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Choosing Between Opportunities

August 24, 2007

by John Finlay

“Choose, but choose wisely,” says a grizzled thousand-year-old knight, as Nazis try to choose the true “Holy Grail.” They choose a a golden, jewel-encrusted chalice. They drink from it and whither into dust. In response, the knight sagely states that “He chose poorly.”

Now Indiana Jones chooses a ratty old wooden grail, drinks from it, and the knight with a twinkle in his eye says, “You chose… wisely.” Then Indiana Jones saves the day and they all live happily ever after.

Sometimes as entrepreneurs we are faced with choosing between multiple opportunities. How do we know which one to choose? Where is our knowledgeable knight to help us “Choose wisely”? The stakes are just as high. We could easily choose “poorly” and follow an opportunity that will cause us to whither under the pressures of an unhappy situation. We could also choose “wisely” and pursue an opportunity which leads to many personal rewards.

Some might say that you obviously choose the one that will earn you the most money. Given a good, thorough financial analysis, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out which one that is. However we know what happened to the Nazi who chose the “golden” chalice in Indiana Jones. Of course the financial rewards should be considered, but they shouldn’t be the only thing that you use to base your decision on.

In an article entitled “The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer,” Amar Bhide gives us some guidance that can also be used to help us choose between multiple opportunities. There is no easy formula, but by exploring who YOU are, you can tell which opportunity would give you the greatest satisfaction.

Bhide’s thought provoking questions are meant to get you thinking about your goals and what it is that YOU want to accomplish. You may want a business that will make you a millionaire, or you may want to pursue an opportunity that will bring about the most good for humanity. Maybe you are interested in something that will bring you personal satisfaction, that you can brag about to your family. Maybe you want something with a little lower risk so that you can test the waters and see what kind of entrepreneur you are.

In the end you should consider the following taking into account feedback from family and friends:

  • Will I be happy doing this?
  • Will this help me meet my long term goals?
  • What are the risks and am I willing to take those risks?
  • What will it take to accomplish this opportunity and am I capable of doing it?
  • Does this opportunity match with my personal values?
  • Will I be able to support myself in the short term? What are the potential profits in the long-term?
  • Will the world be better because I did this?
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One comment

  1. Excellent post. I think too many decisions are made based on “financial analysis” alone. While a good NPV is an important piece of information, it is not THE only piece of information. Most entrepreneurs are successful because they do the analysis and in the end follow their gut instinct.

    Kampai!



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