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30 November 2021
How your startup can find opportunity where you least expect it
Unsplash © Anthony da Cruz

How your startup can find opportunity where you least expect it

Recently, I answered a question about sales contracts, asked by an entrepreneur who apologised in advance for the boring nature of her question. She also made it clear that she was not looking for legal advice or definitions of terms, but rather how to use elements of the contract itself to optimise opportunity and maximise her profit.

Why entrepreneurs skip the boring stuff

One simple reason is that the tasks themselves are usually not in our area of expertise, and thus we feel like we’re not adding any value. I mean, we can read the same sentence of a contract a dozen times and not really understand what it means. And since it’s painful to do that, it’s easy to half-ass it. How bad could the blowback be if we miss something? Certainly no more painful than reading the same sentence a 13th time.

But that’s not how entrepreneurs are supposed to do things!

We’re all familiar with gamification — the theory that making a game out of boring, repetitive tasks creates a sense of motivation and makes it more likely that those tasks will get done.

Here are few opportunity rocks I’ve turned over lately

I’m not gonna tell you what you’re looking for, because it’s different for each startup and I don’t want you wasting your time chasing something that worked for me but might never work for you. All I’m saying is that if you’re looking for the areas most ripe to inject a competitive edge into your business, these dead-boring, often-rushed areas are the places I find those edges most often.

Testing and preparation

I think you’d be shocked at how many startups do only the mandatory minimum testing and preparation on their products or processes. Whether you’re building software or widgets or even performing services for businesses or consumers, the difference between professional and unprofessional — or getting the business and not getting the business — almost always comes down to testing and preparation.

Accounting (Ugh)

Accounting is my least favourite thing about business and I’m pretty bad at it. But I’ve learned that accounting isn’t just about making sure the right numbers go on the right lines in the right forms. Getting good at accounting means maximising your startup’s revenue collection by being nimble and quick to get paid.

Rules and regulations

While one of the entrepreneur’s mantras is that rules were meant to be broken, don’t sleep on the fact that rules can be used to lock competition out. If you can get certified or otherwise prove you’re able to operate in environments, locations, and even sell to customers that other’s can’t, that’s a built-in competitive edge.

This article was originally published on Medium by Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio is a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. He is the founder of startup advice project TeachingStartup.com and is the Chief Product Officer of mobile vehicle care and maintenance startup Get Spiffy. You can read all his posts at joeprocopio.com