V is for (Ad) Vantages

In business, one of your key roles is to spot opportunities that can give you the advantage and help you stay ahead of the competition. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell what these opportunities are as they’re not always obvious, but it’s important that you’re aware of them rather than letting them pass you by. 

Here are my top five ways of spotting the opportunities that are all around you in business: 

1.    Pay attention to what other people do.In order to make sure I stay ahead in my business, I subscribe to many newsletters and audio recordings of people who could be counted as my competitors. You’d be amazed how many ideas I’ve come up with just as a result of doing this – let’s face it, there is no point in reinventing the wheel. If you pay attention to what other people do, then you’ll be able to spot some great opportunities for your business. 

2.    Ask, ask, ask. A few months ago, one of my competitors seemed to be doing loads of speaking events with Business Link. My reaction to this was “If she can do it, why can’t I?” So, we made some enquiries and send an email off to Business Link West Midlands and Business Link South West. Business Link West Midlands replied almost instantly saying that they were looking for a speaker on exactly that subject and could I give them more details. Long story short, we’re now running several workshops on networking made easy – all from just asking the question. 

3.    Volunteering is one of the ways in which I got established in business all those years ago. I volunteered for anything and everything that was even remotely related to the business such as mentoring for Business Link and sitting on panels for Gloucestershire Development Loan Fund. The great thing about volunteering is that you get to know the key people in an organisation and then of course if a paid job comes up, guess who is likely to get it? 

4.    It’s not what you know…As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Make it your policy to get to know as many contacts as you can in the business world. Go out there, attend networking events and get involved. Many, many of the services we’ve provided have come from the people we know. And only the other day, I had a call from someone inviting me to speak at an event who’d been referred over to me by someone I knew! Get to know people – you never know what might turn up. 

5.    Set your mind to spotting opportunitiesJust being aware that opportunities are out there all the time will make it more likely for you to spot them. A few years ago, I was listening to my local radio station and heard that they were asking companies to donate prizes to raise money for charities. In return for donating the prize, your company got a free plug on air. I mentioned this to many different small businesses who all thought it was a great idea and took advantage of it, but it was only because my mind was tuned to spotting opportunities that I became aware of it in the first place. 

Opportunities exist all the time for us in business. Make sure that you don’t miss out – grab them and take advantage. 

About the author:
Exceptional Thinking provides advice and help to small businesses on their marketing and to people setting up in business.
My website is at: http://www.exceptionalthinking.co.uk

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