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Opportunity is Knocking - What's the Price?
Most opportunities that come before us carry a cost. Many times the benefits of the offer outweigh the investment. The cost may be an associated financial fee or an expenditure of valuable time and energy. If your business is to be profitable and your role in it balanced, you need to think about the price you'll pay for each opportunity that comes your way.
Recently I met with a colleague for coffee. His company finds office space for small businesses. That morning he told me about a client he has been working with for 2 1/2 years. Originally he started working with them for a major move but after looking at many properties, they changed their minds. Recently they started to look again. He spent about a third of our meeting talking about this very frustrating company. Usually a very mild-mannered person, he was quite agitated during our conversation.
Although he has built good relationships within this organization, as a whole working with this company is problematical. They were disloyal, unreasonable and outright difficult. My colleague was investing a lot of time and energy on something that will probably never materialize. Even if he does make the sale, what is the cost of this opportunity? The amount of time and energy expended would most likely not be made up. How could he have otherwise utilized his time? How many other prospects could he have uncovered and closed if he spent his time on business development activities?
Most of us don't want to pass up potential business. However, there are some customers or clients who are just not worth the trouble.
There are many other types of opportunities that may have a steep admission price. For example, here are other forms of opportunities:
Though I am not aware of any easy formula for determining how worthwhile any of the above relationships or activities will be, there are questions to ask yourself. By answering these questions, you can determine if there is a return on investment for your time and money.
Ways to evaluate the cost of opportunity:
Often business owners need to try new things to test the effectiveness on their business. There is risk for many things you do in your company. You may be able to recoup your money on a purchase but you can never get back your time or effort that went into the initiative. The challenge is not just in identifying the opportunities that are worthwhile but in cutting your losses if you find the cost outweighs the benefit. If you work smart, there will always be more opportunities knocking on your door.
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