Reading Between the Lines

By Frank Traditi

Sometimes the answer is right under your nose.

Articles published in newspapers, magazines, journals, and websites can be an invaluable source for advancing your career. Think of them as a roadmap to helping you get the job you want or potential new clients.

Your roadmap starts by reading between the lines to find these hidden opportunities. I'll share with you one of the ways I read articles that might open your eyes to what lies within.

First, I put my private investigator hat on. Playing the role of private investigator puts me in the mindset of looking for clues. Clues that will help me grow my business, find potential new partners, and uncover what could be lucrative employment and new business opportunities for some of my clients.

I enjoy reading articles that feature a specific company or report on an industry. These profiles often tell a story. They will highlight successes, failures, performance, new products, growth, and other newsworthy items. Each time I read an article like this I'm constantly asking the question, "What immediate opportunities or challenges are they facing and what can I do with this information?" Here's an example of how this might work:

I came across an article with the catchy headline:

"Peaberry poised to pour some competition Starbucks' way"

The very first paragraph put my brain into gear. The reporter wrote that Peaberry Coffee is about to launch a franchise program that will increase it's number of locations from 23 to 500 by 2010. That's over a 2000% growth rate in just six short years. Do you think there might be some opportunities or challenges associated with this?

The article went on to mention Peaberry Coffee received regulatory approval to offer franchises in Colorado, California, Texas, Utah, and Arizona.

Here are some possible clues for opportunity:

  • They might need regional sales managers to sell franchises. A management team to run them.
  • Marketing research experts to understand the territory and marketplace. A new and upgraded computer network, point of sale system, and HR information systems to handle the significant growth.
  • Training managers and trainers to work with the employees of the new franchises and get them up to speed in each new market.
  • Real estate professionals who know how to pick the most profitable locations. Interior and exterior store designers.
  • Buyers to negotiate big bulk food and supplies.
  • All of those people to work in each new store.
  • Another section of the article spoke of Peaberry landing a wholesale contract to supply 160 military bases worldwide.

Here's what clues came to mind:

They might need people with military expertise to help manage the complexities of working with a military base.

Peaberry has no international presence. Might they need someone who understands international business and all its complexities? I see a entire department of people.

All the staff to run this department.
People who have experience with international trade, export taxes, shipping, and anything to do with moving product between countries.

From two short paragraphs in an article, it's possible to uncover enormous opportunity for employment and new business. There were also direct quotes from top management throughout the article. Actual names of people you could talk to about your ideas.

So, the next time you read an article, put on your private eye gear and get to work.

Go get 'em Sherlock.

Copyright © 2005, Frank Traditi

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