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The Rise of the Entrepreneur: Or How the Opportunist became King
- Christa Heibel
- 5 July 2016
I was recently in Italy for a vacation. Rome is the mecca of tourists and that means hawkers. In the crowded streets of Rome one day, I waited in line for a bus tour around the city. It was a double-decker, open top and this was a warm day in full sun. I had come prepared with my sunscreen and bottle of water that I had tucked in my tote bag. As I waited in line, I saw several men selling ice waters. They were conspicuously walking up and down the bus line, trying to get buyers before they boarded the bus.
A little further down the line, another group of men appeared selling straw hats.
“Hot sun. You get shade.”
There was nothing unusual about this. I see the same thing at the Minnesota State Fair – eager sellers offering water for that long bus ride home. They catch the fair-goers on the outside of the gate.
A few days later we were in Florence. A different group of men offered ice water and hats, a few fans. Then one day it rained. As I stood under a shallow eve in an attempt to stay dry, I saw them again, only this time they were offering umbrellas and ponchos.
And that’s when it struck me: They are great opportunists.
I imagined their house filled with hot and wet gear, easily adjustable to the whims of the weather and the tourists. Then I thought: More businesses should do this.
If businesses adjusted their product or services to meet the every-changing needs of their customers, they just might get ahead, instead constantly trying to keep up.
Technology is growing faster than most businesses can keep up. I’m not going to lie, I still have the same laptop I had three years ago, and my cell phone, only two years old, is already outdated. Our lives have become mobile and we live in a 24/7 world. I know I need a new laptop and updated phone to keep up with the newest apps that are designed to make my life easier, but I – like most of my clients – have decided that it’s good enough.
Unfortunately, businesses can’t afford to think in terms of ‘good enough’ if they want to stay competitive. As a consultant, I get paid to evaluate process, people and systems. No matter how large or small the organization, I always find the same issues – not keeping up with technology, and therefore not meeting customer demands.
Whether it’s in our personal lives, or our business, we need to do a quarterly evaluation of where we and where our customers are at. This goes beyond surveys.
Be an opportunist and ask yourself what’s changing around you that you haven’t risen to meet. Opportunity comes by every day. Many may see it, but few act on it.
Laureen Peltier helps companies uncover their human potential through innovative leadership approaches. As a keynote speaker, a healthcare consultant and meaningful workforce expert, Laureen has improved employee retention, developed leaders and designed mental healthcare programs that are patient-centric. She has been speaking on mental health for over 10 years and is passionate about being an instrument of change to both organizations and individuals. As a call center expert, she relies on over 20 years of experience to guide her clients through the ever-changing customer experience trends.
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