One of the core questions of entrepreneurship is why person A did recognize and capitalize on a particular opportunity and not persons B through Z? Why did she recognize and exploit that opportunity and not me? Well here are few thoughts on this question. First, she was looking for opportunities. If you’re not actively searching the odds of spotting anything of interest are pretty minimal. Opportunities do not just jump up and bite you on the tush, at least not usually. Search is an active process (see my previous post on opportunity gaps) not a hobby. If you’re not looking you’re not likely to find it. Second, you’re much more likely to recognize and successfully exploit an opportunity in your ‘Entrepreneurial Sweet Spot’. Your ‘Entrepreneurial Sweet Spot’ is where you prior experience & knowledge, contacts and networks, and capabilities converge. It’s the space in a market that you are most likely to see the opportunity first, but more importantly, be able to muster the knowledge, resources and people you need to successfully exploit the opportunity. Successful entrepreneurial search is much more likely to occur in markets that you know well or in markets that are tangential, but close to what you already know. Searching broadly and randomly, or following the herd and the buzz around the next big thing, is unlikely to lead to useful discoveries. Focused search based on applying your skills, knowledge and networks to gap in between existing offerings and what is possible is far more likely to lead to success. Every potential entrepreneur out there should have a personal inventory of their knowledge, skills, and networks. What do you know? What can you do? Who do you know? Where do these converge to create a unique opportunity for you? These are the questions every entrepreneur should use to guide their search. So back to the original question – “why her and not me?” the answer generally lies in an active, focused search process designed to build on what you know, who you know and what you can do.
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