The simple answer is everywhere. A deep curiosity, pure unbridled opportunity, circumstantial necessity, outgrowing employment, curiosity and many other avenues provide the muse for entrepreneurs. There is no magic lamp to rub but there are certain places to look if you find yourself drawn to self-employment.
Keep expectations realistic though and dream big. They sound like opposing statements but that is the essence of entrepreneurship.
The current world is churning entrepreneurial opportunities at a rate rarely imagined. How so? Think about the amount of change that has occurred in the last 12 months. Millions are now working from home, travel patterns abruptly changed, delivery schedules upended, quarantines periods everywhere and so many lifestyle alterations it is hard to keep track. With this amount of upheaval, there are pain points everywhere needing to be resolved.
People are crying out to have someone come along and solve their problems. Each one represents an entrepreneurial opportunity when you are paying attention.
Only Open Eyes and Curious Minds See Opportunities
Entrepreneurs, by nature, are curious and sharp-eyed creatures. Many keep a notepad to hand to jot down various inspirations that come to them wherever they are. It is simple really. You tend not to see what you are not looking for but just as that is true, so is the reverse.
Countless businesses start out to supply something not already in the market whether that is due to geographic limitation, a lack of previous invention or otherwise. Spotting gaps, problems, and things the average person are begrudgingly tolerating calls for solutions. Everyone wants their lives made easier.
Take any part of your day and assess what about that day has friction. What do you endure? Even minor inconveniences could be eliminated. The world continues to evolve and improve certain capacities. People become more specialized in some areas leaving deficiencies in others.
It takes the right person asking the right questions to unearth an opportunity. The more you look at the world from a “What could we improve?” perspective, the more you see chances to make lives easier.
Keep Your Finger On the Pulse in Your Profession
It may come as a surprise but companies all over the world regularly ask employees to start a new business as a sub-contractor. This is typically because that fortunate employee can solve a problem better from the outside than the inside.
Industries everywhere have pitfalls. Keeping aware of where your profession needs help gives you the insight into the solutions required.
Being expert also renders you privy to what the industry competes over. It is easy for established companies to become more focussed on the competition rather than the need of the customer. While businesses duke it out, entrepreneurs tend to notice how the customer base is not being entirely satisfied. It doesn’t require a distracted employer but being in tune with the needs of a client base shines a light on opportunities.
Lastly, expert employees often sit in the driving seat of their industries and know where the company should expand to going forward. The front row seat allows aspiring entrepreneurs to leverage their foresight and spot the next evolution within the industry. Spinning a company out of your current role whether by the intention of the owners or interest of the employee gave rise to the likes of PayPal, the Kayak Travel Company and even Restaurant Gordon Ramsey. Invoking experience is a well beaten path in entrepreneurship.
Let’s not get caught up with the need to be 100% original. How many enterprises exist because they want to do the same thing as the competition but better?
Most company ideas are a variation of a pre-existing idea. The pre-existence of ideas is actually quite heartening for entrepreneurs adept at reapplying concepts to new markets.
Curiosity can take you down the most useless of rabbit holes as can sinking hours of time into watching TV. But let’s say you are watching a show from Britain and spot a product that exists there but not in your locality. The curious entrepreneur might conduct research to identify a potential market and immediately have a pre-made idea to introduce to a completely different locality.
Of course, TV is not the only idea supplier as you have magazine, travel, industry reports but most of all; the internet. Uber, Netflix and AirBnb employed this exact tactic. They took an idea that existed in one place and applied it to another; in this case digitally.
Globalisation and the digital shift have introduced us to new products and services and are certainly not finished.
Show Me the Money
Prior to the pandemic, it seemed as though all of the world’s investment was filtering into tech, bio-medical or environment based businesses. Following the money trail typically shows the areas of focus and interest for venture capitalists and government funding. Knowing where financing is aimed draws the logical conclusion that innovation and improvement is desirable to industry stakeholders.
As a top down approach, entrepreneurs tend to use this knowledge to know what field to dig in when looking for real treasure. Areas where there is significant political demand for solutions but only early stage development such as we experience in climate change creates space for entrepreneurs. Diagnosing the problems identified by the industry and offering even minor solutions entices governments and large firms to buy up the latest technological offering.
Predict the Future, It’s Not That Hard
Who saw all this coming? Current circumstances forced us to live in the present and figure things out day by day. While some could even be accused of living in the past, very few are living in the future. All sounds a bit cryptic? Creative entrepreneurs looking for prospects should consider what the future holds. Break the concept down in simple terms.
The future world will depend very much on what happens now and upcoming political, technological, medicinal or even geographic breakthroughs, events and trends. Each of those factors will give birth to new needs, pains or demands. Each need, pain or demand is an opportunity.
What will be the consequences of the work from home life? If certain companies commit to staying remote you may see many people moving to areas of reduced property prices and needing to set up entire work from home offices. This creates an increased demand for desks, headsets, ergonomic office chairs, laptops and more. What events will create ripple effects? What future needs will be the result?
Novel situations are a hotbed of creativity. Most grown adults have started a new job and developed a list of things to improve. Inviting new situations into your life develops this.
By beginning a new hobby, career path, learning opportunity you benefit from not having the mindset limitations of those who been there forever. You have fresh eyes. You don’t hold the same acceptance and ingrained tolerance for inadequacies that may be presented to you.
Entrepreneurs often engage stagnating industries, intentionally betting on their own creativity to spot new ways to develop and improve. Without the same subconscious confirmation bias, the opportunity to apply your experiences to a new sphere offers a creative advantage.
You don’t even need to be new. People are so busy nowadays; they rarely take a moment to think without a phone or something else absorbing their minds. The beauty of sleep is like your own personal sorting office. Your thoughts get stored, brain resets, immune system comes alive and you switch off. In a similar fashion, taking a break with exercise, vacation or otherwise affords you some headspace.
Granting yourself headspace allows you to problem solve, nurture ideas and slow things down. A busy mind hampers creativity but it is not incurable. If you have ever been out for a run and arrived back having solved a problem, you have experienced it. Intentional headspace gives the platform to make breakthroughs on personal, creative and entrepreneurial blocks.