I've been thinking of evaluating opportunities lately from the perspective of threats.
There's a downside to it, which is that focusing on the negative can mean a lowering of personal affect, morale, whatever. You tend to get more of what you focus on.
However, evaluating "what are the threats in the way of this succeeding?" seems like a pretty good way to check into ideas that are already on their ways towards correct execution. What could happen, with yourself, your team, competition, or other external stakeholders that could derail your success?
If you identify for threats, you can prepare against them. A cashflow crunch is easier to solve far in the future by securing some lines of credit during good times. If a key client or contract might be paid late, get that credit. If a single client accounts for more than half of your revenue, start diversifying even if it slows down your revenue growth. If a single sector is all you deal in, look if you can pick up a couple side-streams of revenue, especially covering most of your overhead.
Don't obsess over threats, and don't start thinking of them until you're well on your way -- by far the biggest risk is that your project never gets ignited and gets off the ground, and the you or your partners just don't hustle enough. But once things are going, do a once-over on threats. It could be the difference between success and failure. An ounce of prevention and all...
No one celebrates Thanksgiving in Taiwan, and my business partner is Canadian. But the majority of our clients are American, so the normal rigors of client calls and sales calls were wiped from the slate, leaving us a day to evaluate where exactly we were at.
It was both inspiring and shocking. If you're a small-business owner, I'd highly recommend you check out this post. I'm going to walk you through how we identified everything we could be doing, what we were doing well and poorly, and how we chose metrics to measure success and let that dictate our projects.
The first thing we wanted to do is figure out exactly what we had implicitly or explicitly committed to.
When we calculated how many internal projects and initiatives we had active, or that we wanted to start in the near future, we realized we had 42 current internal projects that would represent hundreds if not thousands of hours to complete.
I went to get my car washed today in freezing weather, the day of a massive snow storm about to hit DC. Needless to say, nobody else was there. (Why did I do this? Because the car desperately needed to be waxed + interior cleaned, and I'm not in DC for long). The experience got me thinking about dynamic pricing and customer loyalty.
Businesses typically try to use frequent-purchase tactics to drive loyalty, like a "buy 9 get 1 free" card or, in the case of airlines, frequent flyer miles. But I believe there's a better way to drive deep loyalty while at the same time maximizing the revenue a business gets: Dynamic pricing, with a Hedge. Here's what I mean:
As I mention in the video above, to say it was a slow day at the car wash facility would be putting it nicely -- I must've been one of only a couple dozen customers they would have the entire day. It's expensive to keep a carwash open on a day like today, including paying at least 10 employees to sit around and do nothing.