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March 2, 2015 | Growth and Expansion

How Does Your Small Business Generate New Ideas?

When you first start a business, every day can bring something new and innovative to your business. But what if you run a more established small business? Wouldn’t you benefit from some new ideas as well? Here are four ways you can bring innovation back to your brand.

Open Up the Floor

Don’t get the wrong idea that you as the business owner are the only one who can come up with great ideas for your company. If you’ve got staff, their ideas are often great — and sometimes better than anything you could come up with.

Hold monthly brainstorming sessions and encourage their bright ideas. Let your team know that you value their opinions, and show that by implementing some of their ideas. They’ll soon start coming to you with their thoughts, now that they know you’re really listening.

Get Out of the Office

For me, my best ideas happen when I’m not at work. That lightning bolt might happen when I’m on a run or watching my kid’s ball game. When an idea comes, I make sure to jot it down so I don’t forget my genius thought.

If you’re trying to work through a difficult problem, get out of the office. Go for a walk or drive, and don’t try to think directly about the problem. You’d be surprised at what comes up as soon as you let go.

Let Go of The Bad Ideas

Sometimes we’re emotionally attached to bad ideas, and we’re not willing to let them go until they make us bleed money. Try to be objective about every idea you take action on, and separate your emotions from the outcome. That way, it’ll be easier to discard the bad ideas and focus on the good ones.

Find Inspiration in Surprising Places

Sometimes seeing what your competition is up to can inspire you to come up with new ideas. What are they overlooking that you can swoop in and offer? How are they missing connecting with your audience?

But the obvious isn’t the only place to look for inspiration. Look at brands outside of your industry and see how they operate. Here’s a good example: Chipotle restaurants. They’re “slow” fast food, meaning it takes a few minutes to get your food, so they’re not competing with Taco Bell for speed. But their attention to quality is impressive. You might take inspiration from the fact that there are only about 5 items on the menu. Simplicity. Don’t overwhelm the customer with too many choices.

See where something unexpected takes you in terms of how to apply it to your own brand.

Innovation gets rid of stagnation. You need to continue to generate new concepts in order to stay relevant in your marketplace and continue to grow your business.

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