There are two primary ways entrepreneurs find new business opportunities in their industries and professions: they develop a diverse set of skills and knowledge and they enhance their general expertise in their fields.
It is well established that the more developed and unique your assortment of strengths and knowledge base are, the more opportunities you will see that others do not. This is because certain ideas can only become apparent to you when you draw connections between existing experiences, skills and knowledge that can yield them. Often times, the more diverse your experiences, skills and knowledge, the wider assortment of ideas you can produce.
“All ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.” – Mark Twain
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs
Likewise, if you use your strengths to become an expert in your industry and learn a myriad of minute details directly related to your profession, you will increase your odds of seeing problems and gaps that others overlook. This is especially effective in emerging and fast-changing industries.
In summary, here are two approaches that can help you develop new ideas in regards to any industry and profession:
- Research the most prominent and recent developments, trends, ideas and best practices in an industry and expand on those concepts to drive the industry forward. You can achieve this by reading relevant books, blogs, industry reports and news articles as well as joining relevant online communities and active associations.
- Determine the status quo in regards to the products and services in an industry and use your unique set of skills to surpass it in novel and original ways.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ― Pablo Picasso