The successful entrepreneur is opportunistic.
The word opportunist may but does not necessarily have an unsavory connotation.
An opportunist can actively seek opportunities and turn them into entrepreneurial activities or an expansion of these activities in a way that violates no ethical or moral laws.
What is opportunism in business? Or to be safe, what is opportunity-seeking in business?
It means being alert to opportunities that come the entrepreneur’s way.
It also means actively looking and going after ideas which can be turned into opportunities. If instead of waiting for guava fruits to fall, Juan climbed the tree or used a sungkit to pick the fruits, then he would have practiced opportunity-seeking behaviour and not be called tamad at all.
If you will go into business, opportunity seeking is very important. It can help you in many ways. Here are some examples.
- If you actively seek opportunities, you will find customers or markets where other people find none. Imagine yourself in some remote barangay in the country. Notice that people wait for once a week tiyangges in order to buy their basic necessities and other supplies. What opportunity do you see there? Some might tell you there’s no opportunity for big grocery stores and convenience shops there because residents are buying from tiyangges. Would you agree? Or would you, on the contrary say that: Precisely because there are no such stors here, I will set up one. I asked the houseweives – they were all excited to have a big store – one that is open everyday and carries most of their household needs.” Do you see how you can find an opportunity where other see none at all?
- If you actively seek opportunities, you will find new uses for old products, including waste products. Some people just thing of kusot or saw dust as a waste material to be thrown away. But entrepreneurial people have found many uses for it. For example, kusot can be used as an in ingredient in fertilizer product, a medium for mushroom growing, a raw material for particle board, decoration for ornamental articles. Can you think of more? While you’re at it, can you think of new uses for fabric scraps, for old newspapers, for fruit feelings?
- If you actively seek opportunities, you will new ways of doing things. And if the new way is cheaper, faster and less complicated, this is an opportunity for you to make more profit because you will realize some savings. House painting used to done exclusively with conventional paint brushes. Later, it was found that spray painting or roller-brush painting can make speed up the work and may even result in better quality.
- If you actively seek opportunities, you will find new products for old markets or customers. The successful entrepreneurs seek to find new ways to please old customers. Each new need or new want exhibited by your market is an opportunity which you can take advantage of. For example, customers who used to be satisfied with buying plain roasted peanuts may tire of it. Innovative and opportunity-seeking entrepreneurs have come up with new peanut variants like spiced peanuts, candied peanuts, wasabi-flavored peanuts, garlicked peanuts, and other variations. Opportunity seeking is also demonstrated by banks as they began to offer new and useful services to customers, including credit card, 24-hour ATM tellering and point-of-sales payment with the use of ATM cards, online monitoring of one’s bank account, online payment of bills, putting up bayad centers for one-stop payment of utility, credit card and other bills.
Adapted from: Introduction to Entrepeneurship, 1st revised edition, published by the SERDEF and UP ISSI.