focusSouth Africa is the home of the entrepreneurial spirit: a nation of people who seek out an opportunity because they believe in the growth that we are capable of.

You can find opportunity anywhere – in places you least expect if you have the right eye for spotting lucrative moments. Although, it’s not often that an opportunity is just stumbled upon. And even if that is the case, the chance of said opportunity kickstarting into an overnight success is slim. The truth of the matter is that it takes work to turn an opportunity into a fully-fledged venture.

An opportunity may present itself to you, but have you prepared yourself to grasp it with both hands? As an entrepreneur, you need to be ready. As a business owner, you need to be waiting. The work you put into your personal life will always extend into your career, and ideally, you can develop a sweet spot between the two.

Preparing for Opportunities

While you keep an eye out for your next business prospect, remember these tips for making room for new opportunities.

A Strong Sense of Direction

Without a vision, the execution of any business venture is going to be a rocky and disappointing road. Business owners need one thing to gear them towards success: laser focus.

You see, it isn’t so much about finding an opportunity but taking the opportunities that come your way.

There are plenty of methods to help you gain more direction in your life. You could start by writing down your goals, ambitions, and where you expect your life to be in the next 5 years. You could practice affirmations or manifestation techniques. But how do you get there? That isn’t the part you need to worry about. You must have a why that propels you towards your goals, and the how will sort itself out.

networkingNetworking and Collaboration

Networking existed long before we gave it a name and long before people hosted events and listened to TedTalks about it. Networking isn’t a modern-day phenomenon – it is how people create connections with other people based on what they can offer each other and how they can leverage off each other's experience.

Connections are waiting to be made around every corner. If you invest the right amount of time and energy into networking, you’ll find opportunities begin to show themselves left, right and centre. You can divide networking into four spheres, and utilise all of them to make sure you leave no stone unturned:

  1. Your work sphere: Your colleagues, these are the people you see at work daily.
  2. Your organisational sphere: These are colleagues who work for the same company but at a different branch or department.
  3. Your professional sphere: These are your professional contacts that aren’t in your immediate work environment. Think of old clients, previous employers or an old employee. They’re more important than you may think.
  4. Your personal sphere: Family and friends are often high-value individuals to do business with, and you would be doing yourself a disservice to neglect this networking sphere.

Networking doesn’t always equate to cheesiness. You can create authentic connections when you behave authentically. Know what you bring to the table, network when you need it the least, always follow up and make sure you treat everybody with kindness and respect.

Be the Person Who Always Delivers

The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

Delivering on each job that comes your way, no matter how mundane or exciting, is a pivotal part of preparing for opportunity. When industry peers know that you are consistent and reliable, they feel comfortable sending opportunities your way or coming on board with you should you need an investor or partner.

Mentorship

Whatever field you are in, there is always more knowledge to be absorbed. Whether you’re a titan of industry or newly stepping into the entrepreneurship circle, mentorship is something that significantly impacts how and what opportunities enter your life.

When you have a mentor, you gain access to a well of knowledge and plenty of contacts by association. Your mentor will be able to guide you on trends, industry insights and upcoming opportunities. A mentor will also be able to help you distinguish a good opportunity from a bad one.

Identifying Good Business Ideas

You can do all the internal and external preparation in the world, but success starts to roll in when you develop an eye for identifying good business opportunities.

You don’t always need to dream up new ideas or discover new markets. Sometimes the best ideas are the ideas that already exist, but with your fresh take, they can become exciting and enticing once again!

Try out these techniques to find new ways of looking at existing ideas:

Flipping

Flipping is when you perceive something as valuable or you know you can increase the value, so you purchase it and eventually sell it for more. Flipping is a great business opportunity because your investment ultimately becomes profit. Flipping comes in many forms: homes, cars, websites, or appliances.

This is a business opportunity that requires significant input and innovation on your behalf. How are you going to boost the value of your purchase?

Task Tracking

Think about what you do for a living and what service you are asked to complete the most. Let’s make an example.

If you are a Conversion Marketer and offer a range of services that boost businesses, dig into what people ask for the most. Maybe you are always being asked to write blogs. Does this mean you change your title to blogger? Not necessarily, but it does mean you now have a niche you can offer to brands and businesses.

Building on Innovation

If you see a business model that you admire, it could still be a viable opportunity. Just because it exists already doesn’t mean that a) it can’t be improved or b) you can’t knuckle down on a niche part of their offering.

A lot of people place their focus on adding more and offering more which is great, but it isn’t always as effective as choosing a niche and doing it well. You could identify a strong offering within an already existing business and decide to make that one thing, your thing.

Fill a Gap, Fix a Frustration

The best opportunities are the ones that make people's lives simpler. If you can identify a frustration and tactically solve it, you are on your way towards capitalising on a massive opportunity.

Think about what hinders your progress every day or what you hear the people around you complaining about. You could even look at your hobbies and see how they could be made more enjoyable and accessible. The best ideas are ideas that have humans at their core. Trust us, we know.

iK Vend

The Newest Opportunity on the Block

If you’re looking for a business opportunity that pretty much slots into any business you already run, you should check out iK Vend.

iK Vend is a business you can start for under R500 by purchasing an iKhokha Mover Pro, a mobile card machine that lets you run a business through your smartphone. You can sell prepaid products like airtime, data, electricity, gas and water using your card machine and iK Vend (which operates on the free iKhokha App). You can even settle bills like clothing accounts, municipal bills, DStv, traffic fines and more.

You can read more about making money with iK Vend here.

Trust your gut, go against the grain, and remember that anything is possible when you meet an opportunity with determination and grit.