“Spotter” Entrepreneurs

I recently spent time chatting with an entrepreneur. I wanted to connect with him because he’s in a non-tech sector I’m interested in getting more involved in. As we chatted, I realized that he has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening in a niche corner of his sector. He understands where it’s going, too. He’s been able to spot opportunities earlier than others and create solutions based on those opportunities. The key to his success is being at the ground level of this niche in his sector, spotting an opportunity early, and executing on what he sees.

The conversation helped me realize the scale of success this entrepreneur could have in the future. I wondered if he recognizes the potential and knows what’s keeping him from getting there. As we chatted, he shared that he does recognize the potential in what he’s doing. He explained his vision of where he wants to be and quantified what success looks like for him. Then he shared what’s holding him back:

  • Capital – Executing on the opportunities he identifies requires capital. He’s got some personal capital but needs more to execute on larger opportunities. He doesn’t know how to access investor capital (not venture capital).
  • Structure – He knows how to execute profitably on the opportunities he finds using his own capital. He doesn’t know how to structure deals that involve outside investors. He’s not sure what waterfall (i.e., profit sharing) or other deal mechanics are available to be used or how they should be combined to attract investors.
  • Presentation – He understands why something is a good opportunity because of his positioning at the ground level and is confident executing with his own capital, but he isn’t sure how to present the opportunity to investors who don’t have their boots on the ground like he does.
  • Back-office admin – He hates dealing with accounting, tax filings, entity formation, and a variety of other back-office tasks. It’s a burden that takes time away from finding and executing on opportunities. He does some of this himself and outsources some of it.

He candidly said that in a perfect world, he could get these things taken care of by someone else, focus on doing what he’s great at—finding and executing on opportunities—and take his business to the next level quickly. He realizes that a perfect world isn’t likely to appear. He plans to tackle all of these but realizes it will take time.

This entrepreneur is likely on the cusp of breakout success. I wonder how many other smaller entrepreneurs with “spotter” abilities exist and what solutions are out there to serve the needs of this group.