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What’s Hot in 2009: Questions

hto_2009 This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re discussing opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at some important questions to ask.

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marylynnEarlier this week, we discussed continued outsourcing as a threat to our careers. We also talked about the opportunity to be a free agent – to start your own micro-business to which large businesses can outsource. So a threat to one person may be an opportunity for another.

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That’s why it is so important to look at the opportunities and threats holistically. We wrote an article recently with five questions which help you do just that.

Is there a cheaper substitute?

This is one of the questions we suggested you consider in light of today’s economy. We discussed in a previous show this week that consumers are repairing instead of replacing. And when they do replace, they’re often looking for used items instead of buying new ones.

Substitute: Store brands for name brands

In other words, they’re substituting down and it goes beyond lower priced alternatives to a product or service. In other words, it doesn’t just mean they’re buying store brands instead of name brands.

Substitute: Do-it-myself for do-it-for-me

As an example of that, we’re coming out of an era where more and more consumers were willing to pay for more and more services. They wanted someone to do-it-for-me. Now they’re substituting with do-it-myself more often.

Prove the lifetime value
It’s not just about price, although that is a more important consideration. Consumers are looking at lifetime costs, not just upfront costs. They’re willing to pay for value, but you need to be able to prove it to them.

Your business, your career
If you’re in business already or considering starting a business, think about what your product or service could be a substitute for. That’s where you’ll find opportunity. Also consider what products or services might be a substitute for what you offer. Those are your threats.

What about your job? If your company offers a cheaper substitute, there should be opportunity right now. If not, can you help them find ways to reduce costs? Or prove to customers that what you offer will pay them back in the long run?

Personal considerations

So far in this series we’ve only looked at the external environment, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. You also have to think internally.

The best opportunity for you will match a market need to your personal considerations. So as you consider a career or a business, it’s important to consider your own wants and needs.

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georgeI wish I had heard that advice a long time ago. I tended to be very opportunistic. I got into businesses that looked promising without thinking enough about how I really wanted to spend my time. I enjoyed being a business owner, but I’m having even more fun these days!

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Find your passion
We hear it all the time, “Do what you love.” That’s the ideal. However, what if you can’t get paid to do what you love? What if there are no job opportunities? Then do something that lets you do what you love when you leave work.

Consider your preferences

Also think about your preferences when it comes to the environment in which you’ll work. Some people prefer to work at a desk; others can’t stand it. Some people prefer to work in a group; others like to work alone.

The best opportunity in the world isn’t a good opportunity for you if you don’t enjoy working at it.

Contemplate your proficiencies
What are you really good at? What do other people compliment you on? What do you find really easy to do? Chances are that is a skill you can exploit.

Now take another look
With your passion, preferences, and proficiencies – we’ll call these “the three P’s – in mind, consider your career and/or business opportunities again.

What can you help people do? What can you teach them to do? How can you save them money? What skills do you have that are transferable from one business industry to another?

Match your 3 P’s to a market need to find your bigg opportunity.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success when you
subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we look at some fun trends for 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00304-010809.mp3

Related posts

What’s Hot in 2009: Careers

What’s Hot in 2009: Businesses

What’s Hot in 2009: Threats

(Image in today's post by MISHA)

What's Hot in 2009: Questions

hto_2009 This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re discussing opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at some important questions to ask.

___

___

___

marylynnEarlier this week, we discussed continued outsourcing as a threat to our careers. We also talked about the opportunity to be a free agent – to start your own micro-business to which large businesses can outsource. So a threat to one person may be an opportunity for another.

___

That’s why it is so important to look at the opportunities and threats holistically. We wrote an article recently with five questions which help you do just that.

Is there a cheaper substitute?

This is one of the questions we suggested you consider in light of today’s economy. We discussed in a previous show this week that consumers are repairing instead of replacing. And when they do replace, they’re often looking for used items instead of buying new ones.

Substitute: Store brands for name brands

In other words, they’re substituting down and it goes beyond lower priced alternatives to a product or service. In other words, it doesn’t just mean they’re buying store brands instead of name brands.

Substitute: Do-it-myself for do-it-for-me

As an example of that, we’re coming out of an era where more and more consumers were willing to pay for more and more services. They wanted someone to do-it-for-me. Now they’re substituting with do-it-myself more often.

Prove the lifetime value
It’s not just about price, although that is a more important consideration. Consumers are looking at lifetime costs, not just upfront costs. They’re willing to pay for value, but you need to be able to prove it to them.

Your business, your career
If you’re in business already or considering starting a business, think about what your product or service could be a substitute for. That’s where you’ll find opportunity. Also consider what products or services might be a substitute for what you offer. Those are your threats.

What about your job? If your company offers a cheaper substitute, there should be opportunity right now. If not, can you help them find ways to reduce costs? Or prove to customers that what you offer will pay them back in the long run?

Personal considerations

So far in this series we’ve only looked at the external environment, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. You also have to think internally.

The best opportunity for you will match a market need to your personal considerations. So as you consider a career or a business, it’s important to consider your own wants and needs.

___

georgeI wish I had heard that advice a long time ago. I tended to be very opportunistic. I got into businesses that looked promising without thinking enough about how I really wanted to spend my time. I enjoyed being a business owner, but I’m having even more fun these days!

___

Find your passion
We hear it all the time, “Do what you love.” That’s the ideal. However, what if you can’t get paid to do what you love? What if there are no job opportunities? Then do something that lets you do what you love when you leave work.

Consider your preferences

Also think about your preferences when it comes to the environment in which you’ll work. Some people prefer to work at a desk; others can’t stand it. Some people prefer to work in a group; others like to work alone.

The best opportunity in the world isn’t a good opportunity for you if you don’t enjoy working at it.

Contemplate your proficiencies
What are you really good at? What do other people compliment you on? What do you find really easy to do? Chances are that is a skill you can exploit.

Now take another look
With your passion, preferences, and proficiencies – we’ll call these “the three P’s – in mind, consider your career and/or business opportunities again.

What can you help people do? What can you teach them to do? How can you save them money? What skills do you have that are transferable from one business industry to another?

Match your 3 P’s to a market need to find your bigg opportunity.

___

Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success when you
subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE

___

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we look at some fun trends for 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00304-010809.mp3

Related posts

What’s Hot in 2009: Careers

What’s Hot in 2009: Businesses

What’s Hot in 2009: Threats

(Image in today's post by MISHA)

Ben Franklin Got It Wrong

Change. A word that sparks fear in many people.

We work to get to that comfortable spot, and we want to stay there.

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
Ben Franklin

We think he got it wrong, not in the message, but in the semantics. We think he should have explicitly included change as something that is certain, rather than making it implicit in his quote.  


Will you lead or follow?

Even when it’s change that we’re creating ourselves, it can be scary. But it’s especially frightening when it’s a surprise.

For example, picture Jane telling her boss that she’s accepted a new position. She’s going to experience change. But isn’t that more comfortable than Jane’s boss telling her that her job is being eliminated?

It’s better to be a leader of change than a follower.

Who’s in control?
However, you can’t always control change. What you can control all the time is how you choose to respond to it.

You can also try to anticipate it. For example, as technology continues to develop, change is occurring more and more rapidly. Isn’t it safe to assume that this will continue?

So you have a choice to make. You either develop the skills to anticipate change so you get ahead of it or you just respond to it, after the pain becomes too great to do anything else.

Bigg action item – Separate the change into fads and trends
There are fads and there are trends. Fads come and go, so don’t worry about them. Trends are long-term. Get on board with them.

Divide a sheet into two columns – one called “Fads” and the other called “Trends”.  In your chosen career, think about the things affecting your industry. Now start putting those changes into the appropriate column.

What will affect your future income? Something will – for good or for bad!

Is it a short-term phenomenon? Or is it likely to continue? You can position yourself properly by seeing the change coming.

What opportunities will be created? What skills will be important? Do you have them? Can you get them?

Develop a plan for what you need to do to position yourself to take advantage of the trends.

Where do I get this information?

We’ll look at two examples. Search for the name of your industry followed by the word “association”. For example, “beauty salon association” yielded a half-dozen or so associations in Google.

You can also subscribe to magazines for your industry, or just about any industry you’re interested in following. They’re often free, supported by the advertisers. Amazon has an excellent resource that lists magazines by industry. It’s an extensive list!

So there are a number of ways to get the information you need so you can embrace change rather than begrudge it.

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

6 Factors to Help You Succeed When Opportunity Knocks

The Single Most Destructive Thought You Can Have  

(Image by bob923)

Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)    

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)   

Coping With Life Change    

Your Potential Power    

Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)    

10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business    

Stretch Yourself Anew    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

How Do You Define Success      

Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)    

Climbing The Stairway To Success    

Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Spotting Consumer Trends

By Bigg Success Staff
07-16-08

Life Changes

trend

It’s not easy to identify trends. We’re not talking about the latest article of clothing worn by a model going up and down the catwalk. That may be interesting, but is probably less important than spotting trends that affect your future and the future of your business or industry.

If it’s difficult to spot trends, it’s even harder to apply that trend to something meaningful. Positioning yourself to ride the wave. There’s a great article at trendwatching.com on the basics of spotting trends. They offer 5 tips to spot trends:

Tip 1: Know why you’re tracking trends.

Tip 2: Have a point of view.

Tip 3: Weave your web of resources.

Tip 4: Fine-tune your trend framework.

Tip 5: Embed and apply.

You’ll get a detailed explanation of each tip along with tons of examples. It’s definitely worth your time. Check it out at trendwatching.com!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

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(Image by headexplodie, CC 2.0)

Reach Your Goal Faster With These 4 Tips

By Bigg Success Staff
05-21-08

Peak Performance

 checkered_flag

Horsepower equals speed to race car drivers. Generally speaking, the higher the horsepower of a car, the faster it will go.

When you’re trying to get the checkered flag in your profession, it pays to rev up your horsepower. Here are four tips to do just that:

Focus on core skills.
You need to improve and refine the core skills required for your craft. Of course, you’ll work on these on the job. But it’s also important to work on them away from the pressures of the job. Keep learning about your trade.

Here are a few, of the many, ways you can do this:

  • Subscribe to trade journals
  • Take industry-specific classes
  • Attend conferences and conventions
  • Subscribe to industry blogs
  • Network

Work on soft skills.
These skills are just as important as the key skills of your profession. You have to be able to communicate effectively to rise to the top faster. So work on building your communications skills and people skills – both at work and away from the office.

You may take a class, join a club (e.g. Toastmasters), write a blog, or any number of other things. These skills will be ever more important as you rise to positions of great responsibility.

Push your limits.
It’s important that you get to the edge of your comfort zone every day. Then go just a little bit further. It’s at this point – where what you know intersects with what you don’t know – that you grow.

So if you’re not reaching that point, you’re not revving up your horsepower. You’re just racing along with the same old engine. You have to push yourself until you’re uncomfortable to gain an edge.

Learn and adjust.
When you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will make mistakes. If you want to get to your goal as fast as possible, it’s important that you learn from these mistakes and then make the necessary adjustments so you don’t repeat them.

When you master this, you’ll realize that the faster you make mistakes, the faster you learn. Which means you’ll reach your destination faster.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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Bigg Fun 26

(Image by ilco)

10 Signs That You Are Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business

By Bigg Success Staff
01-03-07

Life Changes

street sign arrows jpg

Leaving your job to start your own business ranks right up there with life’s major decisions. It’s risky. You’re choosing personal freedom over the security a job provides. Or are you?

The advantage to planning your exit may be that YOU get to choose the timing. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses after a layoff. Ideally, you get to make the decision on your own terms, at your own time.

However, there’s never an ideal time to start your own business. Much like getting married or having kids, if you wait for exactly the right time, you’ll never do it!

You can always get another job, but you only get one life. So here are the ten signs that you’re ready to quit your job and start your own business.

#10 – There are no significant benefits to waiting … even a little bit.
If you’re only a couple of years from retirement, you may be better off waiting so you’ll have a steady income stream to launch your new venture. You won’t feel the same pressure that you will feel when you leave without that cushion.

Another reason to stay, at least for awhile, is that you’re almost vested in your retirement plan. Why not wait until you can get the full benefit of all of your company’s contributions? Use the time to get prepared for your new business.

Finally, when you go out on your own, health insurance will be solely your problem. How’s your health? Can you get insurance through your spouse? Unfortunately, this is a significant consideration in starting your own business.

#9 – You are prepared for the demands of owning your own business.
There’s a myth that owning and managing your own business is easy. It’s definitely not. You need to be ready – mentally, emotionally, and physically for the rigors that come with entrepreneurship.

You have to be mentally tough because you will be tested every day. You will find that you’re often at the very edge of your comfort zone. That’s great – it means you’re learning and growing. But it isn’t easy, and some people find it overwhelming.

You need to be ready for the emotional roller-coaster that comes from business ownership. You’ll have highs … you’ll have lows. You’ll find that there are few days in between. Owning your own business can make you downright manic depressive! You have to be emotionally prepared for the ups-and-downs.

Finally, do you have the physical capacity to own your own business? Starting a business often requires long days. Very, very long days. Intense work. If it’s to be, it’s up to me – that saying had to be written for entrepreneurs. Be sure you’re physically ready to lead by example.

#8 – You’re sick and tired of just thinking about it. It’s time to do it.
Practice makes perfect. But practice gets boring after awhile. You’re ready to play the game! When you reach the point where you’re getting frustrated about just thinking about it, you’re ready to go!

Put another way, when your fear of not trying has overcome your fear of failure, you know you’re ready to put yourself out there. Not trying disturbs you more than the fear of failure. You feel it in your gut – you just won’t be happy until you at least try it, so you can see if you can do it.

#7 – You have the education and experience to go out on your own.
You don’t need a college degree to start a business. However, you should have educated yourself about your industry. What are the success factors in this industry? Where are the opportunities? What are the threats? What are your competition’s strengths? Weaknesses? These are just a few things you should know before you make the leap.

What relevant experience do you have? Have you managed people? Have you made sales? Do you have the technical experience needed? What are your strengths and weaknesses? You don’t have to know it all – see Sign #5 – but you’re more likely to succeed if you have applicable experience. There are enough variables to deal with; your experience shouldn’t be one of them.

However, don’t think that you have to have experience in an industry to succeed. There are plenty of examples of outsiders who bring a new perspective, and therefore see fresh opportunities, to an industry. See Sign #3 below for some ideas on how to “buy” experience.

#6 – You have a supportive spouse, if applicable.
Most importantly, your spouse has to be mentally and emotionally prepared for what your new business will require from you. It will affect your relationship, one way or another. Your spouse needs to understand this. If not, you’ll find yourself with a bigger problem than anything you’ll deal with in your new business.

Ideally, your spouse has a career that supports your family while you build your business. If you can live off the income generated by your spouse, much of the pressure of starting up will be removed. You may even strike a deal with your spouse – you venture out now, so he or she can venture out later when you’ve succeeded.

#5 – You have a support network.
In addition to your spouse, do you have a support team? The business world is too complex to fully go it alone. You thought about your strengths and weaknesses in Sign #7 above. Do you have people in place who complement your strengths?

Do you have a strong network, particularly in your chosen industry? People you can call for help and ideas. People who have been where you want to go. Do you know the influencers in the industry?

As we’ll discuss more in Sign #3, you can “buy” this support by investing in a good franchise system or buying an established business. However, ideally you’ve developed your own base of support, no matter whether you start or buy.

#4 – You have six months (preferably twelve) of living expenses in reserve.
Do you have the financial capacity to support your business? Even if it requires little upfront investment, you don’t want to depend on your business to provide a steady income immediately. You need to have a reserve.

Of course, as mentioned in Sign #6, earlier, if your supportive spouse agrees to cover your living expenses while you get your business going, you can launch without an extensive reserve. However, you should still have some money set aside to cover you in case something happens with your spouse’s job.

#3 – You have a market-tested idea.
It’s one thing to have an idea in your head. It’s quite another to put it in writing. It’s better yet to have tested your idea with actual customers before you quit your job.

You may be able to start part-time. Try out your idea while you still have the luxury of a steady income from your current job. If all goes really well, your decision gets made for you – because your idea receives a great reception in the market and you quickly build an income that fully replaces your current income. Wouldn’t that make your decision easy?

There are other ways to “test” your idea:

  • Buy a franchise. The franchisor has a market-tested concept. Just add capital and you’re in business!
  • Buy an existing business. Find an owner of a successful business who wants to move on. Structure a deal and you’re in business – with established customers, employees, infrastructure, and cash flow!
  • Model a similar business. Find an owner of a business like yours who is operating successfully in a market similar to yours. Interview them. Find out what their success factors are and copy them.

#2 – You have a plan.
You don’t need an elaborate business plan. However, you should know how you’re going to take your idea to market. What’s your strategy for executing your plan? Where will you find customers? How much will you charge? How will you fulfill orders? How will you account for it all? How much profit will you make?

You need to know the answers to questions like these, and more, before you quit your job. This is part of the initiation to entrepreneurship. It’s not flashy or sexy work; in fact it’s hard. However, it’s essential to improving your odds.

#1 – You have a contingency plan.
Ask yourself, “What if …” There’s one thing we can know, beforehand, for certain. Things won’t go exactly as you plan. You need to think through the possibilities before you launch.

What if your income expectations aren’t met? What if you can’t make it go? What if it succeeds beyond your wildest expectations? Believe it or not, that can present a bigg problem – albeit, a good one! What if, what if, what if … consider alternative scenarios and plan for them.

Planning is great. Having a back-up is better. Depending on your circumstances, you may even want a back-up to your back-up plan. Spend some time, before you launch, considering what might happen and you’ll be prepared when it does!

One thing that differentiates successful entrepreneurs from failures is that those who succeed are adept at minimizing their risk. Quitting your job to start a business is a risky proposition. Follow these steps and you’ll not only minimize your risk – you’ll make your chances of success much greater!

Related Links:
The Single Biggest Barrier To Your Success

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(Image of traffic sign by Steve Webel, CC 2.0)

It’s Safest To Stick To What You Know

By Bigg Success Staff
12-20-07 

Home Office

ski_ramp_danger_sign

It’s Safest To Stick To What You Know

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that it’s less risky to start a business in a field in which you have experience. Stick to what you know, we’re told.

When we started Bigg Success, we were lucky. We didn’t know anything – so the doors were wide open! Seriously, though, while there are advantages to being an outsider, you’re more likely to navigate through all the storms of your own business if you stay in an industry you know.

Here are some of the advantages that experience brings:

Insight
Experience leads to insight which outsiders don’t have. You know the customers. You know the competition. You know where the deficiencies are in meeting the needs of the customers. You know what customers are willing to spend. You know the costs. And more!

Network
When you’ve spent time in an industry, you develop a network you can call on for help. Potential customers. Suppliers. Possible employees. Financiers. You’ll short-circuit many of your problems with these connections.  

Rules of thumb
Every industry has formulas for success. With experience, you learn what they are. How much you can expect to keep from each dollar of sales? Benchmarks against which you can judge your performance.  Key factors that drive your business. Experience teaches you what you’re trying to achieve – then you can focus on actually doing it.

If an industry is experiencing rapid change, it may be a good candidate for new entrants. The more destructive the change the better for you, as an outsider. Insiders may be at a disadvantage for at least two reasons.

Entrenched mindset
Sometimes the executives at established companies just can’t accept that their world has changed. They keep pursuing the same failing strategies. They hope that the new way of doing things will just go away. When you see an industry with executives who aren’t responding to new threats, you may have spotted your bigg opportunity!

Sunk costs
Simply put, the existing players may think they have too much invested in the old way of doing things. So they’re unwilling to deploy money to do things the new way. When this happens, entrepreneurs often step in with the new business model. There’s often bigg upside when you spot a situation like this!

Like most new technology, the internet is disrupting entire industries. For example, small players may have cost advantages over the big ones for the customized products and services that customers want more and more.

There are more opportunities than ever today to start your own business. Sometimes, striking out in a new field is advantageous. However, most people who succeed bigg do it in a field with which they’re familiar. It’s the safer path to success, but only you can decide if it’s the right one for you.

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik