Edinburgh Accountants Allsquare are here to help how to Identify Solid Opportunities for Business Growth
The United Kingdom is experiencing a period of significant economic growth, meaning that opportunities are abounding for businesses wishing to expand.
The challenge for entrepreneurs, however, is to identify those specific opportunities which will enhance their companies and support growth. The reality is that there are few easily identifiable sure things in business and even fewer guarantees of success.
There are, nonetheless, several criteria which, when applied to an emerging opportunity, can help you evaluate its merits and decide whether it is worth pursuing.
1. Does the opportunity involve a service or product that satisfies a need or solves a problem?
This is a notoriously difficult question to answer, especially for businesses with limited resources for professional market research, but there are some lower-cost strategies. Steve Strauss, business columnist for USA Today, suggests:
- Using LinkedIn groups and polls;
- Asking questions on Facebook and Twitter, perhaps incentivising respondents by offering a prize for the best reply;
- Attending trade shows and talking to businesses similar to yours;
- Talking to businesses in other locations which don’t compete with yours;
- Employing business students from local colleges to carry out research for you.
2. Is there a demand for the service or product in your location?
There may be a huge gap in the market for a service or product, but demand may be limited to certain geographies. There are many excellent examples of this, but one of the most obvious relates to catering: there may be a lack of a fine-dining restaurant in a given location, but the size and affluence of the local population may severely limit demand for such an enterprise. Careful research of local demographics, perhaps using the tools suggested above, will help businesses to establish potential levels of demand.
3. Do you have the resources to exploit an opportunity?
If an opportunity satisfies the first two criteria, the main issue is whether a business has or can obtain the financial and human resources to develop it. Banks, funding circles and accountants can give guidance on the financial viability of a project for your company. Determining whether the people are available for your requirements can be a slightly more difficult question to answer. Job Centres and employment agencies can advise you on the local pool of talent if you need specific skill sets.
4. Can you provide the service or product at a price that the market will accept?
Answering this question will involve the detailed and realistic examination of start-up and ongoing costs as well as research into the price points viewed by consumers as acceptable.
5. Is the timing right?
In many ways, this sounds rather vague and woolly, but it is a critically important consideration which has two distinct strands. Firstly, are businesses generally doing well? How is the wider economy? Secondly, is the timing right for you and your company? Can you dedicate the time required to embark on a new venture? Do you have personal or other business responsibilities which will circumscribe the effort and energy you can dedicate to a new project?
Positive answers to these questions can help you to identify the solid opportunities for growth which merit further investigation. As always, however, much will depend on your industry and ambition.