Discovering business opportunities, in itself, does not create value. In order to achieve the benefits, entrepreneurs have to decide to exploit the opportunities and take steps to execute on them.
This makes recognition and exploitation of opportunities distinct, but consecutive steps in the entrepreneurial process. Both steps are necessary for creating business growth.
How to exploit business opportunities?
Begin by identifying new business opportunities. You can carry out a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to help you find favourable options. You can use our SWOT analysis example to help you with this.
You should then research and determine the viability of each opportunity to determine if it is worth pursuing. When assessing an opportunity, you can decide to:
- exploit it
- share it (eg by way of a joint venture)
- ignore it
Don't cast your net too widely when searching for opportunities. Use targeted approach to preserve time and resources for options with the greatest potential for return.
There are many approaches to opportunity exploitation. For example, you can:
- make use of new technologies or adapt existing ones
- explore new business models
- use consumer insights to update your products or improve your service
- extend your customer base and attract new prospects
- increase customer loyalty
To create a unique competitive position for your business, you should also:
- Monitor your competitors closely - identify areas they don't operate in and find out who they sell to - these are potential customers for your business as well. Examine their product range or the services they offer, check out their marketing and investigate their pricing. A competitor's poor performance could create an opportunity for your product or service. Find tips to help you understand your competitors.
- Anticipate a market need for a new type of product or service - for example, new legislation can create opportunities for business consultants or advisers. Events like mergers and acquisitions may open up prospects for all types of services and trades. See how to increase your market share.
- Explore new markets - looking beyond your sector or established market can open up business opportunities. Use market research and market reports to analyse new opportunities and diversify your sales channels to reach your customers.
- Consider working in partnership with other businesses that offer complementary services to yours or target similar customer groups. This may help extend your market reach, allow you to pool resources and negotiate better deals with suppliers. Find out how to create growth through strategic partnering.
Discover other strategies to improve sales and profitability.
Manage business opportunities
You will need to manage any business opportunity you decide to pursue. Be careful that you don't develop the business beyond your means.
Make sure that you have a clear plan for growth and the necessary resources, capabilities and technologies to make the most of the opportunity. Securing too much new business, without being able to deliver on it, could put your company at risk. Read more about risk management.