All good businesses start with an idea. But to press on, and to be able to pivot with what the times bring, requires a steady stream of ideas. Blogging and finding new ways to reach your audience can also require ideas.
These ideas are the lifeblood of business, and coming up with good ideas is no small feat. It can be frustrating, and people can often become blocked. Below are nine strategies for keeping those ideas flowing – even when you may feel blocked or frustrated. Sometimes all we need is a slight tweak to our routine.
Here are 9 ways to develop good ideas:
1. Talk with new people
Do you have a mentor? Are you in a mastermind group? Do you have people you go to when you typically feel stuck on a certain problem? Talk with these people and seek out a new perspective. But you don’t have to stop there. Start cultivating a list of people you’d like to connect with and take that first step. This isn’t the time to be shy. Reach out and see how you might be able to benefit each other.
2. Change of place
I fully admit it, I am a creature of habit. I do have a home office, but I often feel isolated there. So I do a lot from a nearby coffee shop. My pastor is fond of saying: “Change of place plus change of pace equals a change of perspective.” He’s not wrong. Even if it’s once a month, or once a quarter, go find somewhere new to work. Maybe save it for a day when you are concentrating on your own business, or have a project you’re feeling particularly stuck on.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
3. Don’t be afraid of your bad ideas
Some people are naturally good at developing good ideas. But you know what they have even more of? Bad ideas. That’s right. They just aren’t necessarily shared. Don’t be afraid of an idea that isn’t a quick home run. Just always be generating ideas in general. The good ones will come, and your gut will tell you which ones to stick with.
James Altucher writes constantly about the idea of jotting down 10 ideas a day. Not all of these are winners, and not all will take your business or your life to the next level. But if you’re not writing them down, the ones that might just change your life or improve the lives of others around you will elude you as well. Learn how to silence your inner critic.
4. Take in everything
Read books both inside and outside your industry. Read books that will help you grow as a person. Use your drive time for podcasts or audiobooks. This is how you keep up with the world, and this is how you learn. A variety of media will keep you from becoming one-dimensional.
Networking does more than just place you in front of prospective customers. It places you in front of people who have a firm grasp on how you can improve your business. Make sure you utilize the fresh perspectives on your business.
“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.” – Armstrong Williams
6. Consider where your industry will be
An NFL quarterback is not throwing passes to where his receiver is currently on the field. He is throwing passes to where his receiver will be. The current state of your industry may not be the state that your industry will be in five years down the road. Think of future-oriented ideas to keep your mind and your business moving in the right direction.
7. Talk with your customers
You can’t just spout off about all the best product features. You need to be thinking of the benefits, and how your business solves customer problems. Who better to help you address what those are than your customers themselves? Have some in depth conversations with your customers. They’ll let you know what some of those benefits might be.
8. Make an existing product or service better
What do you do better than the competition? What process can you improve upon? Finding ways to improve on existing products, services or industry standards can be a great way to help your business stand out.
9. Always be looking for new cages to rattle
Life can become a little stagnant when we get comfortable and follow the same routines. If your traditional methods for finding new work, or selling your services aren’t working, find new ways. Maybe your SEO strategy isn’t working, so you’ll need to go to face-to-face.
Sometimes your face-to-face isn’t working so you’ll need to land in front of new people. Think of new ways to bring in more business, and the ideas should keep flowing.