The Entrepreneur as an Opportunities Identifier By Galit Zamler
Opportunities surround us all the time, and there are people who recognize them and know what to do with them. It is possible to educate students to identify opportunities, through guidance and training, from an early age.
Scanning and Listening
An entrepreneur is a person who is attentive to the environment; he continuously scans and, when he identifies something with a chance of gaining success, he makes it an enterprise.
The following story illustrates why identifying opportunities is good:
The story is about two businessmen who come to Africa to sell shoes.
A half an hour later, they both call their wives.
One says: My wife, do not worry, tomorrow I'll get on the plane back, no one here wears shoes, they're all barefoot.
The second says: My dear wife, I'm terribly sorry, but I cannot go back in the coming year, there is an incredible opportunity to sell shoes here; everyone goes barefoot.
In the video, "Let's Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs", Cameron Herold, an entrepreneur since childhood who has coached entrepreneurs for the past 20 years, says how at an early age, encouraged by his father, he had identified business opportunities and realized that his destiny was to be an entrepreneur.
When it comes to kids: Those who participate in the Entrepreneurship for Kids program learn how to identify opportunities that will drive them toward success in a personal and a business level.
Turning a Difficult to Opportunity
The entrepreneur can identify opportunities for success. Even when there is hardly a chance, it needs to be viewed from a different angle to find out.
An example and inspiration from an entrepreneur:
In the displayed videos, Steve Jobs, a talented and respected entrepreneur, talks about the road to his success and his process.
These videos are presented to students participating in the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program in a meeting that deals with turning a difficult situation into an opportunity and, usually, they respond to the content with great amazement. This results mainly from the fact that a person who grew up as an adopted child and hasn't acquired a college degree, was fired from the company he founded, and, in spite of everything, was very successful in his field and is considered to them and the world a symbol of success.
IAI CEO Itzhak Nissan described in an interview with Globes that the transformation of Israel into a superpower UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) began with the closure of the Lavi project:
We took the end of the Lavi very difficult. After we had recovered, we decided to transfer the technologies developed for other things, such as UAVs, and we became a superpower. We do not stop to think, improve, and expand.
Knowing to Identify and Utilize Opportunities
Ray Kroc, affiliated with a network McDonald's, began his career as an entrepreneur when he invented a machine for making milkshakes. To sell the machines he went from store to store throughout the United States and offered them to the shop owners.
The moment when he saw an opportunity for another initiative was when he entered to sell his wares at the McDonald brothers' hamburger. After several visits to the restaurant, he realized that the fast-food concept had great potential.
The transition to the hamburgers enterprise was made gradually. Initially, he purchased a franchise for a single location, and then expanded until he acquired the entire network from the founders and turned it into an international network.
The Israeli entrepreneur Dror Ceder, founder of Wibiya and vice president of Conduit, said in his lecture at the club of entrepreneurship of the Open University, how he worked with his partners on the project for two years and two days after the launch of the project, they decided to kill the project and move to another project, due to an error and the responses from the crowd to the error.
Watch the video (In Hebrew)
Identifying Trends to Create Opportunities
Ideas for projects can also arise from identifying trends. To be able to identify trends, it's advised to get help from tools such as Google Trends, which allow identifying trends in different areas and in different places around the world.
In addition, it's also advised to be attentive and aware of our surroundings. Sometimes, as an outcome of being attentive to the surroundings, we can identify the beginning of trends that hadn't yet received any attention from the mass media.
The ability to identify trends in time and leverage them, can lead to great success.
Here are a couple of examples of trends that entrepreneurs knew how to identify and leverage:
Common working spaces- WeWork was the first to identify entrepreneur's needs to work with people similar to them in places other than garage or at home. Many companies sensed the trend and became a part of it, and thus, we can find in many cities around the world common working spaces, in which, each one is trying to differentiate himself in some way.
ADHD-whether more children and people have ADHD or there's simply more awareness to it, after all we are seeing an abundance of different solutions to this such as writing books about it, medications (Ritalin), lectures for parents, setting up treatment centers, developing designated products, etc.
The Fidget cube, that rode on the wave of the ADHD trend, became a huge hit for a short period. The entrepreneurs raised money from the public to produce and market the cube with the help of the website Kickstarter. The project achieved major success, as you can see from the screenshot below, the entrepreneurs planned to raise $15k and eventually managed to raise $6,465,690.
Another product that had major success in light of the same trend was the spinner. Children and people all over the world purchased the spinners and swirled them for pure enjoyment and\or to concentrate.
Even if those two products are no longer popular as before, ADHD is still present, and the market is looking for efficient solutions.
A trend in a completely different area is the growing interest in artificial intelligence. This is one of the leading trends nowadays in the world. Entrepreneurs who will succeed in identifying the required usages for this trend are on their way to success.
Skills & Entrepreneurship education