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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Survival Skill #5 Finding Opportunities

A critical skill to survive in any situation is the ability to find opportunities. There are always opportunities around no matter how your personal situation looks this week, no matter how the economy looks this week, and no matter how you perceive your abilities to be this week (or any other time past, present, or future). Just today there was a news story on TV about how many burgeoning opportunities there are because of the current economic situation. Businesses are springing up all over to clean up foreclosed homes that need to get back on the market, to haul away excess stuff that people can't take with them when they leave their foreclosed homes, and to help people who are facing foreclosure.
Have you ever wondered how businesses such as the "cash for gold" companies you see advertised on TV happen to hit the airwaves just as people begin thinking about selling their gold due to the poor economy? Or how Amazon can carry a number of books on the crashing economy that are published about a week after a recession is officially announced? Or how one week you couldn't find a company to help you avoid your foreclosure anywhere and then the next week there are a dozen such companies advertising everywhere you look?
All of these businesses are created because people look at a situation and see an opportunity. They think about how the situation will impact people then determine what the people's needs will be based on the information they have.
When businesses were growing exponentially a decade ago, many people looked at the situation and saw opportunity: the companies would need office space so office space was built, their employees would need to eat lunch so restaurants sprang up near the offices, maybe a particular area of town was a tech/office draw so businesses that catered to these kinds of people sprang up as well (think office supply and computer stores), these employees were making around X amount of salary so homes in the X dollar range were built to accommodate people who wanted to live in communities that fit their needs, demographics showed that the people who populated these growing cities and suburbs had 2.5 children in the mostly 2-15 age bracket so businesses that catered to these kids also developed (think My Gym, movie theaters, skateboard shops, etc). Anyway, you get the idea.
Tomorrow, pay attention to the things you see and hear. Watch the news, check out what's happening on your way to work or on your way to town, ask people how they are doing and listen for what their needs are. When you come back home, list down ten potential opportunities based on your findings. Who knows, you may come up with a business out of this research. If nothing else, you will have practiced the survival skill of finding opportunities where the average person would think none existed.


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