How Entrepreneurs Identify New Biz Opportunities

Raffi Amit,a professor of management at Wharton,offers insights into how entrepreneurs can identify new business opportunities and evaluate their potential and their risks in an article on the Knowledge Wharton blog.

There are many sources for new venture opportunities for individuals. Clearly, when you see inefficiency in the market, and you have an idea of how to correct that inefficiency, and you have the resources and capability — or at least the ability to bring together the resources and capability needed to correct that inefficiency — that could be a very interesting business idea. In addition, if you see a product or service that is being consumed in one market, that product is not available in your market, you could perhaps import that product or service, and start that business in your home country.

Many sources of ideas come from existing businesses, such as franchises. You could license the right to provide a business idea. You could work on a concept with an employer who, for some reason, has no interest in developing that business. You could have an arrangement with that employer to leave the company and start that business. You can tap numerous sources for new ideas for businesses.

Perhaps the most promising source of ideas for new business comes from customers — listening to customers. That is something we ought to do continuously, in order to understand what customers want, where they want it, how they want a product or service supplied, when they want it supplied, and at what price.

Obviously, if you work in a large company, employees might come up with ideas. Indeed, you might want to listen to what they have to say. You could pursue these ideas by asking yourself some key questions such as, “Is the market real? Is the product or service real? Can I win? What are the risks? And is it worth it?”

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