Chapter 8. Improving Your Ability to Recognize Business Opportunities
A survey of beginning MBA students revealed that of 16 abilities
listed, "Ability to Recognize Business Opportunities" was ranked
highest with respect to value for maximizing success in business and
perceived need for self-improvement.
To satisfy this need, I developed the assignment described below and
incorporated it into my Core graduate Marketing course. The
material presented below is adapted from the instructions provided to
The business world rewards people who discover profitable business
opportunities. Some receive promotions from their
employers. Others earn their rewards as entrepreneurs. The
purpose of this assignment is to give you experience in developing
ideas for new businesses. Once you start looking for business
opportunities, you are more likely to find them and thereby increase
your success in business. Listed below are seven search methods
innovators have used. Examine this list and select any three
search methods. Apply these methods to find at least one business
opportunity with each of the three.
1. Applying technology. The innovator found a new application for a technology.
2. Exploiting opportunity. The innovator discovered a need for a new product or service.
3. Surveying sellers. One innovator
asked sales representatives what products or services customers were
trying to buy and had trouble finding.
4. Surveying buyers. Another innovator
asked purchasing agents what products or services they found difficult
5. Networking. An innovator asked all
his business acquaintances to describe all the business ideas they were
6. Current job. An employee suggested a
new business, the employer rejected it and the employee quit and
started his own new business.
7. Some entrepreneurs have turned hobbies into businesses.
8. A consultant has solved a problem for a client and finds that his solution can help other clients.
9. A part-timer starts something small,
working mainly evenings and weekends while keeping the day job. The
side business grows. The part-timer transitions full-time to the
After you have completed your search, prepare a two page report. Cover these topics.
I. List and evaluate the search methods you used and list all the ideas you considered.
II. Identify your best idea and prepare a mini business plan:
A. The product or service. In what ways
is it more attractive to buyers than existing products or services?
B. The market. Who will buy the product
or service? How much do they buy of the type of product or
service? How much do you expect to sell them?
C. The environment: Competition, trends
in relevant external factors, such as the economy, regulation and
D. Marketing strategy: personal selling,
advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing including Internet,
service and warrantee policies and public relations campaign for the
E. Capital requirements. How much money do you need for starting the business?
D. Other. What else do you need to do to get ready to start the new business?
If the new venture looks promising, prepare a business plan. See
Chapters 5 and 6. Consult other sources, as required and
network. See Chapter 4.
If the new venture does not seem promising, repeat the entire process until you recognize a promising business opportunity.
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