It is not an easy task to give strategies that will help you to identify opportunities. The reason is that spotting an opportunity is an ever changing and dynamic process, there is no recipe. I will try a give a few guidelines:
1. “Never say die” attitude
An attitude of stubbornness that won’t let you surrender to obstacles and challenges.
Sandra Africa wanted to secure a subcontract to finished part of the Meiringspoort road that was destroyed in the floods. The people laughed at her and said that she could get a job to help regulate the traffic flow or maybe she can apply for an administrative position with one of the main contractors, as these were more appropriate vocations for a woman.
She refused to let them influence her goal and she physically went to the construction site everyday, for two weeks, in order to observe, to ask questions and to keep a finger on the pulse of events. She was the only woman on site.
Two weeks after construction started a subcontracting company unexpectedly decided to withdraw from the project. It was then that Sandra went to the main contractor and asked them to give her a chance. After a two-week probation period the subcontract was awarded to her. She successfully completed this contract, was awarded a second contract to build the rest rooms and information centre along the road and later she also secured the contract of maintaining and cleaning the rest rooms.
2. “Stepping stone” goals
Stepping stone goals come into play when you know what the end goal is (for Sandra, to secure a subcontract) but you have no idea of how to get there. You then choose intermediate (stepping stone) goals that look like it will take you in the direction of the big goal. Once you have achieved these stepping stone goals you might get insight into a next stepping stone that will take you even closer, and eventually will get insight into how to achieve the big goal.
For Sandra, stepping stone goals were to be on site and to keep her finger on the pulse of events. The opportunity opened up for a trail period and eventually she achieved her original goal and even much more.
3. It might not be what you thought it would be
One must show perseverance when looking for opportunities BUT you also need to be flexible. When you are venturing into the unknown to identify new opportunities you cannot only to be fixed on you goal but you also need to recognise other worthwhile opportunities if they come along and make the needed changes. What you set out to find might not be what you eventually pursue.