You Snooze...You Lose!

by Ron Rosenberg

We've spoken in the past about the concept of opportunity cost - the "alternate universe" that exists on the other side of the choices you make.

For example, if you choose to work on Project A, then the opportunity cost is that you may not get to work on Project B.

If you invest funds in one business opportunity, then those funds aren't available for a different opportunity. But there's another application of this that doesn't necessarily involve what you do as much as what you don't do.

Let's Get Some Gas

When I worked in my "previous life" in the corporate world, I had about a 35-minute commute to and from work each way, and I tended to take some back roads since they had nicer scenery and were generally less stressful to drive.

Over time, as the area grew, though, traffic began to pick up and the route became busier. Then, almost as if in response to this, construction began at the intersection of two secondary roads for what was to be a gas station and convenience store.

The work was completed about four months later, and appeared by all measures that the store was doing quite well.

One day, I happened to notice that the parcel of land diagonally across the corner from the store had a "For Sale" sign. I remember thinking to myself that it would be a really good idea for the owners of the existing convenience store to purchase that no one else could buy it and build a competing business in this rapidly growing area.

Clearly, this didn't happen, because about nine months later another convenience store opened on that property and began siphoning off customers from the first store.

Sometimes you have to think about what might happen so it doesn't catch you by surprise.

What Beautiful Open Space!

In a similar vein, you should always be aware of your surroundings. And not just when you're walking through a rough area in a big city, but also when you're looking at opportunities of any kind.

For example, our daughter and her fiance are in the process of buying their first house. One of the things we helped them with was looking at who owned all of the undeveloped land around them. A vacant wooded lot is beautiful...until someone comes in, clear cuts all the trees, and builds a strip mall.

It was the same process we followed when we downsized to our present home. We checked tax records and discovered that the open space immediately behind our house was owned by our homeowners association, and between there and the next road, it's a designated flood plain which is owned by the town and is part of a designated "long-term green space" area.

What "undeveloped" opportunities are out there that you need to be aware of?

Who Owns Your Domain Name?

In late 2015, as the US Republican presidential primary was heating up (and getting nastier by the day) someone discovered that the website was redirecting to a page supporting then-candidate Donald Trump.

A similar fate was met by candidate Carly Fiorina when the site brought visitors to a page that criticized her performance when she was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

It should be noted that none of the candidates were involved in these sites - they weren't even the official sites for their respective campaigns - but by not securing ownership of the domain names - even if they never intended to use them - they left this "prime real estate" available for anyone who wanted to buy them to put up whatever content they wanted to.

You have to anticipate what domain names people might use to find out about you and your organization, and make sure you secure them, along with domains containing any common misspellings of the primary domain name.

And, while we're on the subject of domain names, make certain that you don't let any of yours expire - there are cases where this has happened; people have swooped in to grab up these newly available domains, and then "hold them hostage" by redirecting them to inappropriate content until the previous owners agree to pay exorbitant amounts to claim back what was once legitimately theirs.

Try to always ask "what if" questions to make sure you consider all the factors that can bring you new opportunities or cause disruption in your life.