How do you get new ideas? This is a question I’ve often been asked, but there’s no one simple answer. Flowers and plants grow when the soil is fertile, not when it’s hard like clay. So will your ideas grow from your mind when it’s open and full of knowledge.
I don’t mean only knowledge from school, but also knowledge from life and observation. Be aware of what’s going on around you and in other businesses. Be a sponge for information and have a big appetite for knowledge wherever you can find it. Learn from others—question why they are doing something different and think of how you can apply this to your business.
You’ll get many ideas daily or weekly, and you need to sort them out to determine which ones to put into practice. The first step is to write down any ideas so you don’t forget them. Often another idea will come into your mind, take over, and bump out the previous one. You need to assess all your ideas, so keep track of them. When you’re ready to qualify ideas for a new product or service, ask these questions:
- Is it an original idea?
- Is there a specific need for it?
- Will it be affordable to buy?
- Will it be affordable to implement?
- Can it be perfected in a reasonable time?
- How long will it take to be profitable?
- How long before it will become obsolete?
- Who or what is the target market?
- How quickly can the competition react?
- How much will it cost to promote?
- How should it be marketed?
Don’t think that you never get any ideas, because you do. Recognizing them and using them is what really matters in your
business. Keep abreast of what’s going on in the business world by reading or scanning business publications and journals. If you don’t want to subscribe to them, most are available at the library. Your industry trade publications and newsletters will show you changing market trends and give you ideas using those changes.
And believe it or not, watching TV commercials will give you insight into what the bigger companies are doing and give you ideas for how you can jump on the trend or counter it.
Make three files for your ideas—one for now ideas, another for later ideas, and a third for questionable ideas. When you have time to try an idea, go to the appropriate file.