Often when we are presented with opportunities, we don’t know how to quickly work out if it is an opportunity worth pursuing. If you are someone that is able to get stuff done and you are making progress it is highly likely that many “opportunities” will start come your way.

The challenge is, depending on where you are in your business career, many of these “opportunities” are distractions which will slow you down and even prevent you from making any further progress.

A good example of this was when I was in my early 20’s. I had been working really hard on getting my tourism and travel business up and running. It had been years of hard work where I had made very small continuous incremental improvements. It was only when I started to build momentum and start making some good progress that all of these amazing “business opportunities” seemed to present themselves to me.

In literally a couple of weeks, a businessman who I had a lot of respect for approached me and asked if I would be interested in going into a partnership with him; a friend of mine invited me to an information evening about a great business opportunity; and I also received a phone call out of the blue from someone who had heard about my business and wanted to do a joint venture.

I was flattered and also excited because after years of hard work it now looked like everything was suddenly going to pay off. Luckily, I applied a filter by asking three questions and was able to identify what was really an opportunity and what was going to be a distraction.

These are the three questions I asked myself:

1. Do these opportunities align with my current goals?

In particular, to the business in which I had just invested 2 ½ years building. Only one out of the “opportunities” did.

2. Do I have the available resources to be able to actively pursue these opportunities?

My scarcest resource then was time. My friend that had invited me to an information evening was trying to convince me that it would take up very little if any of my time. I knew this would not be the case. Just as a side note, it always makes me smile how much money can be made in multi-level marketing if you work really, really hard at it. The problem is, however, the people that do make good money by working hard also work really, really hard at telling people how little they do work!

3. Is it something I am genuinely interested in?

Printing hundreds of t-shirts for an ambush marketing exercise sounded exciting however it was not something I was really interested in.

The opportunity I took advantage of was the joint venture. I was able to answer yes, to each of these three questions. The opportunity was to open up a horse safari operation offering half-day, one day and overnight safaris. It complemented my tourism and travel business. It gave me more control of the supply chain, with a premium product and enabled me to better use my existing infrastructure and resources. I was also a keen horseman and had kept my own horses at home for a number of years. Taking all of the following into account I was also able to deliver massive value to my business partner making this a worthwhile investment for both him and me.

An opportunity is just a fact, not a reason. In other words, just because an opportunity presents itself, it doesn’t mean you need to take it. You first need to evaluate it and make an informed decision, otherwise, it can end up being a distraction and costing you much more than you ever thought possible.

I would love to hear from you on how this information has helped you or if you have other tactics or strategies that help you get stuff done.