In my last blog post I mentioned the inspiration I receive when having a genuinely engaged talk with clients. It truly is a challenge to then come up with new ideas – to listen to their needs and craft a new solution or alternative to what has been tried in the past. The same comes up when you are looking for new topics to write about for your ongoing blog and social media sites – or when you look for new markets to service and how you could approach them. Not that you have to come up with the “next big thing” that will solve all of humanity’s problems, but you do want to offer a different perspective or hopefully something unique within their market.
So how is that we can find these new ideas? I would suggest a few opportunities that are available to all of us…
- Reading! It can be hard to find the time for this in our busy lives, and yet there is no better way to find out what others are doing and to get examples of success stories. When reading industry publications, business magazines, white papers, blogs or even biographies from inspirational leaders, we can often pick up ideas that can be adapted to our own needs, or those of our clients. Through the use of news feeds we can streamline the time it takes to search out specific topics and get straight to what we need. And through services like LinkedIn Pulse or other similar options, you can easily follow the thought leaders.
- Membership – in trade associations, your local chamber of commerce, networking groups, community organizations, etc. All of these can be an invaluable resource for you to get ideas from other members – to network and learn from them or to get information through the organization’s publications. I often read of what others are doing within the print industry to help their clients, which gives me something to try myself. Interestingly membership groups are finding it a struggle to hold onto their members, and in attracting new ones – especially of the millennial generation, and yet this can be a powerful tool to gain insight and one we should all embrace.
- Peer Groups – a much smaller and often times more closely related resource to your own organization’s focus, they can provide feedback on ideas you have and help refine something before you act on it.
- Focus Groups – looking for feedback on ideas you might have for a client? Try reaching out to their clients along with them to judge interest or find potential roadblocks. Or here is an idea that you could actually propose to your clients… seek out focus groups of their potential prospects and invite them to give feedback – if they find it worthwhile, you might have just secured new business on behalf of your client!
- Brainstorming Sessions – don’t feel like you have to come up with all the ideas yourself! Engage 3 or 4 of your team members to join in and talk about what it is you are looking to accomplish – no right or wrong thoughts, just ideas. Write them down, or perhaps even record them. Start with the question from Mike Rayburn’s book… What If?
- Vendors – as I had also mentioned in my last blog post, don’t forget those whose jobs it is to help us! They might well have samples that can give you inspiration and options that you had not considered.
We all find ourselves constantly challenged to create! How is it that you find ideas?