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Business opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, and small business owners are often challenged with making quick decisions and knowing if it’s the right time to pursue something new.

We asked Tya Bolton, a small business owner, about her experience adding a new division to her executive management company. She gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how she evaluated the opportunity, the questions she considered, and how she ensured that her new endeavor was a success.

Changing directions in your business can feel risky, but Tya reminded us of the importance of agility: “It’s okay to change the game. It’s okay to redirect energy. To be successful in business, you have to be agile and willing to change directions.”

Thinking about something new? Based on Tya’s experience, we put together five questions you can use to figure out if an opportunity is right for your business:

Question 1: What is motivating the change?

To better understand what was driving her desire to change, Tya took a long look at her current business. Although her existing business had regular clients and steady income, she felt that something was missing.

“I was moving into a space where I wanted to have a more playful environment. Things were feeling a little too ‘suit and tie’ and buttoned up. I wanted to get back to having more fun and working more with consumers.”

No matter what the driving force is behind making a change in your business, pinpointing what’s motivating a change will help guide your decision.

Question 2: What is the need?

Tya knew there was demand for personal and community event planning, but she wanted a better understanding of how large the market was and what her team could bring to it.

“People were coming to me for personal and community events, and we were turning them away. First, we went back to those people and asked them what they really needed,” she shared.

With a better understanding of the current gaps in the market, Tya could develop services that she knew would be in demand and meet the needs of her customers.

Question 3: How big is the opportunity?

To get an in-depth understanding of the size of the market, Tya researched common search terms being used in her potential space as well as their frequency. She also looked at how those things were converting, in what markets, and the demographics of those markets.

Researching the size and potential of a new market helped Tya start to see a clear path to success.

Question 4: Who else is already doing it and how can you do it differently?

Next, Tya looked at potential competitors. “We looked at who else was in the space and who was doing it really well. We looked at other companies, as well as trends we could see clearly through Google and Facebook ads.”

With a better understanding of the landscape, Tya pinpointed what she should be offering. She zeroed in on what she would need to make her company stand out among competitors and define her unique niche.

Question 5: What goals should you set to ensure success?

Once Tya felt confident that there was a big enough market to support her new endeavor and that she could bring something new to it, she brought her team together to start planning.

For Tya, setting goals is a collaborative process. “Setting our goals was definitely a team approach. It was not me in a room saying ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ I got my team’s input to make sure what I was thinking was in line with their ideas.”

It was also important that goals were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). Using SMART goals, Tya’s team aligned on what needed to get done. “Everyone on your team needs to know what you’re aiming for and understand very clearly what their part is in making that happen.”

Once you’ve taken on a new opportunity, the question will be, “Is it working?”

Even the tightest plans require agility. “You think you have defined the whole plan, but then you go ‘Uh oh!’ we need to adjust.” Being willing to adjust quickly when things aren’t going as planned has been a key to a successful first year for Tya’s new endeavor, an events division called Divinity Affairs.

Tya also discovered that marketing in a new arena, requires constant reassessment. You can’t set it and forget it. “I found in marketing, you might think you know exactly what will work – you have the right keywords, the right visuals, the right platforms, and messages. But sometimes, things don’t convert as you planned. You have to keep tweaking and tweaking, which goes back to being agile.”

Knowing the right questions to ask when assessing a new opportunity will give you the agility to move quickly. Then, be prepared to adjust to get the results you want.

Our mission at Swift Capital is to unleash the potential of every small business by providing them with fair and convenient access to working capital. We harness data and technology alongside personalized human expertise to see the true potential in every business. Did you like this post? Tell us what you’d like to see on our blog. Email us at newsletter@email.swiftcapital.com.

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