Are You Spoilt for Choice?

Where do I start?  Everywhere I look I see another business opportunity.  It’s so stressful. How do I choose which one to go after first?

These questions are surprisingly common. Most of us would have the mental image of the entrepreneur as someone with a burning passion to change the world with their product. These entrepreneurs are singly focused on their sole opportunity.  Whether or not they are focused on the task of building their business is another matter. For the purpose of this Inspirations it’s important to classify this group as being focused on a single product. However, this mental image doesn’t capture a large proportion of entrepreneurs who see opportunity wherever they look.  These entrepreneurs are spoilt for choice in their opportunity set and whilst they may be focused on implementation once clear on their mission they may miss many opportunities, or worse be unable to follow any opportunities, because they are unable to determine which opportunity they should follow first.

Product, Product, Product

When discussing the opportunity set with these entrepreneurs, I find they are very product focused, often delving deep into the science behind the product for their explanation. Moreover, these entrepreneurs are very passionate about each product in the opportunity set and often become animated when discussing them. This observation provides an insight into the impasse these entrepreneurs have reached.

Because they are focused on the product, these people tend to be technically highly capable and therefore are in their comfort zone when discussing the product. Of course, there is more to the business than product alone. In the model that I use with clients, there are the marketing and financial elements as well as product. All three elements need to be equally considered for a successful business. But when the passion for the product grips the entrepreneur, all marketing challenges are swept out of consideration and all capital requirements are reduced to miniscule amounts that are easily resolved.

It’s Not for Lack of Focus

While it may seem that way, it isn’t a lack of focus that is the problem.  Rather, it’s the emotion that is the problem. And it isn’t just the passion of the potential for each opportunity that is the cause of the problem either it is the angst of making the “wrong” decision that is at the root of the problem.

I argue that before the entrepreneur can begin to critically assess each opportunity, they need to resolve their emotional need. For this step I suggest that clients list the opportunity set of ideas and then objectively look for the common themes that run through them. Sometimes the common themes are obvious and sometimes the common themes are difficult for the entrepreneur to identify. In this latter instance I suggest that clients either discuss each opportunity with me, their mentor, or with an objective third party, to understand the common themes.

Identifying the common theme is an important step for the entrepreneur because, generally, the common themes are highly regarded values of the individual.  These values are our core drivers. They are what will get us out of bed in the morning to do what we do.

Once the themes are identified as core values of the individual I find the emotion of the decision falls away because the entrepreneur realises that they will gain equal emotional satisfaction, or benefit, from all of the ideas and that, from an emotional standpoint, it doesn’t matter which opportunity is pursued first.

Critical Assessment

Once the emotion has been removed from the situation, the entrepreneur is well placed to critically assess each opportunity to determine its priority.  For this step, I suggest clients use a table format (shown below). In this table; ideas are listed vertically down the first column; and the following subject headings and listed across the first row of the table:

  • Capital requirement
  • Skill requirement
  • Marketing – client description
  • Marketing – potential market size (small, medium, large)
  • Marketing – access to this market
  • Marketing – competitors
  • Marketing – unique value proposition
  Capital Skill Client Description Market Size Market Access Competitors Value Proposition
Idea A              
Idea B              
Idea C              
Idea D              


When completing the table I suggest that clients don’t go into much detail, preferring it to be kept at a high level. The reality is there is little difference between a capital requirement of $100,000 and $120,000; but there is a large difference between a capital requirement of $5,000 and $100,000. Either you have the capital or you don’t; and if you don’t you either can raise it easily or you can’t. Similarly, with skills, you either possess the skills to successfully establish and grow the business, or you don’t, and if you don’t you either can obtain the skills quickly, or over time.

Once the table is completed, the process of prioritising the opportunities becomes straight forward. There will be those ideas which can be established and grown quickly because you possess the necessary capital and skills and because you have access to a well-defined deep market with few competitors and you have a strong value proposition. There will be ideas which will require additional skills and capital and therefore will need to be deferred for several years; and then there will be those which are projects for the distant future.

The question of which opportunity you follow today becomes one of preferences; which opportunity do you prefer? As we know that on the emotional level that all opportunities will provide the same emotional satisfaction, the decision itself isn’t critical and can be made based on secondary considerations, such as earnings capability, prestige, or what you enjoy doing most.

Once the preferred opportunity has been identified I suggest that clients prepare a business plan (


There is no one single type of entrepreneur. Some are focused on a single product while some have difficulties determining which product they are going to produce because they believe they are spoilt for choice. For this latter group of entrepreneurs there is a need to deal with the emotion of the decision first before they can critically assess and prioritise each opportunity. By uncovering the common themes that underlie the opportunity set the entrepreneur is able to understand better the core values that drive them as individuals and also to understand that they will gain equal emotional satisfaction from every opportunity. The task to prioritise the opportunity set then becomes an objective exercise on the entrepreneurial inputs into the business, with the final decision based on personal preferences.

To help you gain focus on what you want to do next, contact Inspirational Leaders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).