my business have I always wished were different?
- Can I simplify my products or services?
- Where can I get leverage?
- Are there opportunities to make investments in my business and get huge returns?
- What stuff don’t I (the entrepreneur) want to do anymore?
- Where is a new opportunity for partnerships or growth?
- What major accounts are finally in play that I’ve always wanted to land?
- What talent in the market can I get access to or hire?
- Are there new products or services I should be considering?
Know Your Business
Not all of these are created equally, and not all apply to every business. The question is this: Which of these makes sense for you and your industry? The answer will be different for everyone, but let me touch on just a few:
#10: Be careful when thinking about new products and services, as this can be a kind of shiny object to us entrepreneurs. I put this one last for a reason; I didn’t want anyone to get stuck on this one and not get through the whole list.
#1–3: These are my favorites. When answered truthfully, they can have major impacts on profitability and your overall happiness with your business. This is especially important right now since business valuations are lower.
#6: This area can be a negative to most, and honestly, some of the work is less than pleasant to do. However, reevaluating my role has allowed me to see other opportunities in the business I may have missed had I not gone “backward” and done work I’d passed off long ago.
Take Opportunity When You See It
Another massive opportunity is found in purchasing one — or maybe all — of your competitors’ businesses, or better yet, just their list and phone/web properties. Take a look to see if any of your competitors have gone under in the past several months. Many businesses didn’t make it through 2020, and others are fighting hard for survival.
When they close, surviving businesses have the opportunity to buy up their assets for pennies on the dollar. A whole industry of people is devoted to putting those deals together. Think of this industry like the short-sale industry in the housing market, but for business.
You can easily set those deals up yourself or, if you have massive amounts of free time or are going to lose your business, maybe this is a nice hustle you can work and make some good cash from. Depending on how big and complicated the deal is, you can possibly take a tollbooth position — a great position in any transaction.
(A tollbooth position is where one person sits in the middle of a deal and takes a cut of sales or profits from one or both parties on an ongoing basis. It’s a great opportunity. If you arrange the deal correctly, you could get a piece of the action for years to come. Of course, you have to provide a good reason for this position to exist. But it can be crazy profitable once you have your reason, arrange the deal, and get the contract in place.)
Keep Your Eyes And Ears Open
This last year has been crazy for me and for most of us, both personally and professionally. It’s hard to believe we’re nearly at the one-year mark when businesses and communities had to close.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been through a more difficult time in my life — and surely not in such a short amount of time! I’ve always said I can out-work and out-hustle anyone. And the opportunity to put that belief to the test was real as I struggled to overcome the onslaught of both personal and professional obstacles.
The unexpected benefit, though, is that I suddenly see the world through new eyes. Businesses, people, places, material goods, and all the things around me are suddenly different. It’s like I went from seeing everything in standard definition to high definition.
Everything has become crystal clear. And, let me tell you, the opportunity around us right now is massive. Making your dreams come true and leaving your mark on the world — or, as Dave Ramsey says, “chang[ing] your family tree” — has likely never been better than it is right now. But you must be willing to do the work. If you’re willing to build out your business foundation and focus on strengthening your relationships, you can thrive like never before. You have the opportunity to create the business, life, and income you’ve always dreamed of. You can have it all.