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4 Questions To Avoid Empty Opportunities

One of the biggest insights I’ve gained while coaching folks over the years is that there’s a big difference between a business owner and an opportunist.

The business owner is concerned with measuring how actions impact long-term sustainability and profit.

The opportunist eyes the potential gain an action has and how it may impact his future.

The Difference Is In The Mindset

At first they seem similar. Both have an eye on that end result, right? The big difference lies in mindset: the opportunist looks at potential (“But, I could make millions!”), while the business owner looks at total impact (“It sounds good, but it’s not in line with my current strategy.”)

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Believe me, as much as we (I) try to be business focused it’s easy to slip and chase an opportunity. Even if it doesn’t make sense to the overall business mission.

Opportunities can be anything: an avenue for new leads, social media sites, investment in new software, etc.

So, here are a few questions to ask when faced with a new opportunity…

Business Move or Opportunity Chase?

  1. Will this opportunity create business for me this week or month?
  2. If there’s no guarantee that this opportunity will create business in the short-term, then can you take specific action today that will produce measurable results?
  3. Does this opportunity leverage your strongest skills, talents and abilities?
  4. How soon and how frequently will this opportunity generate business?

Run through this list of questions whenever you’re you’re facing a new opportunity and you’ll be thinking like a business owner… paying attention not to potential impact but measurable impact.

Because, let’s face it, chasing potential is a sure way to waste your resources (time, energy, imagination, dollars). I’ve done it and I’m pretty sure you have to.

How else can you keep from slipping into the role of “opportunity seeker?”

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Written By

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.



  1. Ines

    January 19, 2009 at 10:24 am

    You do have to admit that some risk taking may lead to great results, even if you don’t quite know what the results may be (I’m taking a few right now). The difference is that I am constantly measuring results and will not exhaust resources if don’t see the risk materializing into tangible results for my business.

  2. Mark Eckenrode

    January 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    @ines: yeah, i’m definitely not opposed to taking risks. however, risk for risk’s sake doesn’t make a good business strategy… they have to make sense. and, you’re spot on about measuring results. good luck with those… i have no doubt you’ll find gold of some sort in those risks.

  3. Jim Gatos

    January 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    As of today, I re-joined Keller Williams after 2.5 years at Coldwell Banker. Keller Williams is a wonderful business model and I really missed it in the years I was absent; I couldn’t take it anymore, mentally and whatever, and returned. I definitely feel the risk is worth it; doesn’t even feel like a risk…

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