Insight: Sensing Potentials


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The ability to sense potential opportunities is key to the identity of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are wired in a way that they can sense the surroundings and identify a need immediately. This entrepreneurial ability can be reached by anyone through understanding what change and dissatisfaction mean to entrepreneurs.

Change

Before the pandemic, people were free to move and go on with their usual life. Buying clothes is done in malls, people eat in restaurants and watch movies in theaters. As the numbers started to rise, the government mandated to stop economic activities and put people inside their homes until hospitals are well equipped to handle infected people. Change happened, which affected people’s way of doing things.

The change in people’s behavior because of the quarantine created a need. People can no longer go out to buy their wants or watch movies in theaters. Students had to stop school. People can no longer exercise. The working force had to work from home. All these changes created a void and manifested as needs. 

Online became the default go-to place. As people searched for solutions, they went online to get and share information. People met online, transacted online, watched movies online, studied online, and made money online. Everything became online. 

As a result, the old and new gained traction. Zoom, practically an unknown company before the pandemic, earned millions because it became the most used platform for meetings. Google classroom became one of the most learned platforms for online learning. PPEs became highly in demand. New businesses sprouted as well. Viber groups became a selling platform where people looked for their essentials. New food products were noticed, such as the Sushi Bake and Ube Pandesal.

Change signals the formation of needs as shown in how people’s behavior changed as a result of the mandate to put people in quarantine.

Here are the changes people need to be sensitive about:

  1. Changes in Political factors include policies, tax, state of peace and order, labor law, corruption, etc.
  2. Changes in Economic factors such as inflation rate, interest rates, exchange rates, policies, growth patterns.
  3. Changes in Social factors such as demographics, urbanization and population
  4. Changes in Technological factors involve innovation in technology. What is being developed and what is available.
  5. Changes in Environment includes changes in climate, supply restrictions and availability based on environmental policies.

To illustrate how change was recognized as a source of opportunity, here is a short story on Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

Back in the 90s, Bezos was working for a financial firm. He was doing well and good in the company. He has a good career ahead of him. One day, he saw data on the change and  growth of internet users in the coming years. Being entrepreneurial, he interpreted the data as an opening to an opportunity. He grabbed the opportunity and founded Amazon. 

Changes can also be taken advantage of by small businesses too. An extreme example would be the vendors along EDSA. There was a time when EDSA’s traffic was not as bad as today. Back then in the 90’s, motorists would not see vendors along the highway. But today, as soon as the traffic starts, vendors will be offering their products. Change in volume of the cars, urbanization, and population growth are some factors that triggered the change and eventually attracted vendors. 

Exercise:

What are the changes you sense that is happening around you? You may use sources such as newspapers or data from the internet.

Dissatisfaction

People want. They want better, they aspire for something more superior and that is the case for the majority of people on earth and people I know. I have yet to meet someone who does not need or want anything. As long as people feel they want and need, there will always be new customers and products.

When we are dissatisfied, it is because the experience is not as we expected or not as what is expected. There is a feeling that something is MISSING, ANNOYING, IRRITATING & DISAPPOINTING and knowing WHY gives the entrepreneurial an insight to the solution that can be provided.

The entrepreneurial, an aspirant for better things, can use dissatisfaction as a source of business opportunity. There are 2 types of dissatisfaction: Dissatisfaction as a user & Dissatisfaction as observer. As a user you have a personal experience with the brand. As an observer, someone else was the user. 

Konsuke Matsushita is an example who personally experienced dissatisfaction and had knowledge about how Japanese were dissatisfied with the bike lamp. As a response to dissatisfaction he made a better bike lamp.

Exercise:

  1. When was the last time you were dissatisfied with a product?
  2. Identify what is MISSING, ANNOYING, IRRITATING & DISAPPOINTING with the experience.

To entrepreneurs, changes and dissatisfaction are anomalies that create needs and problems and those needs and problems trigger the entrepreneur’s capability to insight.

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