The Art of Keeping Things Simple
There is a saying that ‘The secret of success is to be ready when the opportunity comes’, yet most of us either don’t have the right mindset to be ready, or are unaware of when the opportunity arises. As aspiring entrepreneurs it is very important to develop a solid base through basic elements rather than developing complex frameworks which become hurdles overtime.
Entrepreneurial opportunities exist, because people have different information. Each and every one of us processes information differently which leads to different results. However, it is the ‘superior’ information that supports better decisions and outputs.
To initiate any form of venture means that the information that we acquire needs to be precise and validated. One thing Entrepreneurs are extremely good at is analysing information and their ability to ‘read between the lines’. That means, the information they collect covers both ends of the scale i.e. personal requirements, changes required in the enterprise and what is currently missing in the market.
We need to remember that an opportunity comes for a limited period of time therefore it is important to set a timeline for the duration of the opportunity and conduct thorough market research. It is important to gather relevant information and decide on a course of action, by initially working on three key questions; what can we find? what does it mean? And what should we do? Through market research we are able to understand the real and perceived values an opportunity presents, as well as the potential risks and returns that will be expect-ed. By using an opportunity assessment wheel we are able to systematically take steps in order to validate the information that has been gathered.
The first step is to define the situation, the problem that is being faced, whether there is a solution available to that problem and to what extent. Next we have to measure whether there is an existing market for the solution in mind i.e. are there customers who are facing the problem defined earlier? A “market” consists of all of the customers and once the target segment has been identified, one should devise effective strategies to increase awareness and visibility in the market. Most of the time we try to adopt marketing strategies, which are being used commonly.
However, the key element we must pay attention to is the effectiveness of strategies we are using for the market we wish to serve. Evaluating ‘consumer behavior’ is a crucial factor that needs to be emphasized, as it provides valuable insight into the demography of the area, market, and the people within, how they make decisions, their buying habits, satisfying their needs and wants, etc. Understanding consumer behaviour makes it easier to know how potential customers will respond to a new product or service, while also helping ventures identify opportunities that are waiting to be grasped.
Furthermore, when we are collecting information it is important to use multiple sources and explore multiple possibilities. This is where we are able to find out who the existing players are in the market, from partners to competitors and also get a better idea of their attributes, behaviours, capacities and how they are benchmarked against the potential idea/ solution.
Once the scope of the problem has been defined and data collected, it is time to develop a robust action plan that will focus on both the internal mechanisms and processes as well as gaining external influences and outreach. A key point to remember is that ‘indigenous problems have indigenous solutions’, meaning that we have to solve the problem keeping in mind the demographical context, take into account opportunity vs. personal skills and goals, figure out the types of resources needed to solve the defined problems, devising methods and strategies to interact with customers, increase networks, relations & partnerships etc.
Finally, execution is key, therefore a sound action plan has to be implemented. This also includes deciding what kind of innovation method will be followed. If we are going to enter an existing market with the same product but with slightly enhanced features, we would be following ‘incremental’ innovation. There are times where an existing product or service made of a certain market segment is modified slightly for a new market segment thus making it ‘architectural’. In today’s global market, ‘disruptive’ innovation is on the rise where new products and services are being introduced into an already established market.
Finally the most risky of the four options is ‘radical innovation’, where a totally new product or service is created for a completely new market segment which is a high risk move, but if done properly will provide first movers advantage and a large chuck of market share. Every big change starts with an initial step forward, but before taking that step, we must equip ourselves with the right tools and knowledge, don’t dig into the complexities of situations which do not need attention and be strong when the time comes. After all, it is the art of keeping things simple.
Every big change starts with an initial step forward, but before taking that step, we must equip ourselves with the right tools and knowledge.