Chapter 4. Find out opportunity around you
Opportunities don’t float like clouds in the sky.
They’re attached to people.
If you’re looking for and opportunity,
you’re really looking for a person. ― Sandeep Maheshwari
Seizing the opportunity is a business bravery.
It means taking everything you know about others
as you let others know about you,
and then using this information to your advantage.
It is victory by intuition.
In the beginning,
it was a matter of preparation,
knowing the opponent and every aspect of the game.
Then know how to play the game itself
imagine what the other person wants,
get them to believe what they want,
and find a way to help them get it.
The bottom line, of course,
is that you’ll get more out of them.
I have always believed that in any business situation we can take advantage.
So, don’t be greedy, arrogant, impatient,
but keep searching and be ready to exploit it.
KEEP THE FACTS AWAY
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. — Francis Bacon
You can’t take advantage without looking at the facts first.
Facts alone aren’t enough to guarantee you an advantage,
but they can help prevent you from passing the edge on to someone else.
If you don’t know all the facts relevant to a situation, you’ll be at a disadvantage.
In many cases, just one fact can turn the tide.
In business, you have to spend time and effort learning everything
about companies and partners,
and then there will be effective facts that are decisive for the situation.
The second type of data
that you must intuitively consider is the fact that arises from the situation itself.
From what people say and do,
we can form new and useful perceptions.
I have seen, heard, or attended so many business situations
where the mere sight or awareness of one fact was enough
to completely change the moves
or tactics of the situation.
I once tried to sell the British Open Golf Championship rights to American television.
I negotiated with the sports director of a television station.
When we met again to close the deal,
I brought a senior manager,
and the other man brought a salesman.
Within minutes, it was clear to me that the meeting was going nowhere.
The head of the department showed no willingness
to concede anything in front of the sales guy or act “beyond”
what they discussed earlier.
The presence of my manager,
with whom they had regular contact,
made the situation worse.
They didn’t want to give in to any of my requests in front of this guy.
These are decisive facts,
so if we continue like this,
the meeting will be fruitless.
As soon as I can, I suggest ending the meeting to allow time to think more.
The next day, I called the head of the department
without being influenced by the others,
and we concluded negotiations on a permanent contract.
KEEP THE REPRESENTATIVES
If you are not afraid of losing nobody can ever beat you. ― Sandeep Maheshwari
The whole purpose of guessing people, identifying personalities,
finding weaknesses, etc is clearly to use this information
to increase one’s advantage
by stimulating the opponent in the right place.
I tried to convince Andre Heiniger,
the general manager of Rolex,
to finance the installation of a new electronic timekeeping
and scoreboard system at Wimbledon during the 1979 season.
He thought it was nonsense,
and Watch makers like Seiko
and Timex should do it.
I knew the only chance he could change his mind was to take him there.
As we sat in the luxury seats,
drinking tea and watching the game,
I could see Heiniger paying attention to every little detail:
the old-fashioned courtesy of the Center Court,
the excitement of the game
the beauty and allure of a place is special.
At the end of the match,
Heiniger turned to me and waved his hand slowly: “I agree!”
Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail. — Brian Tracy
Once you understand the facts and competitors,
and analyze all possibilities,
you can begin to assess the situation.
Take a step back and consider the opportunities
that arise from the start.
I’ve always argued that we should “step back,
” taking the time to put any meaningful business event – good
or bad – into a broader context.
Sometimes, I force myself to separate the facts, because that way I can learn a lot.
A few years ago, I met Raphael Tudela,
a Venezuelan businessman in the oil and gas and shipping industries
a wise and talented man whom I especially respect and admire.
In less than 20 years, from two empty hands,
he built a billion-dollar business.
He rarely deals on paper,
because his word is a commitment in itself.
As an oil and gas speculator,
he has the ability to see opportunities
no one else sees and know how to take advantage of them.
Raphael Tudela has a knack for seizing opportunities.
In the mid-1960s,
Tudela owned a glass manufacturing company in Caracas, but as a petroleum engineer,
he always aspired to be in the oil and gas business.
Through an associate, he learned that in Argentina,
people needed to buy 20 million dollars worth of butane gas.
He immediately went there to find out,
and only when he signed a contract did he take care of gas.
Arriving in Argentina,
a glass manufacturer operating alone
and with no connections or experience in the oil and gas business,
he discovered that he had two formidable rivals:
the British oil company.
British Petroleum and Shell.
But after investigating,
he also discovered another thing:
Argentina is in a situation of oversupply of beef
and is looking for ways to sell.
He then suggested to the Argentine government:
“If you buy 20 million dollars of butane gas from me,
I will buy you 20 million dollars of beef.”
After that, Tudela flew to Spain,
where there was a large shipyard
that was about to close because of lack of work.
He suggested, “If you buy $20 million of my beef,
I’ll order you to build a $20 million oil tanker.”
These people were overjoyed and immediately telegraphed Argentina to request
that 20 million dollars of Tudela beef be transferred directly to Spain.
Tudela’s last station is Philadelphia.
He went to the Sun Oil company and suggested:
“If you take a 20 million dollar tanker under construction in Spain,
I will buy you 20 million dollars of butane gas.”
The company agreed and Raphael Tudela achieved his desire
to operate in the oil and gas industry.
Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it. — George Bernard Shaw
In all business situations,
the rule that I hold dear is to be proactive,
or else you will fall into a passive position and react ridiculously.
If you don’t seize the opportunity immediately,
it will never come back.
So again, the need to seize opportunities
and think quickly underscores the importance of being sensitive
not just hearing what people say,
but seeing what’s in it. It is through this ability
that you know when to act immediately to seize the opportunity.
We recently had a meeting with McDonald’s in Chicago to renew our contract
to sponsor the triathlon world championships,
for which we broadcast and report.
As the meeting progressed, even though no one spoke directly,
we also began to feel that they were being very reluctant.
The reason is that they are not satisfied with the news that we give.
In addition, this meeting took place at a very unfavorable time.
McDonald’s has just committed to building a swimming pool for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles,
which dwarfs all of their advertising plans.
Even so, we felt that the people in the meeting room still seemed to want to buy,
want to make something
and who knows how long this momentum will last?
Probably not even a second after the meeting.
And all of a sudden,
one of our department heads suggested
that perhaps the idea of a triathlon was more than enough,
what we should really talk about is a similar
but completely new tournament:
International Diving Championships will be held annually at McDonald’s new swimming pool.
So instead of leaving empty-handed,
we secured a commitment thanks to a manager who knew the right moment.
Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that
there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity
and are able to turn both to their advantage. — Victor Kiam
Luck is the rest of diligence.
Golfer Gary Player once summed it up:
“The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”
Indeed, over the years we have had a lot of luck.
But in fact, we also know how to find luck
not just waiting for it to fall.
Indeed, this is the key difference
between the “lucky” in business and the unlucky.
People with “red numbers”
who see a small crack will know how to turn it into a large gap.
And those who are “unlucky” will not recognize the opportunity
even if it is right in front of their eyes.
“Becoming lucky” is being aware that you are lucky,
and then it is easy to seize the opportunity.
Take a look at Goodfather’s fortunes.
He is a bonsai grower and potter at the offices of several companies in Cleveland,
including Jones and Laughlin. He learned that Eaton,
a large Cleveland firm and a major customer of Jones and Laughlin,
was moving into the same building.
He called Eaton to ask if they needed to hire him.
When he asked to speak to the person in charge of the office,
the wrong wire was sent to Del Dewindt,
Eaton’s chairman and chief executive officer.
Goodfather said: “I am in charge of bonsai care for the Jones and Laughlin steel company.
I would like to meet the person in charge of the bonsai care contract at your company.”
But in English, the words “plant”
and “account” also mean “factory”
and “accounting books”,
so the chairman understood:
“I manage Jones and Laughlin Steel Company.
I want to meet someone about the bookkeeping.”
The next morning, Goodfather,
dressed in a vintage garden suit and beret,
was ushered into a conference room filled with several high-ranking Eaton officials,
each with a set of “Jones and Laughlin” files in front of them.
When the confusion was cleared up,
everyone had a burst of laughter,
and here things could have ended funny.
But when Goodfather was about to leave the room,
he turned to a trustee and said,
“Go back to love potted plants…” They hired him!
TURNING RISK TO OPPORTUNITY
Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge.
Let your learning lead to action. – Jim Rohn
People tend to deal with risk according to the magnitude of the disaster
it can cause,
but when they are in that situation,
they lose their cool and are taken advantage of.
Recently, a very important customer called us in a very panic.
One of his major partners decided not to sign the contract,
which meant he would lose millions in earnings and affect his reputation.
The manager in charge of this particular client freaked out, too,
and by the time I learned of this,
the manager had replaced the contract with another, more lucrative one.
This news sounds good.
But this client paid us far less than we deserved.
If our manager hadn’t rushed to address the threat,
I’d have explained a few things to him:
“Yes, it’s a pity that company pulled out.
Yes, we can replace that contract,
but we also have to spend a lot of time and effort,
maybe have to rely on this or that person…”
And then, I will talk about the problem remuneration
to see if he would consider paying us what we should have been.
One of the best rules I know is that when threats are present or imminent,
don’t rush to react.
After analyzing that risk to see if it is really a disaster or an opportunity,
then make the final decisions.
That way, when we deal with the problem,
we have enough insight,
and if you know what’s going on, don’t get caught up in the risk,
it can be an interesting opportunity.
KNOW TO WAIT
I will prepare and somedays my chance will come. — Abraham Lincoln
My friends all admire my ability to respond to bad news.
I can’t always do that,
but I’ve trained to deal with it.
Bad news may seem dangerous to us at first, but it’s not.
After many years,
I understood the importance of patience, and impatience leads to unfathomable disaster.
It’s amazing how time can radically change a situation,
solve problems, ease rivalries,
and give us a new perspective. “Everything will work out”,
that is a saying that should be engraved in the mind
by every new manager who is new to the profession
and too hastily engraved in his mind.
So how does this explain taking chances?
In fact, part of seizing an opportunity is waiting.
Learning to wait and be patient will bring you many benefits.
In my 20+ years of operation,
I’ve realized that 90% of my success is due to having enough patience
and 90% of my failures are due to lack of patience.
We recently completed negotiations for player Herschel Walker’s new contract
with the New Jersey Generals,
the largest contract in team sport history.
Just the fact that we are the negotiators is enough
to demonstrate remarkable patience.
In 1982, we were getting ready to represent Herschel.
After many meetings with Vince Dooley,
his coach at the University of Georgia,
we were confident we would succeed.
However, in early 1983,
I received a letter from Vince thanking us for being patient with them
and suggesting a suitable time to discuss with Herschel.
I received this letter the same day the press reported
that Herschel had just signed a contract as a professional athlete
while he was still a student.
Our team sports department was flabbergasted,
but I told them we didn’t know all the details,
that Herschel and Vince were impressed with our management,
and Herschel’s contract lasted only two years.
My implication is that with a little patience,
we will have Herschel’s word again
and that we should not end contact with Herschel here.
A year later, Herschel became our customer.
CONTROL OF YOURSELF
If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity
but you are not sure you can do it,
then learn how to do it later. — Richard Branson
There’s a big difference between a good manager
and a manager who thinks he’s good.
The people who contribute to this disparity are often found in mid
and below-average management levels.
They often blame anything and anyone
when things don’t work out.
The irony is that many managers are very sensitive,
even have good intuition.
However, their instincts are very poor.
They often misuse what they know from their sensitivity.
Deep down, they know what they should and shouldn’t say,
when they should and shouldn’t say it,
but they can’t control themselves.
They often utter those words unintentionally,
or fail to hold back from “speak directly,”
even when they are aware that doing so would be detrimental to themselves.
Of course, this is immaturity in business
and many people make this mistake,
whether in their twenties or forties.
When a business situation needs to be handled with caution,
how cautious would you rate yourself?
When a humorous or conciliatory remark can defuse a heated exchange,
How will your influence ease the problem?
When you are about to act impulsively, how do you control it?
Have you used what you know about others effectively?
How far have you adjusted what people know about you?
I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me. – Jim Rohn