When opportunities knock…



This month I thought I’d cover a subject I know many of us can relate to – opportunities.

In the business world, these are absolutely what we should be looking out for and grasping with both hands…when they are right for us.

You might argue that opportunities don’t just come along, but rather they are ‘created’, in which case if you have the chance to self-develop, take your business to the next level or collaborate with someone new, then effectively it could well be a no brainer that you take on the challenge and dive straight in, no questions asked. If it’s relevant and positive, it can only bring good to you and your business, right?

Except, how do we filter through the opportunities that come our way, to know which are right for us and which may fall flat?

There is no guarantee of an ideal end result, so sometimes taking the leap is all we can do, however a good old-fashioned risk assessment of the situation is always a good start.

Try asking yourself the following 10 questions before making any big decisions:

  1. Instinct – What does this tell you in the first instance?
  2. Research – Do you know as much as possible about the organisation/person you are looking to work with?
  3. Audience – Who are they and are they right for you and your brand?
  4. Relevance – Is the opportunity relevant to you and your industry?
  5. Your profile and image – Will it affect your reputation in a positive way and establish you further within your industry?
  6. Growth – Will it help you to develop both personally or in business and is it the right time for this?
  7. Workload – How much is required of you for the return you will gain and is it going to be worth it?
  8. Value – Can you add lots of this to the situation and in turn to yourself?
  9. Knowledge – Do you have what it takes to pull it off?
  10. Passion – Do you actually ‘want’ to do it?

Recently I was presented with an exciting opportunity to manage and facilitate a consumer focus group for a very well-known international brand, which would take me across the UK.

My first thought was to say yes! After some discussion however, I realised that although I have years of experience in managing and facilitating mastermind group sessions, events and running workshops in my area of expertise (business marketing and events – B2B) I wasn’t as experienced in this area in particular and the self-doubt set in. Call it what you like – many of us I’m sure have been in this situation before, where we are torn between saying yes to an amazing opportunity which could well bring other fantastic opportunities our way, or saying no – just in case it doesn’t work out.

Having slept on it and considered my check-list, I decided to discuss the outline of the proposed project with a couple of business contacts of mine who work in similar areas to me, to also gauge whether it would be something they would take on themselves, and low and behold they echoed exactly the same thoughts as I did – they felt it wasn’t quite their area of expertise and so it would be better to pass it onto someone who could offer more value overall. Their main concern was that it could end up damaging their reputation and in turn be business sabotage if they weren’t able to meet the client’s expectations.

I learnt a big lesson from this, in that it’s okay to say no and walk away from some opportunities that may in the first instance seem amazing and too good to miss out on, because let’s face it, we spend so many years building up our reputation and flawless image for both our brands and ourselves, that it would be such a shame to jeopardise that for effectively ‘one gig’.

As the people behind our brands, it’s our responsibility to protect this with everything we have, which sometimes means walking away and saying no to opportunities that we may not be able to add as much value as we would like to and that’s okay because consider the outcome if it were not to go as planned?

Rebuilding your brands reputation and self-confidence once it has been knocked is no fun, nor ideal, though sometimes necessary, but if we can avoid it, we would do – wouldn’t we?

Saying all of this, opportunities are often there for the taking and sometimes they may be once in a lifetime – too good to be true kinds, which of course should always be heavily considered.

One of my main mantras has always been the wise words of Richard Branson: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure how to do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later!”

So on that note, always consider your options, think carefully, try asking yourself my 10-question checklist and whatever you decide I’m sure it will be right for you in the end.

Fiona Duncan-Steer – www.fionaduncansteer.co.uk  www.rsvipnetwork.co.uk

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