One of the toughest parts of being an entrepreneur is finding the next opportunity to make it big in business. There is always another opportunity coming down the road, but your job is to distinguish the good ones from the bad ones and make smart business decisions that will set you or your startup ahead in the long run.
There are definitely ways to go about this that will set you ahead, and things that you can take advantage of to give you or your startup business an edge. The following are seven ways to do just that--all entrepreneurs should be taking these opportunities if they can.
Invest in Multiple Businesses
Most self-made billionaires are people who invested in many different business opportunities at once instead of focusing on just one idea. While there are also plenty of business owners who have focused on one idea and succeeded, it is harder to do this and if you fail, many more of your resources are lost. For the first-time entrepreneur, instead of taking an idea from the ground up, it may be more appealing to run other businesses and be a part of their inception, limiting your risk without limiting your opportunity for profit.
These investors are becoming more popular than venture capitalists in some industries, and the money that comes from them generally has far fewer strings attached or expectations than bank loans and money from venture capitalists. These investors can be great resources for the entrepreneur looking to stress less about funding and focus on product and customer loyalty and service, and angel investors are backing the market in a way that has not been seen before.
Another funding method that is changing the landscape of all industries' markets is crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter have made it possible for entrepreneurs to circumvent the need for traditional loans and investors and instead go straight to their customers to inquire about interest level and garner the funds necessary to produce their wares and distribute them to interested parties. This has encouraged more innovation and diversity in the marketplace, and has done quite a bit to level out the playing field between competitors--and help to negate the edge that comes with being well connected versus starting a business from next to nothing.
The founders of startup incubators function similarly to angel investors in that they provide many resources for a startup to begin its journey with very few strings attached and kickback expected in return. Though not all startup incubators operate in terms of funding, they can provide other much-needed services like office space, professional seminars, access to industry professionals, or access to the means of production to give startups of all kinds an opportunity to accomplish their mission. These programs are highly competitive, however, and your startup will need to apply to take advantage of them.
Producing quality content will always set your business ahead of the curve. Good content can be found everywhere nowadays, and providing great content has become easier with the proliferation of ghostwriting networking websites that also allow for quality designers and filmmakers to sell their work to businesses looking to creatively reach out and connect with their customers. Making good content is going to be your biggest in to making new sales, which means that producing good content is an opportunity that every startup owner should be jumping on to give his or her business an edge.
The Social Power of the Internet
Strategically placing your business and brand in the center of conversations and creating a culture around your brand will effectively separate your business from your competition's by truly connecting to customers on issues they care about.
Foreign markets, especially the Chinese one, have seen exponential growth in the past few years. Any startup owners that know how to recognize this opportunity for what it truly is--access to the largest market on earth--will be thanking themselves all the way to the bank.