We often hear somebody say that he or she would start a business if they only could find a good business idea to start with. At NEBA we believe that in many cases you only have to ask yourself one question to get started in being an entrepreneur: What do you have in your hand? The skills you have can be the foundation of a new business.
There are many business opportunities available around each of us. Sometimes you only need to come up with a good idea. Many well-known businesses have been based on a simple idea – something that would have been possible to invent for the most of us.
A perfect example of this is the smoker bag innovation. Many people enjoy eating smoked food but making smoked food at home in a normal kitchen oven used to be a messy thing filling the kitchen with smoke. In the beginning of 1990s a man in Finland came up with a simple solution for making smoked food in a normal kitchen oven: he invented the SAVU smoker bag, a large foil bag which contains natural wood chips which create the smoked flavour. It’s not rocket science – just a new and clever innovation that proved to be a commercial success internationally. The man who came up with the idea of a smoker bag was willing to put his time, energy and money into fulfilling this plan.
The key elements of successful business opportunities are the person (potential entrepreneur), the idea (service, product) and the situation (place, time, circumstances).
How to spot an opportunity?
As I mentioned, there are many business opportunities around us. Often the new business opportunity involves doing something familiar but in a new way – like finding new customers to an old business model or offering a new product or service to existing customers.
How do you recognize new business opportunities? Have a look around in your own environment and try to see the situation from a business point of view. What is missing? Is there a need of something which is not provided yet? What could be done better? Could you do something in a different way than other people and companies around you are doing at the moment?
New ideas and business opportunities are often found when we are in interaction with other people – so talk to people, listen to them, observe what they do. Keep your eyes and ears open and be curious! Also, a change of scenery might help you to find new business opportunities – when you travel try to see if there is something that is missing from your own environment. When you see how things are done in different places around the world, you can sometimes spot an existing business model that you can start doing in your own country or city.
Often all you need to do is to spot a service or a product that meets a need which is not met by existing businesses in your area. And remember that a business opportunity does not have to be anything big or spectacular in the beginning – if the idea is really good, a small idea can grow up to be a big business as time goes by. As the Greek orator Demosthenes said: ”Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises”.
Mr. Jouni Suonpää
The Founder and Chairman of NEBA (North European Business Academy)