Finding the big idea to reboot your business.
Published: May 27, 2020

There’s never been a better time to unearth the big idea that will help solve the issues you’re currently facing. Businesses have many problems right now, in multiple areas – cash flow, talent, customer retention, production, sales, operations, marketing. Is the strategy you had in place two months ago capable of dealing with these, successfully driving your business through the next three months? We guess not. You need to think differently to both survive and thrive.

So what’s so vital about finding a new idea? A fresh approach can galvanise you and your team. It can bring excitement at a time of despondency. It can show your customers and employees you’re taking positive action to deal with the issues you face. It can open up new opportunities. It can forge new relationships with other companies. And ultimately, when the tide turns, it will put you in a stronger position to move forward and increase the value of your business.

Great ideas are as rare as an empty in-box. But they’re out there, and with the right amount of effort they can be unearthed. Whatever issues you’re facing, the most important first step is to avoid procrastination, and act. Here are some suggestions of ways to find the idea you’re looking for.

Seven ways to unearth that big idea.

1. Have a clear brief.

The simplest way to get thinker’s block is to not have a brief, or worse still, a bad one. You can’t come up with an idea if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The best way to approach any brief is to write down clearly the problem that needs solving – we need to find a fresh way to keep customers engaged at a times when our stores are closed; how do we stop our over-reliance on one major supplier at such a tempestuous time; how do we keep our key talent happy and engaged; how can we diversify our operations; are there other businesses we could acquire or partners who can help us build value? Whatever problem you’re facing it’s vital to set it out clearly and simply. Only then can you begin to solve it.

2. Prioritise.

You may have a lot of fires to put out right now. Concentrate on the one that will make the most difference. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when faced by a long list of problems and end up doing nothing, or try to deal with them all at once. By focusing on the most important one first, you can begin to build traction, and confidence. Do less, and obsess.

3. Have a brainwave, not a brainstorm.

An idea comes from one brain, not twenty. Yes, other brains may improve and refine the idea, but one person gives birth to it. Brainstorms rarely produce the big change you’re looking for. To unearth an idea get your best people on the case. Then meet up online. The idea may not be fully formed. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but if it’s a good one, you can all sit down and fine tune it.

4. Lessons can be learned.

Thoedore Roosevelt said –

“The more you know about the past,
the better prepared you are for the future.”

By looking back at what other business owners have done, you can learn from both their successes and their failures. Find out what other owners did in the dot.com and 2008 recessions, and how they came through these difficult times. Although many are facing unprecedented problems, there are methodologies, ideas, approaches from the past that will help you today.

5. Develop a creative culture.

Have you created an environment where ideas can flourish? Many of us are home-working right now. So what can you do to ensure ideas keep coming. Are your online meetings giving you the outcomes you’re after? Is your business geared up to developing ideas? Are people encouraged to come forward with new thinking? Do you incentivise your team to find ways to make your business better and to get through the next three months? Are you trying to do all the problem solving yourself? Questions worth asking. A creative culture should be built and embedded in your business.

6. Keep an open mind.

A new idea can be scary. It may take your business into unchartered waters, moving you several miles outside your comfort zone. But that’s not to say it’s wrong. It may just take some getting used to. In fact, if an idea’s ground-breaking, it will definitely take some getting used to. So don’t be too quick to give an idea the thumbs down. Sleep on it. Road test it with people you trust. Get as much feedback as you can. But don’t be too quick to close it down. It could be the idea that solves the big problem you’re facing.

7. Stick at it.

Just because an idea hasn’t come, doesn’t mean there’s not one coming. Resilience is one of the most important traits of all business owners. There will be knock backs. There will be frustration. You can guarantee it. But the rewards are there for those who persevere and keep looking.

A big idea has the power to transform a business. It can re-energise both you and your company. It can motivate your team and your customers. It can show the world you’re not resting on your laurels. It can mean the difference between stagnation and growth. It can help deal with the current problem you’re facing. It’s worth looking for.

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