Siimon Reynolds, Forbes Contributor 11/07/2013 @ 7:41PM
The future of your business depends on just two abilities.
Firstly, being able to come up with excellent ideas to expand your business. Secondly to be good at implementing those ideas.
There are thousands of books and articles about the implementation part, but comparatively little about quality business idea generation.
Over the last 25 years I have made my living coming up with good business ideas and over time I developed a system that allowed me to do so quickly, efficiently and effectively.
Below is a quick, 10-step methodology that will allow you to speedily generate lots of different ideas for your company. Whether you’d like to conceive new income streams, fresh marketing concepts, breakthrough positioning strategies or novel product ideas, this system will get the job done.
Here’s how it works. Spend ten minutes on each of the questions below. During the ten minute period endeavor to come up with as many answers to each question as you can. Only after you have completed each question should you review your solutions.
At stage one it’s all about quantity – the more answers you come up with the higher your chances of generating something wondrous. Stage two is the sifting process – picking the gems and discarding the rest.
Follow this process and you’ll have no shortage of excellent ideas to use throughout your company.
QUESTION ONE: What’s Something I Could Do That’s Really Extreme?
This question forces you to think more laterally than most of us usually do. Often when we brainstorm, our ideas are merely tiny changes to what’s already there. The danger is that if we think too safe and small we often will end up with solutions that have no hope of making an impact. By choosing to conceive ideas that must all be extreme we have a chance of coming up with ideas that, with a little tweaking, could be something really special.
QUESTION TWO: What Could We Add To Something We Already Do To Make It More Extraordinary?
This question can lead to some wonderful ideas. By simply adding to an already successful concept you can take it into a totally different and vastly more profitable area. Is it not true that many of the most impactful concepts in your industry were only slightly better than what everyone else was doing? Take ten minutes to brainstorm additions to your existing best ideas, you may well be delighted by what you come up with.
QUESTION THREE: What Could We Strip Away From What We Already Do?
This is in many ways the opposite of the previous question. When you look at an existing product or industry you can often come up with something novel by just reducing the core idea to something simpler. For example when Bic produced the first mass produced disposable razor it was merely a simplified version of the traditional version. Toyota did the same with cars, decades ago. What could you strip away to create something more unique, novel or marketable?
QUESTION FOUR: What Ideas Could We Take From Other Industries and Apply To Ours?
It’s amazing how little cross pollination there is between industries. Yet one of the quickest ways to come up with a break though idea is to examine what other industries are doing and see if you can apply those concepts in your sector. For example software sales people could learn a lot from the best real estate sales people. TV writers could learn a whole range of new techniques from advertising writers. Don’t just navel gaze inside your own world – take a look at the industries around you and see how their old ideas could become your new ones.
QUESTION FIVE: What Could We Steal From Competitors and Make A Slight Change To?
Picasso said “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” Steve Jobs once remarked, “We are shameless about stealing great ideas.” If these so called original thinkers were happy to steal from their competitors, maybe you should consider it too. By stealing of course, I don’t mean outright IP theft, I am suggesting that you look at products and strategies your competition is using with success, alter them a little then try them yourself. Generally speaking, if they work for them they’ll usually work for you. A case in point; Indian Motorcycles has grown at breakneck speed in the last three years by copying many of the marketing strategies that have worked for Harley Davidson.
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So in summary, these ten questions have the potential to open the floodgates of your mind. I have used them for years to generate all manner of highly lucrative business concepts and directions. If you’re looking for a business break through, these questions could be the answer.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Siimon is a mentor to business leaders. He coaches numerous executives and entrepreneurs worldwide, via Skype. He also speaks internationally on maximising business performance. He has created several highly successful enterprises. His last company, Photon Group, grew from two people to over six thousand in just 8 years, with a stock market valuation of over 500 million dollars. He has been featured on 60 Minutes, Bloomberg, the Today show and in numerous magazine and newspaper articles. His latest book, ‘Why People Fail’, will be released in the U.S on October 17. If you are interested in being mentored by him, visit www.siimonreynoldscoaching.com