Overlooked Opportunities, Power Idea by Deb Mazzaferro

Overlooked Opportunity…..

………..doesn’t this conjure up a ton of interesting thoughts?

So what are the overlooked opportunities in your business… and your life?

Understanding the players… the basic organizational chart and each function’s strengths and weaknesses:


Many entrepreneurs focus heavily on the creating stage… developing new products, innovating flavors, chasing trends… or even hoping to start them. They think the road to riches is in new product development.

The overlooked opportunity: focus less on shiny new ideas and more on leveraging the profitability of your cash cows. Support your known winners. What is the desired result? Define your vision, mission, intention and goals. Communicate these clearly with all employees, partners, suppliers and customers quarterly or annually. All hold a stake in your success. Have documents and metrics in place to measure progress objectively.


Marketing gurus tend to strive for more and more opportunities to deliver the company message… synergistically combining advertising, social media, PR, Internet, trade shows, sponsorships, branding, direct mail, etc. All of these elements contribute greatly to success.

The overlooked opportunity: Evaluating marketing ROI… are your marketing dollars producing the desired result? Are you building brand value and sales? Where are most of your leads originating from? Accounting and marketing need to work to create P&L statements that provide meaningful data.


Sales executives strive for customer count and loyalty. They adhere to the principle that a happy customer is a profitable customer. They encourage more discounts, trade shows, travel to accounts, customization, and overall support to grow revenue.

The overlooked opportunity:  Learn to negotiate with suppliers and customers… know what success looks like to you. Never say NO overtly, but rather negotiate this-for-that in the spirit of win-win. Be prepared to walk away from those deals that don’t support the health of your company without creating any hard feelings on either side. Enlist your accounting department or consultant to determine incremental COGS and a spreadsheet to evaluate deals on.


Production managers seek streamlined operations, enhanced supplier relationships and less “moving parts” in managing the factory floor. When using a co-packer, their team will direct your product viability to their efficiencies.

The overlooked opportunity:  Buy into the production efficiencies model… if your equipment specializes in dry mixes, don’t add a line of wet sauces. Play to your strengths. This can mean success or failure on the sales side as well, where a new category may mean dealing with a new buyer, not the one you have a relationship with.


CFOs/accountants prefer to run your business by the numbers using data to make strategic decisions about future spending allocations (AKA budgets) and taxes.

The overlooked opportunity: As a Harvard MBA client always tells her team… Numbers are the language of business. Put profitability above revenue… less is more, once again. As capitalists we think the only thing that matters is growth… but growth at any cost will erode your bottom line, making it harder for you to support your top sellers while you invest in marginal businesses (products, partners and customers). This creates stress rather than a balanced, harmonic work environment.


Human resources personnel are here to support all the company’s needs but can fail without clear initiatives. Define your vision, mission, intention and goals. Create job descriptions with clear accountability metrics built in.

The overlooked opportunity: Team building and individual growth… arguably the most overlooked opportunity is in developing your team members into strong effective leaders. By providing training programs and encouraging them to further develop their strengths you empower them to help provide direction and enlightenment in their area of expertise. By focusing on each team members’ strength (rather than their weaknesses) you’ll foster a healthy dependence between the various functions rather than the competition between departments that normally occurs when everyone is singing to a different tune. The value in outside agencies is critical here…..having a facilitator, coach and/or consultant can help take the burden off any one team member being the bad guy or being in over their head.


The rewards of taking these steps toward eliminating Overlooked Opportunities include: less stress, higher degrees of success, productive team members working together, more market share, less chaos.

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