Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Think Outside the Box as a Small Business

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The expression "Think outside the box," is synonymous with creativity, innovation and ideas. Everyone is looking for the next 'big idea' that could take a company from one among the crowd to leading the way to a whole new adventure. But as small business owners - we tend to think that in order to think outside the box - we have to have lots of...everything! We need more employees, more clients, more products and definately more money! Not true! Thinking outside the box is about fresh ideas and branching out from [your] normal mode of operation. You are perfectly primed to get your creative hat on BECAUSE you're a small business.

But here are some steps to get you out of the box.

Step 1 - Identify Opportunites
Opportunities lie everywhere you look in your business. Maybe it's your system of advertising, your style of customer service or the way you display your services. Start paying attention to your business flow and identify areas that are stale or where the 'same old, same old' isn't working like it used to.

Step 2 - Get Your Team Involved
Whether your business is made up of just you or a whole sales force - you have a team of people who support your business. This could include family, friends, managers, employees etc. These people want to see your business succeed. Get them involved in your crusade to think outside the box. Ask them to start thinking about areas that need work and encourage them to do so.

Step 3 - Focus on One Area
So now that you've been looking for opportunities for improvement - it's time to attack one. Pick an area or aspect of your business to focus on. Set a brainstorming meeting with your team and tell them the topic you guys are going to work on so they can hone their thoughts. Now your job is to focus on what you want to accomplish by attacking this one opportunity. Having a goal will help your team. If you want a different kind of customer - define who this person is. If you want to double the number of people who come to an event - be specific.

Step 4 - Unleash the Brainstorm
Get your team together and have a brainstorming session about how to improve your area of focus. Nothing is off the table here (unless it doesn't have anything to do with the opportunity). Don't worry about budget or the current system. No idea is a bad idea and brainstorming sessions tend to work better if the mood is light or funny. Give people crayons to write their ideas down. Print out a picture that illustrates your goal. Make your staff where goofy party 'thinking' hats. Sometimes it helps to have a word bowl (a bowl with random words written on pieces of paper) which can be picked from to stimulate new ideas - and possibly some humerous ones.

Step 5 - Practice & Polish
It make take some practice to hone the brainstorming skills of you and your team. Go for quantity versus quality. Get the creativity muscles working and the more you offer chances for unleashed ideas - the more easily they appear. Once you have your ideas - have a session that focuses on polishing a few of the good ones so that you can move towards implementing the idea into your routine.

1 comment:

  1. It is really one of the most important to have a small business. These are very good tips, it is really helpful and very useful. Thank your for this.

    Small Business Marketing