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Opportunity?

Opportunity?

Opportunity?

Identifying a real business opportunity can be tricky…you have to dig deep and ask many questions.  Ask yourself if your product or service fulfills the needs of a growing market better than the current competition and better than any substitution technologies within the overall external market (e.g. cultural, economic, political, legislative, society, etc).

Is there a real need for your product or service?  Does your product or service truly fulfill those needs?  Do you or your product or service possess unique elements that will position your business in a very niche market in which you can become one of the market leaders?  When will your window of opportunity open or close?

What actually frustrates the current customers in your industry?  What problems have they had with poor product quality or not having enough options or limited selection.  Maybe the delivery is not fast enough.  Many times an opportunity lies in observing what can be done to better serve a customer’s needs.

What will your customers need in the near future that they are unable to get today?  Think about the problems you have had with the products you have been ordering.  Is there an opportunity to develop something better; a better product, service or process?

In an October, 2012 Harvard Business Review blog, Scott Anthony lists “The Five Cs of Opportunity Identification”, which can be summarized as:

  • Circumstances – The specific problems a customer cares about and the way they assess solutions is very circumstance contingent.
  • Context – Ask a customer to report what they did in the past or will do in the future and you will get something that bears only a loose resemblance to reality.  You must find a way to be with the customer when they encounter a problem and watch how they solve it.
  • Constraints – Understanding why a customer does not consume is critical. Are existing solutions too expensive, do they require specialized skills or are the just inconvenient?
  • Compensating Behaviors – Are customers using a product or service in an unintended way to try to solve a problem?
  • Criteria – Quality is a relative term; you can only determine if a solution is good by first understanding the criteria that matter to a particular customer.  Do they want something simple, reliable, cost effective, etc?

 

Consider those questions and then summarize your thoughts to create a concept statement which should include the following:

  • Description of product or service being offered
  • Intended target market
  • Benefits of product or service
  • Description of how product will be positioned relative to similar ones in the market
  • Description of how product or service will be sold & distributed

 

Feasibility Analysis Process

Feasibility Analysis Process

When complete with your concept statement, think about doing a feasibility analysis, similar to the one shown here.  It will provide additional insight into your product launch before you over spend on time and money.

Opportunities are all around us, but not all of them can be made into profitable businesses.

Good luck with determining your next true opportunity!

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU™

www.LifeLongU.com

 

Where is Your Relationship At?

A Relationship Made in Heaven…

 

Where is your relationship at? Has it been blessed by “Heaven” or seemingly cursed by the “other” place? Life on earth can be difficult alone; being able share it with her/him can make some things better, but may also add more challenges.  Make sure you are ready to commit to solving those challenges together.

What do you do to make the most of the relationship you have with your special someone?  Do you do anything to make it better?  Is there enough communication with her/him?  Do you listen to your partner when they are communicating to you?  Do you like to keep things spontaneous? Do you show appreciation and respect for each other?  What attracted you to her/him in the first place?  Have you discussed each other’s needs?  Are your partner’s beliefs and values close to the same as your own?  Is there laughter or tension in your relationship?  How do you find a special someone in the first place?  Do you know what you really want from a relationship, wife or husband?  Do you know what you really need to give, in a relationship, or are you all about receiving?  What makes you happy; does your partner know this?

All good questions, I’m sure you would agree…so how did you answer those questions?

For me, I was married for over 20 years and thought I knew what a good relationship was.  I was a good hard working family man and thought I was even a better husband.  When it ended, I really asked myself, what did I do wrong?  What could I have done better?  I did assume part of the responsibility for it ending and in truth, did want to understand how to make it better, next time.

I do believe in marriage.  In two people becoming one person, sharing everything and having each other’s backs through thick and thin.  A relationship with another that works harmoniously together enjoying each other fully and is filled with love, honor and respect.  I see now what could have been done differently; what changes could have been made; and the importance of selecting the right partner in the first place.

How do you pick your relationship partner?

First, you have to meet the individual in person (not via text or email) …then physical attraction comes or mental attraction, maybe both; do you feel some chemistry or energy between you both?  Does your partner feel it?  Now, what?  You have the passion and heat that comes with a new beginning, the unknown, the unexplored and the many possibilities.  But that really is not a relationship yet, at least it does not have the ingredients for a long lasting relationship at this point.  You need to go deeper; more layers of the onion need to be peeled.  You need to explore each other’s belief and value system through many hours of communication; you need to discover each other’s character; do they say one thing and do something different.  You need to explore their future plans, what do they want their life to be in say 10, 20 or 40 years?  It all sounds fun doesn’t it? It can be, and it’s up to both of you to make it fun.  That is part of building a long lasting relationship.  You need to enter into each other’s lives; visit the family and get to know each other’s circle of influence.  If one of you does not like this, that is a sign…read it as such and know, that maybe, this relationship was not meant to be; end it and move along.  The only thing worse than settling for ½ a cup of loving relationship is entering into a long-term relationship when you already know you won’t be totally happy.

The Lord blesses relationships that follow his word.  That does not mean they are not challenged.  If you have chosen wisely in your relationship partner, chances are good, that you will move through your challenges and grow closer together.  A woman and a man each play different roles in a relationship blessed by Heaven.  They play different roles because each was created different and has different ingredients needed for a blessed long lasting relationship to succeed and be enjoyed by both.  All these ingredients are necessary.  If you want to taste something exceptional, something made in Heaven, add “all” your ingredients into your relationship and make sure your partner does as well.  Work together and make something special for both of you to enjoy.

I have tasted of this myself.  My “Special” someone and I have only known each other a short amount of time (as far as time goes), but feel we have known each other for many years.  We both have thrown in all our ingredients and are making something that I never would have thought possible.  I wish the same for each of you!  May God bless your relationship!

 

Gary J Kiecker

www.LifeLongU.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Household Budget…4 Places for Your Money $$$…

LLU Household Budget

The New LifeLongU™ Household Budget is fast and easy to use.

Enter household Inflows (Income) and Outflows (Expenses) in predefined categories, only 4 of them.  Add an allocation percentage (%) to the different line items.

Household Budget is based on creating a spending plan that focuses on 4 main areas of expense:

  • Charitable giving first (say 10%)
  • Then saving for yourself (say 10%)
  • Then living within a certain amount (say 60%)
  • Paying down creditors (no more than 20%)

Adapting a simple budget plan like this can easily show you quick answers to “what if” questions you may have about your income, expenses and much more.

And now, we have created a detailed tutorial on how to use that budget…click below to watch it on YouTube…

Household Budget - LifeLongU™

Household Budget – LifeLongU™

Is Your Work Time “Leisure” or “Toil”

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Is Your Work Time “Leisure” or “Toil”?

Leisure time…what does that even mean for us in today’s time?  For me, I picture myself, with my “special” someone, relaxing someplace warm with a great view, great service, nice tropical breezes blowing, waves are crashing on the shore and I do not have a care in the world. Does that sound like leisure to you?  Some of you may picture a similar image with a few modifications made to my picture, but non-the-less, I do believe we all get that idea of leisure. Dictionary.com defines it as “time free from the demands of work or duty, when one can rest, enjoy hobbies or sports, etc; unhurried ease”.  So that would mean all the time we are not working or fulfilling a dutiful obligation, we are using leisure time, correct?  But surely work or fulfilling obligations can also be leisure?  I know that I enjoy my work, at least most parts of it.  One of the definitions for work on Dictionary.com is “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil”.   I do believe that last word “toil” meaning “hard and continuous; exhausting labor or effort”, as defined by Dictionary.com, is not something most of us want to do all day and for most of us, may not be referred to as leisure. Managing our time (since we only have so much of it) is one of the most important activities a person can do and should do each day.  What we do during our time, whether its work, leisure, labor, toil or rest, we are responsible for what we do with our time.  In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, the Bible says, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”.  Also the Bible states in Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work”.  So clearly, we are to work and rest. If God takes time to rest, I do believe we should follow suit. After all you know what they say about all work and no play?  But it would appear that God worked six days, even Saturday, and then took one day off to rest…so if you enjoy what you do, as I believe God did when He worked, you still need to take time to rest. Example_of_Hours_per_week In this basic overview of the week above it would appear that we have approximately 32 hours to spend on our leisure time activities, whatever they are.  Obviously, it may vary quite a lot per individual, their obligations and by what they think of as leisure or work time.  I simply want to show that almost all our time is either work or leisure time and that it is important not to waste any of it, but use all the time we have on activities that refresh us. The simple fact is if you enjoy your work or think of it as leisure (at least parts of it, like I do), you may have much more refreshing leisure time than you think, so enjoy it all.  In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 8:15, King Solomon wrote, “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.  Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun”. Spend your time at work doing something you enjoy and it may become a leisure activity that refreshes you and brings you much enjoyment and you may feel you actually do not work at all.   Gary J Kiecker LifeLongU.com

Is Your Product Idea a Good One?

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Is Your Product Idea a Good One?

So you have an idea for a new product, process or service, but is it a good idea for a business? How can you tell if it’s viable? Do you think you are ready to throw the dart and are you really expecting to hit the bull’s-eye?

How unique is your idea? What will make your idea stand out in the crowd? What problem are you trying to solve? How do you differ from the competition? The most successful business ideas usually have a strong, unique new concept and will show the customer a clear identity they quickly relate to or have a clear picture of how your product adds value to them. Make sure you take time to define and refine your idea. You must add value!

How expensive is it design and build your product, create your service, refine a process or to simply start up your business around your new idea? These costs need to be known before you go too far. If you have to build it all yourself, how long will it take you. Keep in mind your lost opportunity costs of you creating your product and business instead of working and pulling in a paycheck. That lost opportunity is also an expense. Will you need to invest cash in equipment, inventory, molds or prototypes before you make any sales? How much and what about design changes?

Is it a good economic time to launch your idea into the public? Is your target customer spending in the area your product is focused? Is that spending increasing or decreasing? Who is your target customer? How is the industry your product is classified in doing as a whole? Is it increasing or decreasing? Will new technology soon change or replace products in your industry or change the buying habits of your target customer? Consider the seasonality of your new venture, when is the best time to launch your product or business idea?

There are many questions to ask and get answers to before you spend cash from your “I worked hard for these dollar$” war-chest. Make sure your idea has been tested and the market sees it as something they want and will pay for.

Testing your Idea?

One way to determine the viability of your product or service is with a feasibility study. A feasibility study can be completed many different ways and can help you discover some crucial information such as:

  • The level of risk involved with your idea
  • Is there really a market for your idea
  • Whether the product or business is viable
  • What return on investment you might expect
  • Any legal issues you might need to address
  • The amount of money the product development requires to be established
  • The working capital you may need from developing the product to collecting on your first sale
  • When the business will reach break even
  • What business skills will be critical to success
  • Any lack in your own skills and how they can be addressed
  • Strengths and weaknesses of your idea
  • The impact on your target customer

What makes up a Feasibility Study?

Some main ingredients to a good product feasibility study are:

  • SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)
  • Market Trends Analysis
  • Customers Analysis
  • Competition Analysis
  • Suppliers Analysis
  • Financial Analysis (Costs to develop product, ROI)
  • Go / No Go decision if above analysis proves to be too risky
  • Concept development and testing (which is different than test marketing)
  • Metrics, forecasting and Benchmarks of expected product launch results
  • Beta test product or service & track results, both good and bad
  • Distribution Channels (explore all options)
  • Growth and Scalability

I love the saying “necessity is the mother of invention”…it always makes me think of improvements, change and adding more value to something. Will your product, service or business add more value to the customer? If so, good luck and I wish you much success!!

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU.com