Seizing the Opportunity: Evaluating and Launching a Business

Every business begins as an idea in its founder’s head. Perhaps you’ve dreamed for years about starting your own company – envisioning products, services and revenue streams; assembling management teams and processes in your mind. But turning an entrepreneurial business opportunity into reality requires a strategic, thoughtful approach. Here we provide a roadmap for entrepreneurs looking to identify, assess, validate and pursue and business opportunity.

Generating Business Opportunity Ideas

It begins with creativity and openness to possibilities in assessing your skills, experiences, interests, networks and surroundings for potential business opportunities.

  • What solution could be offered to solve a problem you’ve witnessed in an industry you know well or setting you inhabit daily?
  • Do you notice popular products/services with high demand but gaps around price point, convenience, quality, features, branding, etc. that leave room for competition?
  • Are any niche hobby segments or geographic areas underserved by current offerings?
  • Could your unique combination of talents, education and contacts enable you to operate a venture in a differentiated way?

Correlating ideas to broader societal trends, reviewing small business grant eligibility requirements in your region and seeking ideation guidance from entrepreneurial associations can also catalyze a promising startup opportunity suited to you. Permit yourself to pursue a free flow of opportunities without immediate concern for feasibility. The initial focus should be on quantity and creativity of business opportunity concepts.

Evaluating Business Opportunities

With a robust list of potential business opportunities to explore further, the next step is assessing concepts for commercial viability. Critical to evaluating any business opportunity are:

Market Validation

  • What is the size of the target customer market and projected growth?
  • Does survey or interview data reflect that your prospective buyer persona has interest and intent to purchase products/services aligned to this business opportunity concept?

Competition Benchmarking

  • Who are competitors and indirect alternatives the startup would contend with in pursuing this business opportunity?
  • Can you identify clear competitive advantages in a scalable, difficult to replicate offering that competitors cannot easily match?

Cost and Complexity Analysis

  • What degree of financial investment will be required upfront and what operational complexity exists in pursuing this business opportunity?
  • Does the business opportunity offer the potential for producing viable profit margins at a suitable scale?

Alignment to Owner/Management Team

  • Do founders and anticipated staff have appropriate skills, experiences and passion to succeed with this business opportunity and drive it forward through inevitable challenges?

Finalizing a Business Opportunity Concept

Synthesizing the findings and analyses across these evaluation areas will illuminate which business opportunity concept warrants advancing with validation testing and further planning. At this stage you will lock in defining components of the opportunity: Value proposition offered, Target market and their characteristics, Key functional needs/jobs to be done to deliver your offering, Anticipated revenue and pricing models and Projected resources/partners needed for launch.

Validating and Pursuing a Business Opportunity

Prior to expending extensive capital resources to develop products/services and launch a new business, validation through primary and secondary research is critical for ensuring your business opportunity has merit. Common methods include creating minimum viable prototypes to demonstrate to prospective customer focus groups, building an email list to test messaging and willingness to purchase, sending cold calls/questionnaires to prospective buyers, running digital and social media advertising to drive interest and landing page conversions, and pre-selling to early evangelists. Securing positive signals that align with projections and suggest a high intent to purchase rate increases the business opportunity’s likelihood for success.

Following such validation steps

related refinement to your business plan, creating infrastructure and executing a go-to-market strategy are next. Core components at this phase include appointing leadership, assembling teams, attracting investors, leasing appropriate work facilities, acquiring necessary technology/software platforms, establishing sales and marketing initiatives and ultimately releasing offerings to customers. It’s an exciting leap of faith backed by the insights gleaned, due diligence completed and conviction built during the evaluation period on your business opportunity.

The process of vetting and moving forward on a new business opportunity combines left-brained analysis with right-brained creativity and vision. Through balancing these elements, your chances for seizing a fruitful business opportunity and realizing the dream of entrepreneurship greatly expand. With dedication to constant learning from customers, employees and industry shifts, you can propel that kernel of a business opportunity first imagined into a thriving commercial enterprise.