Are you Creating Opportunity or Waiting For It To Come to You?

creating opportunityOpportunity is all around us but yet at the same time sometimes we never see it. In business we look for new ways to market our business, reach our target market, build on online community and through this all we overlook the opportunity that is all around us. We are creating opportunities by attending networking events, conferences, twitter chats, etc. for potential clients, meeting new people to refer business to or to grow our community. But, what about opportunity in every blog that we read, every comment that we write, every conversation we take part in online, every event in our city? Do we always look for opportunity there? Opportunity does not always mean increasing the bank account with every new person we meet, help and engage as there is opportunity that we can create instead of waiting for it to come and fall on our laps.

Listening as Opportunity

Listening online is becoming more and more essential as we interact and engage online. We know that there is a conversation taking place and if we are not paying attention to it we are missing out on opportunities. In a recent post, Teresa Basich, Community Manager at Radian6, discusses their proactive industry outreach. She outlines their approach which includes:

This proactive outreach initiative is tied into our engagement processes. Members of the Community Team have individual profiles set up in the Radian6 dashboard around our niche areas of interest and expertise, to hone in on meaty conversations that we want to dig into. We also monitor a general “social media” feed that picks up a variety of posts that don’t mention Radian6 but are valuable to read through and comment on. We have individual and team goals set around this proactive outreach and have incorporated search and response into our online engagement activities.

Note that these processes truly are a part of our daily work routine. Engagement isn’t optional here at Radian6; it’s part of the company’s mission, and we’re working regularly on expanding engagement past the bounds of traditional thinking, not just for our external community but for our own purposes, as well.

Part of their daily work routine. Many of us are nodding our heads to this as this is how we, for our companies, and also our clients have worked social media into the marketing plan. There are others that see this as a bit overwhelming. Time and budget restraints have not allowed companies to grow and mature in social media which is preventing them from creating opportunity and rather leave them waiting for it to come to them. Time restraints are real and seem to be plaguing the small business owner in social media. Running a business, creating a marketing strategy that especially for the brick and mortar shops involves traditional advertising for the local community while incorporating the online social component is stretching the day thin. Let’s not forget the friends and family. However, when faced with creating opportunity vs waiting for it to come to you is an eye opener and a game changer.

Creating Opportunity from Opportunity

How do you create opportunity from opportunity? This happens when opportunity falls upon your lap and you are able to further it with new opportunity. A great example of this is the companies in the NY/NJ metro area that have been given the opportunity with Superbowl XLVII being played at the Meadowlands. Opportunity has been created for them but yet there is an incredible amount of opportunity that they can create over the next few years. The Meadowlands is located in East Rutherford, NJ. There are quite a few small towns in the area with easy access to NYC. The hotels, restaurants, retail shops from NYC and also in NJ will be vying for the mass amount of people who are flocking to the area for a piece of the big game. They have to have a place to stay, they do have to eat and shopping is an added bonus. Will the smaller hotels be able to compete with the larger ones in NYC who will gladly provide car service from Newark International Airport to their hotel and partner with some of the restaurants to be able to provide that New York City experience? Opportunity has been created but both the businesses in the small towns surrounding the Meadowlands as well as NYC need to be creating opportunity now to be able to really monetize upon the opportunity that has been created for them.

How to Create Opportunity

Creating opportunity is in many ways easy but so is waiting for it to come to you. Some businesses create a contest, an interactive campaign, a profile that encourages user input and these are all very viable means of creating opportunity. You are not only creating opportunity of exposure to new potential customers, you are also creating a platform of opportunity when you engage them. Waiting for it to come to you is in some ways hurting your online presence as you are there for business and not to build a community. Responding to and engaging customers is of the utmost importance but if there is not a mention, the opportunity to build your network and relationships that matter is missed. One of if not the best way to create opportunity is to listen. I cannot stress this enough. Using the example above of the businesses in the NJ/NY metro area, they are currently catering to a local and also tourist clientele. Are these tourist folks Superbowl attendees? Maybe or maybe not. Listening to the businesses of Arlington, Texas this season will give some insight as to the final planning stages, the businesses in Indianapolis whose opportunity comes in 2012 (connect with and reach out to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, a new resident to the area) then the businesses of New Orleans in 2013 (connect and reach out to Tom Martin at Converse Digital). Listen to what they are doing and create your own opportunity.

Opportunity is always around us when we are able to see it. Think about your business and how you can create opportunity from opportunity. Is there a local event that you can cross promote, a conference coming to town whereby you can partner with another business to create that exceptional customer experience? Customers/consumers remember that and talk about it. Partnering for the betterment of the customer which leads to word of mouth is how we market today. If you were a business in the local NY/NJ area what would you do to market your business to Superbowl attendees (remember this is not just the fans of the teams playing as there are retired players, owners, celebrities and those that just have to be there to be there)?. Take these ideas and put them into your business and create opportunity. What is going on in your city that you can create opportunity? What is going on online that you can create opportunity? Find that opportunity and listen. Build your network to have some extra ears for listening as social media is not a one man game.

Will I be listening to Arlington, Indy and NOLA, closely? Most certainly but in three ways – as a marketer, a fan of the game and as their target (which is also in 2 ways – as a fan of my team and also watching the entire experience as just being there to be there). And, there is that other part … will I be pulling for the JETS to be in the Superbowl at the Meadowlands, of course. Will I be there for the small businesses to create a strategic marketing plan with some strong and focused insight into their target market, you bet! Big businesses, call my friends at New Marketing Labs (despite being in enemy territory as it relates to football). See how I am creating opportunity from opportunity?

Are you creating opportunity or waiting for it to find you?

photo credit: Jeff Rinehart

  • Thanks for your article. Until I read this I thought I was doing lots to create opportunity, but this has brought it to the forefront of my mind that I could clearly be doing more. I am now conciously thinking about how to create more and see more opportunities.

  • Al

    I think of ways of creating opportunity constantly as it is everywhere but then again it is not (in our eyes). Seeing it in other places makes us think of where we are missing it, When we look at someone else and transfer that to ourselves we are able to create opportunity. I know that I read a lot and write so much down that does transfer to what I do and what clients do.

    Thank you for reading and also taking the time to comment.

  • Alene Albright

    I have created my own opportunity. http://www.handsacrossthegulf.com was created from an idea and a friendship with a musician. The opportunity that presented itself was the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While I am not making money with my “company” at this time, it is a labor of love and one that I believe will ultimately lead me to a new career!

  • Teresa Basich

    Hi Suzanne,

    I think you make a very proactive, “go get 'em” statement in this post that not enough people have heard (yet *need* to hear). Success is heavily based in one's ability to hone his/her focus and shift his/her perspective to identify opportunities, not wait for them to appear. Looking beyond the immediate to possible scenarios that could help your business down the line, then backtracking to identify the steps needed to get there, is key to honing that focus, I think.

    Good thoughts here, and thank you so much for including some bits from post over on the Radian6 blog. Much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Teresa

    —-

    Teresa Basich
    Community Manager, Radian6

  • Suzanne

    So true. One of the greatest uses of Social Media is the opp to listen and then engage relevant consumers/businesses in a conversation. A conversation designed to grow business.

    Thanks for reminding all of us of the need to listen not just today but begin listening for tomorrow. Think too many companies miss that point entirely.

    @TomMartin

  • Alene

    You are doing something incredible for the folks in the Gulf. Making money is important but so many times even moreso is evoking change and lending a hand to those that need it.

    Keep up the good work and all that you do for the people of the Gulf – every little bit helps and does make a difference.

  • Teresa

    Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. I do have to agree with you that identifying and then backtracking to identify the steps is key for the focus. So very well said. I had read your post and it actually got this post published as I was just not getting the thoughts down to try and make that impact.

    So many businesses are pulled in so many directions as far as advice that they are either jumping in and not seeing the full picture or are holding out which I am not sure which is going to ultimately confuse them more. The goal is the endpoint and the strategies and tactics what gets the goals accomplished. Somewhere in there and the points of measurement the focus seems to unravel.

    I can never say enough wonderful things about the people over at Radian6. The commitment to the online community as a whole and also to the Radian6 community is an example for us all. Thank you and the entire team at Radian6 for continuously helping us all with the blog posts and the interaction on the SM platforms.

  • Tom

    I was mulling this around since the Meadowlands was awarded the Superbowl. I think of the businesses in the area and the proximity to NYC and how to keep the spectators in NJ to support the businesses there. Nothing against NYC of course but the stadium being so close does really support the NY businesses to get their piece of the pie.

    Of course NY JETS and NO Saints will be in the SB 2013 and 2014! Definitely going to keep an eye on Converse Digital and the client work to see how you are able to take opportunity of the SB and turn that into further opportunity – esp with Mardi Gras soon after.

    Thanks for coming on over and commenting. It means a lot to me.

  • I'm a huge fan of making social media (and marketing) “Part of their daily work routine.” One of the things I encourage is identifying several small marketing activities that you can do every day to consistently promote your business. Over time, they really add up. To me, that's one of the most accessible ways to create opportunity for most small businesses. You're right – opportunity is all around us.

  • Karilee

    Great advice here to people who are looking for ways to really be engaged in social media. A little bit at a time. Not everyday do we have 10 hours a day to dedicate but finding an hour or even a half hour to keep up on the smaller activities is far better than none at all. Also, it does add up.

    Thank you so much for adding this to the blog article. Really useful information.

  • Teresa Basich

    You're so right about the amount of information out there that can confuse a company! We do our best to help clear out some of that clutter, and it's so nice to hear that we're making an impact. Thank you for the kind words, Suzann! They mean the world to us.

    Cheers,
    Teresa

  • Really brilliant post, Suzanne. As for me, I am often inspired by all the creative genius around me at these events that I feel a bit like a pressure cooker – and then I tend to talk too much – mind you, it could just be nervous energy :-). Anyway, the point being that I sometimes forget the “serving/helping” bit.