Low angle view of two business executives shaking handsA successful entrepreneur has many characteristics: ambition, good work ethic, and strong leadership skills to name just a few. One often overlooked quality, however, is always being on the lookout for opportunity. Whether things are going well or could use improvement, by looking at situations as possible opportunities, you’re paving the way for further learning experiences and long-term success.

Here are some ways to keep yourself open to opportunity:

  • Focus not just on working harder, but working smarter. If you find yourself putting in endless hours but you’re still not able to stay on top of your responsibilities, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate how you’re spending your time. Maximize efficiency by eliminating distractions, prioritizing responsibilities, staying organized, and being proactive. For more on this, see: Balance Without Sacrificing Business (How to Make Your Business More Efficient)
  • Consider “no” as “not yet.” The reality is that you are going to hear that dreaded word, “no,” over and over again. The key is to not let it discourage you. Instead of interpreting it as “no,” think of it as, “not yet.” This will keep you from prematurely closing the door on a potential opportunity. Although “no” sometimes really does mean “no,” keeping your mind open to the possibility that a “yes” may happen eventually will ensure you don’t miss out on a future opportunity.
  • Have a long term outlook for your business. Where do you see your business in five years? Ten? Creating a long term plan for your business gives you direction and allows you to continue moving forward. Competition increases, technology evolves, and customers’ needs change. Always stay on top of current business and industry trends so that you aren’t left behind.
  • Network and explore new social groups. Networking should be a constant in your business. Look to expand your network not only at formal events like industry conventions, but also within your community among people you meet and people you already know. Consider stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring new social groups. Join a book club or volunteer at the local hospital. You’ll find that you are not only meeting new people, but enjoying yourself at the same time.
  • Establish and maintain a great reputation. Strive for excellence in all areas to establish a stellar reputation. Once you have done so, make it clear to your staff that maintaining your reputation is a top priority. Unfortunately, all it takes is one incident to cast doubt on your abilities and tarnish your good name. Practice integrity and consideration for others in all you do. Your reputation will speak for itself and open doors to new and exciting opportunities, such as professional partnerships and word-of-mouth referrals.

Adopting a positive attitude and being on the lookout for opportunity will increase your chances of professional success. Seek help when you need it and help others as well.

How do you keep your mind open to opportunities? Please share your thoughts below!