Why Entrepreneurs must be Opportunists and be in Control over their Future

Entrepreneurs must be Opportunists

The term opportunist is often used to refer to someone who is supposed to change their positions and stand depending on the circumstances. Indeed, when someone says that somebody else is an opportunist, it is usually in the negative sense wherein the other person is being categorized as an individual who cannot be trusted.

However, as far as entrepreneurs are concerned, they need to seize opportunities and change with the times as well as capitalize on the business opportunities as they arise and leverage on changing market trends and consumer behavior. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with an entrepreneur being an opportunist since he or she is expected to make money for their investors as well as themselves.

Further, it is also the case that entrepreneurs have to be “chameleon” like meaning that they must be able to change with changing market trends and ensure that their ventures remain competitive.

Getting There Early and Sensing the Future

In addition, entrepreneurs must be able to “get there early” and “sense the future” meaning that they must be always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow their businesses and make hay while the sun shines. Getting there early means that entrepreneurs have to keep themselves abreast of changes in the external marketplace and orient their business strategies accordingly.

Moreover, competing with others means that competitive advantage is gained only when entrepreneurs are able to sense market trends and intuit the changes better than their peers and rivals.

Therefore, entrepreneurs must indeed capitalize on the emerging opportunities and hence, they must be nimble and agile not to leave out fleet footed as they strive to maintain their competitiveness and enhance their business worth. For all these reasons, we feel that entrepreneurs must be opportunists who can compete by getting there early.

Black Swans and Entrepreneurs

Moreover, entrepreneurs must be able to be in charge of their future meaning that “Black Swans” and other high impact and low probability events must not shake them or their businesses. The term Black Swans has been coined by the famous expert on future sensing and probabilistic planning, Nicholas Naseem Taleb to refer to sudden dislocations and unanticipated events that have the potential to take everyone by surprise and cause maximum damage.

For instance, when market crashes or market moving geopolitical and sociopolitical events happen out of the blue, entrepreneurs must not be taken by surprise and instead, be in a position to “ride out the storm” or even better, able to sense that the “ground is shaking under their feet” and prepare and strategize accordingly. In addition, they must also be able to “ride the waves of the future” by peering into the horizon and sensing when the waves would hit the shore.

The Age of Disruption Calls for Innovative and Inventive Approaches

We live in an age of disruption when the average age of companies in terms of their longevity has fallen from around 50 years after the Second World War to 18 years at the moment.

Moreover, exponential technological change means that companies such as Blackberry and Nokia which were the market leaders just a few years ago are nowhere in the reckoning now. Apart from this, with globalization and the formation of a “global village” where telecommunications means the “death of distance and time” where everyone from everywhere competes with anyone from anywhere means that entrepreneurs have to develop the knack of thinking global and acting local so that global changes do not sweep them away and local disruptions do not cause dislocations and shuttering of their ventures.

As can be seen from the points made so far, entrepreneurs should indeed be Glocal in their approach as well as be able to seize opportunities and leverage on the rapidly changing market trends.

The iPhone or the Jesus Phone as an Example of Game Changing Vision

Further, the combination of being opportunistic and being control of their future means that entrepreneurs should also be visionary and farsighted. For instance, nobody had anticipated that the Mobile Phone could become a Virtual Personal Assistant as well as a Work desk in the way the late legendary Steve Jobs envisioned and brought about the Smartphone revolution by inventing the iPhone which is called the “Jesus Phone” for its market shattering features that simply transformed and revolutionized the mobile computing market.

In the same manner, nobody could have thought that the Personal Computer could replace many of the routine tasks in offices by automating them and putting the power of computing on every desktop in the way in which Bill Gates of Microsoft did.

The lessons from the success stories of these entrepreneurs are that they were not only able to create opportunities as well as be opportunistic, they were also in control over their future wherein they were able to sense the future as well as leverage on the intersecting processes of computing, technological change, and changing workplace processes.

Conclusion

Finally, entrepreneurs must be able to adapt and adopt themselves to the periodic booms and busts in the markets. For instance, there are entrepreneurs such as Google’s Larry Paige and Eric Schmidt who as soon as the market changed with the 2008 Recession were able to change their business strategies so that Google diversifies as well as consolidates its market position by innovation and invention and thus, escape being victims of the market changes.

To conclude the article, it is our view that being an opportunist is nothing wrong as far as entrepreneurs are concerned in addition to them being able to control the future.


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Entrepreneurship