“The opportunities lie in the paralysis of others” said Inner Circle member Carl Barton, owner of Aardvark Sweeping Services. “And I’m jumping on them.” Well maybe he didn’t say it exactly that way, but his comments started off a great conversation at his Inner Circle meeting yesterday.

Carl and most of the rest of his peers agreed that “opportunities” seem to be jumping out at them. Vendors offering deals on equipment. Talented people applying for jobs that previously weren’t available, Market share to grab, Time to fix the weak links of the business.

The difficulty seems to lie in which opportunity is a real one, or just an illusion. You could jump at all of them and put yourself in some real difficulty. We came to the conclusion, that one has to take an addition/subtraction analysis to determine if it’s a real opportunity. And strong cash flow.

Does the new piece of equipment add revenue/eliminate waste and end up adding real value to your customers and your company. If not, it’s a nice thing to have, but not a real opportunity. And if you don’t have the cash to pay for it, it might not be an opportunity either.

But if you take that same addition/subtraction analysis to each line item of your statements, you might just find the cash for the opportunity. Is this expense adding anything to the business or not. Rebuild each expense area from zero, justifying each item from scratch, avoiding the percentage approach we usually use when we are busy or being lazy.

Good guidelines for business owners on finding and then acting on opportunities, from a great Inner Circle Meeting.