Posted by Susie Quintana
Identifying business opportunities takes awareness and perspective
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door”
There are many famous quotes and sayings regarding opportunity. I’m sure you can rattle off a couple of your favorites at any moment’s notice. In business, opportunities are sought after much like the golden ticket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Every chocolate bar is purchased and opened with the anticipation of catching a glimpse of gold glimmer peeking through the wrapper and revealing the “opportunity” of a lifetime! Isn’t it funny that a trip to a chocolate factory can still be considered an opportunity of a lifetime for some even today? Well, I discovered my golden ticket of opportunity, and it wasn’t wrapped around a chocolate bar. It was hatched right outside my door.
Notice Your Opportunities
Not long ago, I noticed the makings of a crudely constructed bird’s nest carefully engineered to sit within the wreath hanging on the front door of my home. At the time, I really didn’t feel I made a major discovery, to be quite honest. A bird nesting is a pretty common fact of life, so I moved on with the rest of my day and didn’t think much about it.
How many times has this happened to you in business? Take a moment to reflect on how you react when you encounter something new in technology, social media or leadership. Do you take the time to stop and explore how it could help you or your business improve? Or do you simply hit your mental delete button and send to trash? Most successful entrepreneurs are instinctively highly self-motivated and open-minded to new and fresh opportunities. However, with the increasing amounts of information, connections and communication streaming through us daily, we can still lose sight of opportunities that could potentially advance our business and, ultimately, transform our lives.
Expect the Unexpected
A few days after the initial bird’s nest sighting, I have to admit, I was a little curious, so I decided to take a peek in the nest. I wasn’t expecting to see much other than more bits of twigs and leaves. But before I could swing the door completely open, I was abruptly squawked away by the nesting mother bird. She was posed for attack and staring right in my direction. I quickly shut the door and proceeded out the house through the garage for the next three weeks, so as not to instigate any more confrontations. Mother bird reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned early in life: Expect the unexpected.
This is so true in business. If you’re not careful, you could squawk away good customers or trusted vendors by not being prepared for anything that may come your way. Little did I know my golden ticket of opportunity had just peeped its way into my life!
Awareness and Perspective
From that day forward, I was both excited and interested to see what was transpiring within the nest. As a new Latina entrepreneur, I’m learning the importance of awareness and perspective in my business development and relationships. While formulating my entrepreneurial path, I researched trending businesses, economic forecasts and even spoke with a few influential business leaders. I considered numerous types of business to explore over a period of time, only to conclude I overlooked the obvious.
My passion and experience is in public health and health promotion. I’m a Hispanic woman living in South Texas, which is known for high obesity rates. This was my golden ticket of opportunity to use my knowledge, skills and passion to help my community increase wellness through health and fitness.
Seasoned entrepreneur or not, the need for awareness and perspective is critical to ensure you’re not missing the obvious. I blatantly took the messy bird’s nest for granted, instead of stopping and taking a moment to reflect and respect the new life that was naturally evolving right outside my door.
The eggs hatched, but only one of the four baby birds survived and eventually flew the nest. What a clear-cut illustration of survival of the fittest demonstrated within the confines of a small bird’s nest. The same competitive principle exists in the global world of business today. As entrepreneurs, the value of your awareness of every single opportunity becomes vital to the growth and success of your business. Consequently, just like the three baby birds that never took flight, not every opportunity will have your business soar to new heights.
Perspective is key to discerning which opportunities could best benefit your business. Take time to pause and use your keen vision to explore outside yourself as often as possible. It’s worth it! When armed with awareness and perspective, you begin to develop confidence, knowing you don’t have to jump on every opportunity that crosses your path. You start to recognize which opportunity is best for you and your business, and worthy of pursuing further. There is no sense in starting a beekeeping business, if you’re allergic to bees!
Fortunately, I spotted my golden ticket of opportunity through the inspiration I received from simply noticing the bird’s nest. It sparked me to take a breather and appreciate what is real and natural. Sometimes we disregard what feels natural and right, and move toward what appears to be more popular or profitable. The bird’s nest reminded me to not overlook the obvious in life and go with what felt natural and right for my business venture.
As a personal trainer and wellness consultant, I now take advantage of my opportunities daily to empower other Hispanics in my community to live healthier and happier lives. You don’t always have to build doors to find your opportunities, like Milton Berle suggested. Sometimes you just have to take the time to look on the other side.