To quickly get ahead in business and life, have a keen eye for spotting opportunities. If only we had the foresight to register a domain name in 1993—any domain name—because back then they were still all available. If only we had bought land on the river or where the mall now stands. If only we had unloaded all our stocks in early 2007 instead of 2010. Hindsight is always 20/20. But the question is: How can you spot the next great opportunity for your business?
I’m not talking about you having to predict major national and international trends like the price of gold or the stock market. I’m talking about not getting so caught up in your day-to-day work that you miss simple opportunities. It’s about you working on your business, not just in it.
The first step to inviting opportunity into your life is to be on the lookout for it. Seek it out by looking, listening, and constantly analyzing how you do business. The question “What can I do better?” should always be at the front of your mind instead of being locked away in a vault at the back.
Your business and life ultimately are determined by the quality of the questions you pose and answer.
I find it useful to specifically schedule a formal time in the week to work on my business. I normally hold meetings with my key staff at my home on Monday nights. Over drinks and appetizers, the agenda is not about day-to-day minutiae or problems of the hour. Instead, it’s specifically geared towards innovation and ideas.
• How can we add value?
• How can we keep customers longer?
• How can we convert more leads?
• How can we get more referrals?
• What ideas can we bring in from outside our industry?
• Are we making the best use of new media?
• How can we capitalize more on social media?
• What was the most interesting trend spotted this week?
• How can we do it faster?
The more often you ask these and similar questions, the more frequently you engage your employees (and even clients in some cases) in the discussion, the more quality ideas and innovations you will generate.
Always be asking how you can do “IT” better.
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