So you thought all entrepreneurs were suit wearing ex consultants huh? Nope the best ones are cool surfer dudes..!
Sure the surfing ain’t water based but it’s the same idea – find the big wave, get on its back and ride it all the way.
If you are real lucky, you can catch a few waves in the same session, right.
OK, so being serious for a second – what I mean is you need to try and look for trends that will positively affect your business, while avoiding negative ones.
When either planning a new business or looking for the holy grail in the one you already have – try and get into a business that has multiple positive trends running behind it to push the business along.
A good example of a positive trend is a new market that is being sponsored by government, take the ‘war on terror’ – once the US government had decided that this was a priority a huge wave was created in a whole host of businesses that could take advantage of the massive amount of legislation and dollars that were going to be poured into the space. Literally 1000s of new businesses have been built in the last 5 years on this change alone.
There will be a wave to catch in your market, large or small, you should make sure you take advantage.
If you can try to put together several waves to push your business to success – how about a new technology, in an emerging market like the one above that is cheaper, faster or better. You then have the advantage of offering efficiency in a large and growing market – a double wave.
By the same token, it does not make sense to either enter a market too late, after the wave has lost it’s energy. Or where the wave is against you, such as trying to muscle in on the above market where all the contracts will only go to select players, locking you out.
Another classic opportunity is the bow wave of a large player in the market – ride the spin off opportunities that are created by bigger players. Or where they are moving out of a market like when Cable and Wireless changed strategy and left huge regional telephony markets up for grabs for those with a surfer attitude.
One of my investments illustrates this point very well, it has the benefit of several waves.
Firstly it is in a market with few competitors, with a new idea and first mover advantage. The market itself has the benefit of government funds in the $billions, plus it also has the benefit of positive parental trends and even better a ‘green/health’ spin. Also, the company has a track record in the space where others don’t and it’s been tieing up exclusive arrangements with government and other ‘legal bodies’ to give it a defensible advantage – in short 4/5 waves that will push it forward.
Without these advantages the business would be very ordinary but with them it could be very profitable and successful.
So get on those board shorts and start surfing my friends.