Ideas can bring about new products and services, lead to forming a business and solve our pressing problems and challenges.
But where do you find ideas?
How do you come up with ideas, especially if you’re in a hurry and need them like now?
Really, there are mainly three ways:
• You can wait until an idea comes but you could wait until it’s too late.
• You can observe what is going on around you and hope that an idea will suddenly come from nowhere.
• You can approach idea-generation in a structured way using proven techniques that will increase your chances of coming up with a great idea.
Ideas seem to come in the most unexpected moments: when you are in the shower, perhaps doing some household chore, driving your car, listening to the radio, reading a magazine or walking.
Often ideas come after some period of concentration – when you’re having a break from your laptop, studying a business report or even going over your expenses.
Small business owners find it hard enough to handle all the things they need to do during the day to keep their business running. Handling difficult customers, staff who don’t seem to understand instructions, suppliers with late deliveries.
Here are some techniques to come up with ideas that won’t take much of your time. Block out a half an hour or hour before work. Take a coffee break. Just find the time or make it.
• Questions are among the most potent tools. Ask yourself “What-if?”, “Why not?”, “Why?” and “Could we do it better?”. Write your problem into a question then come up with 20 solutions quickly. Challenge assumptions: “If we add these accessories to our offer, how would they change the value proposition for our customers?”
• Observe in close detail. Look for small but important changes in your customers, suppliers, other companies, competitors. Go observe your customers using your product or service.
• Listen to what your customers are complaining about and other people’s gripes. This has been the seed idea for the start of many a business. Especially when someone says, “I wish I had a Rand (dollar) for every time a customer asked me for that”.
You’ll soon find out what works best for you. But try different techniques. Even a lunch with a friend can spark fresh ideas. Don’t wait. New ideas are vital in this challenging economy.
If you have enjoyed this article and wish to find out more, please let me know how I may be able to help.