When Opportunity Knocks…

By Esther Vargas

Across the board, the entrepreneurs I work with have a wide range of impressive skills and talents. This frequently opens doors to numerous opportunities and gives them the ability to cater to diverse customers and projects.  As such, it’s easy to be enticed by every opportunity that comes their way, to avoid missing out on potential growth.  However, I often like to remind my clients that “just because you can…doesn’t mean you should”.  In other words, just because you possess the skills to do something doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time and resources.

An often overlooked factor when determining whether to take on a new client/customer, project, partner, etc. is the concept of “opportunity costs”. In the context of your startup, this means that every choice you make comes at the expense of something else, sometimes other potential opportunities. And so, by saying Yes to one idea, you may inadvertently be saying No to another.

Therefore, it’s essential to carefully evaluate whether the opportunity at hand currently makes sense for you.  To assist with this assessment, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does it align strategically with your company’s long-term vision, goals, and values?
  2. Does it align with your company’s expertise and core competencies?
  3. Does it align with your passion?
  4. Does it provide an opportunity for growth?
  5. Will it help you build a sustainable business?
  6. Will it yield a desirable ROI?
  7. What is the opportunity cost of allocating resources to this particular opportunity?
  8. Is the timing right for you?

When considering a new opportunity, it’s important to remain open to new possibilities, but evaluate them critically and consider the tradeoffs associated with each choice. Saying No to the wrong opportunities that distract you from your vision leaves you open to having the energy, time, and resources for the right ones.

So, next time opportunity knocks on your door, don’t jump in blindly. Take a few moments to reflect and ask yourself and your team the above questions. Recognize that there is a delicate balance between being reactive and staying focused on your plan. Weigh the pros and cons, considering not only the immediate benefits but also the potential long-term implications. Above all, stay true to your vision and strategy in order to maximize your chances of success.

The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training, and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has provided vital business development resources resulting in over 300 local startup companies reaching their potential faster and graduating into the community where they continue to grow and positively impact the local economy.

With eight facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Kissimmee, Orlando, and Winter Springs. For the 2017/2018 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped to sustain more than 6,725 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of over $725 million on regional GDP and over $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned more than $12.00 in state and local taxes for every $1.00 invested in the program. In addition, for every $1.00 of public investment, the firms also produced $118 of additional regional GDP and $226 of regional sales. For more information, visit  www.incubator.ucf.edu.