We’ve been looking at our personal financial goals through the lens of a strategic business acronym called SWOT, which stands for:
Today’s post deals with Opportunities.
Opportunities are external. They’re something that can occur in the future. They are something that you’re NOT doing right now. MBA’s think of opportunities as “outside conditions that help to achieve the objective.” The key for us is to identify and exploit from each opportunity that’s out there to help us achieve our objective of financial security.
Much like the real estate investor in Rich Like Them, you must always have your eyes open. When the author mentioned that a profiled real estate investor had an “uncanny eye for good deals”, he said the reason was because “that eye was always open.”She was always on the lookout for opportunities, when on vacation, when on a business trip with her husband, when reading USA Today.
Our key “take away” is to always be thinking in terms of opportunities. Just today, I saw someone using a broom to clean snow from the roof of her SUV and thought, “What’s the opportunity here?” Could I design a non-scratching device to help remove snow and ice from the roof tops of tall SUV’s and minivans? Hmm. It would have to be collapsible, strong, ergonomic, and easily manufactured.
Perhaps your opportunity is in debt reduction, getting on a budget, changing your insurance deductible, exploring a way to make extra money in a way you haven’t thought of before, or leveraging your passion into a business you love. Maybe you want to finish your degree so you can get promoted or negotiate for a higher salary.
The main purpose of identifying an opportunity is to exploit it to our benefit or the benefit of others. How can I exploit an idea for a roof top snow and ice remover? I’d need to create a prototype, test it, market test it, refine and redesign it, then market it.
How can you exploit opportunities once you’ve identified them? The main thing is ACTION! Start taking a step forward, then take another and another and another. When I started a business several years back, a lot of people marveled, “I wouldn’t know where to begin.” My response: “I didn’t either. I just did.” The difference wasn’t a matter of knowing how or what to do, the difference was knowing why and getting on with it. Become an opportunity train that cannot be stopped.
All the knowledge you’ll ever need is right at your fingertips (assuming you’re reading this on a computer). There is LITERALLY nothing you cannot research and learn how to do via the Internet. Knowledge of *how* to do something isn’t standing in your way. Knowing *why* you’re going to do it IS. If you haven’t started to exercise, it isn’t because you haven’t had the opportunity or don’t know what to do or how to do it. It’s because you don’t want to do it yet. If you haven’t started that business you’ve been talking about, it isn’t that you don’t know how or what to do, it’s that you just haven’t wanted to do it yet.
How do you overcome the “haven’t wanted to do it just yet” syndrome? Rustle up some motivation and use the self discipline that’s inside of you. Getting motivated is the one thing you need to succeed. It explains how someone coming to the USA with six bucks in his pocket starts a business and in 15 years become successful beyond anything he ever dreamed. What kind of business didn’t matter, they were motivated to get something up and running. It explains why someone who truly wants to lose weight can do it regardless of which fad diet they use. The diet wasn’t what helped them lose the weight, it was their own motivation!
Where are your opportunities? What can you identify and exploit to your benefit? What are you waiting for?