Wednesday, March 12, 2008

opportunity plan

we have seen that literally anything can throw up new opportunities. but not all opportunities can be converted into profitable biz ideas. therefore it is important to draw up an opportunity plan to see whether the opportunity under consideration is worth pursuing or not.

many times we get carried away by the imagined potential of an opportunity, either because there is some sentiment associated with it or we dont see the downside of it.

whilst evaluating an opportunity plan it is very important to be in possession of all facts pertaining to the biz idea, completely objective in analysing its risks and returns, and make a surgically precise decision without emotional overtones.

a typical opportunity plan should answer the following questions:

what gave rise to the opportunity?

because the answer determines the risk, reward, size of market and life cycle for the opportunity. eg when the Miss World contest was held in Bangalore, India, many years ago, overnight, there was a huge demand for over a 1000 chaueffeur-driven cars for three days. the reward was huge because no price was too high; the paegent organisers were willing to pay whatever was asked. the risk was very high too in that once the service was provided, the organisers would disappear; i know of one company that provided cars and drivers that insisted on payment in advance to mitigate the risk. the life cycle for the opportunity was extremely small and transient and the people willing to exploit this opportunity had to be really sharp on the uptake.

the next obvious question is: what market need does this opportunity fill?

are you the prime mover, in which case, perhaps some amount of educating the market is needed and therefore has to be incorporated into the marketing communication.

are you the second entrant? in which case you have to make sure that you do all the good things the prime mover did, not do any of the mistakes the prime mover did, and above all, offer an impeccable value proposition to make sure customers came to you and didnt stay back with the prime mover.

other questions that you will need to address are, will this opportunity give you a product leadership position or a category leadership position? eg, coke is a product leader, P&G's Pampers is a category leader because it created a market called pampers in the diaper market.

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