Hunting For Opportunity

“Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Wayne Gretzky, 9-time NHL MVP

2024 is off to a fast start already. In the US, campaigns for the Presidential ticket for the two major parties are underway.  The stock market seems to be rebounding – last week alone, META’s stock rose by 20% in a day after announcing their earnings result.  In Nigeria, the naira seems to be on a sprint (smiles), and the Central Bank of Nigeria is rolling out new policies just as fast. And we are just in the first week of February. Basically, things are moving.  The question is, are you? 

I am a big proponent of movement and speed, but speed is only profitable when there is clarity of direction. Gaining clarity often involves reflection and planning.  Most institutions have an annual strategy review cycle, during which they reflect on the past year and strategize for the year ahead.  Almost every business goes through the routine of assessing the landscape, analyzing trends, and determining the strategic posture required to achieve their objectives.  However, the real magic lies in their ability to not just step back, but to widen their range of analysis (e.g. time frame, types of trends, expert perspectives etc) and depth of reflection (extracting implications).  

When done effectively, you begin to spot patterns and insights begin to emerge.  Your dedication to the planning process, your boldness to commit, and your discipline to execute will determine your ROI on this process.

Here are 5 considerations for your strategic planning this year:

  1. Identify growth areas: Review industry research reports and general macro-economic reports to identify growth areas within your sector and the broader economy.
  2. Follow the money: Analyze government spending and corporate investments to trace the flow of funds and identify opportunities for your business. 
  3. Reflect on trends: Assess key trends in consumer behavior, digital adoption, geopolitics, and macroeconomics to understand the potential opportunities and threats they present.  
  4. Research new technologies: Get informed on the latest advancements in digital technologies and evaluate their implications over the next five to ten years.
  5. Pressure-test your ideas: Engage experts, customers and other stakeholders to get feedback and deeper insights on the potential opportunities and challenges you have identified. The quality of your questions directly determines the insights you gain, so be prepared.

Bill Gates famously discussed the high likelihood of a future pandemic in a TED Talk in 2015. In the course of his study and reflection, he identified factors that made this likely and urged stakeholders to prepare and take action. You too can leverage this approach to strategically position yourself for emerging opportunities – personally, financially, and for your business.

What opportunities do you see? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yours in possibilities,