So you’ve got an opportunity in your sights. Or maybe you don’t, but you’re looking for one. How do you make the most of it? How do you throw the first punch and make sure it lands?
It’s a tricky situation because gilt-edged opportunities don’t come around that often, so grabbing them with both hands is like trying to snatch a soapy rubber duck as it flies past at 50mph. Or something like that.
So, let’s look at opportunity framing and why it’s the first thing you should do before you take any action.
Opportunity framing is a process that helps leadership or development teams understand and plan the execution of a new idea or venture through to maturity.
It starts by gathering all appropriate stakeholders into one space and developing some common ground and an understanding of what the vision of the project is, where it currently sits, and how to achieve the associated goals.
But what makes up opportunity-framing workshops? Let’s take a closer look.
Focus on the detail
It’s easy to say, but focusing on the detail of the opportunity is one of the single most important aspects of opportunity framing. There’s always a crucial component of the opportunity that can’t be overlooked, so it’s critical that you take the time to get into the nitty-gritty of what the project is before commencing work.
It’s a tough pill to swallow as founders and leadership teams are often time-poor, but the time you spend focusing on every nook and cranny of the opportunity will save you from doubling back later on in the process, looking for what you might have missed.
Understand the why
To properly and appropriately reframe your opportunity, it’s imperative that you understand the why of what you’re doing. Are you chasing the opportunity because you feel you have to, or is there a genuine chance to improve and move into another space?
If you don’t fully understand why you’re doing something, how will you be able to measure success? Working out the why of the opportunity you’re trying to pin down will help you align what you’re doing with your mission, vision, and values.
What problem are you going to solve?
So you’ve worked out why you want to go after this shiny new opportunity. But the next issue you have is working out if there is actually a problem to solve. Working out the why will help inform the problem-solving exercise, but it’s still worth spending time identifying real-world problems that you can solve by chasing the new opportunity.
If you’re going to spend your time, effort, and resources trying to maximise the potential of this opportunity, you need to be sure that you’re actually solving a problem. If you’re solving a problem, you’re offering value, which means you’re remaining relevant. If you’re not solving a problem, then none of the above apply.
Talk to customers, old and new, as well as people that fell off your radar part way through the process to understand if the problem exists. It’s a process of gathering evidence that there is actually a problem to solve, which leads to the next stage of the process.
Are you solving the right problem?
If you have identified a problem worth solving, it’s worth stopping for a moment to consider if it’s the right problem to solve. There’s a chance that it might be a problem that is just a symptom of a larger issue deeper down.
It’s at this stage that you should do a deeper dive on the problem to find the root cause so you can:
a) Find the right solution
b) Find out if there’s a bigger problem lying beneath the surface
This all means that there could be another opportunity for you to go after, and also means you can work out what solutions you need to choose to solve the problem.
How are you going to get there?
If you’ve conducted a deeper dive, identified the right problem, and understood the why, you need to work backwards from your ideal scenario to work out how you’ll get there. This can include your solutions to the problem, tactics, strategies, and an all round roadmap for success.
You might not have the perfect solution right away, but spending some time working out how you’ll get to your ideal situation will help you uncover the ingredients you need to solve the problem you’ve already identified.
Finally, you can take the case you’ve built and present it to major stakeholders to get buy-in. This is a critical step, as with their support you can truly go after the opportunity and turn it into revenue.
It’s worth remembering though that this whole process needs to be rapid or otherwise you could miss the opportunity entirely. It’s just a process of due diligence to ensure you’re going after the right opportunity, at the right time, with the right solutions to the right problem.
Let’s wrap this up
Opportunity framing is an often overlooked process, with a lot of people jumping the gun and going straight after something that they’ve spotted. In some cases, this may be the right approach, but most of the time it's critical you take the time to properly vet the opportunity to see if it’s right for you and your business.
The last thing you want to is to chase an opportunity, and either fall flat or invest time and money only to miss it entirely.
It’s an opportunity to ensure you’re offering value and staying relevant, which as we know is critical to success. Once you’ve identified the opportunity and framed it properly, it’s about launching the product or service with the appropriate amount of love given to it, in the form of a robust product strategy and proposition.
Positioning your opportunity is key to nailing it, so don’t overlook the steps that naturally follow the opportunity framing process.