As an entrepreneur, information is the base of all profits. Knowing how to get the right information about your projects and doing it quietly is like money in the bank.
1) Networking is number one on the list. A good working relationship with a selection of peers can really help in finding and assessing projects. It takes time to develop a good network of hand picked people that you commonly keep contact with. Trust is a big issue but more importantly quality of positioning is more of an issue. By positioning I mean how that person fits within the relationship of the type of project you do and where they fit within that scheme. For example a rich source of contacts is the humble sales person or broker. They are easy to meet and very willing to do business with you even if you aren't buying anything from them initially. Real estate agents, Car dealer principles and Marine brokers all fit in this group. It depends on your market, your niche of course.
Experts and valuers are also excellent quality positioning candidates for your network. Finally your competition. Other entrepreneurs that deal prolifically in your market. This last one might seem counter intuitive, but entrepreneurs often “hunt" in groups and help each other. There are only so many projects you can take on at any one time, however your network will continue to keep filling your Hopper with fresh leads and contacts. These can be traded or exchanged for favours later on or Joint Venture's could be formed with other entrepreneurs. Usually there are two elements that stop you from taking every acceptable project that arrives on your door step, they are time and money. You may be over extended financially but have lots of time up your sleeve with the way your current project is structured. So you can often trade off with another entrepreneur who has funds, but is over committed time wise. And vice versa.
2) Expert authors are an excellent source of inspiration and information. By seeking out authors that deal with topics that you yourself are engaged in you leverage your knowledge. By reading a lot you save time and money by avoiding problems and being opened up to seeing things in different ways. Authors often are old hands looking for a less strenuous way of moving in some income and their own insight is often worth the cents per dollar you pay for their information.
3) Current people you are doing business with. Making a profit is seen as a shameful thing. Well not quite, but we tend to deal with the people that are directly responsible for our profits with guarded care. This is a reasonable attitude, however it need not be so guarded. If they are happy with the deal they made, there is no reason why you should feel concerned about their having remorse. Its not your concern, you are an entrepreneur not a nurse maid. With this in mind, often a chatty attitude will uncover all sorts of insights from the people you do business with. Maybe they know somebody else who is in precisely the same position they were in and you could repeat your deal with their acquaintance. Possibly the biggest reconnaissance you can get from people you have done business with is to be able to identify your own strengths and weaknesses through their eyes. What this does is give you valuable insights into how you operate and how you can improve that core business of yours. . . . . doing deals.
Martin Thomas (c)2005
Martin is a professional investor and Entrepreneur. If you would like to discover more about being an entrepreneur, you can read “The Million Dollar Mentor" by Hayden Muller. Martin recommends this work highly and has used the very concepts contained in the work for his own successful entrepreneurial activities. http://www.opportunity-investor.com