Let’s face it 2020 is a very strange year. Most of us had an idea of what our business would do this year and then BAM!!!! Covid-19 hit, and we had to reimagine overnight. Some of you reading this may be in Laois / Offaly / Kildare where we are now in a new 2-week lockdown and are again having to relook at your business.
This is where brainstorming comes in. I use this regularly when I’m working with young people, but I call it Mind-Dumping which they seem to like better. It’s essentially the same thing – you get everything from your head onto paper and then process through it. One of the most important things to remember is that no idea is too off-the-wall or silly.
How to get started:
1. Set up an area where you can work – have plenty of pens, paper, post its, whiteboards, markers, whatever tools you want to use to do this. If you're like me and tend to prefer using a computer please, please try use pen & paper for this exercise. There's something about physically writing rather than typing which helps the brain download better.
2. Don’t go it alone – do it with a group. This could mean your life partner or friends, people who have vested interests in your business or simply people who are good at bouncing around ideas.
3. Start with thinking about why you want to go forward in business? What’s your purpose? This may be simply to pay the bills and fill time or perhaps you’ve kids and want to build up money for them to go to college or you want to retire early and enjoy life. Your ‘why’ needs to be something that will help motivate you to do your best not just do your job. Write your end goals in BOLD or on different colour post-its than the rest of your ideas so they really stand out and remind you of where you want to get to.
4. Let it all out – the mad and the bad, the crazy and the great. Remember what I said ‘no idea it too off-the-wall or silly’ but if it’s not out of your head you can fully expand it. Don’t critique / decipher / analyse as you go, the first part is simply getting it all out of your head so you can see clearly. Go wandering, dream big. I heard it said once that ‘if you’re dream doesn’t scare you then it isn’t big enough’. Don’t limit yourself by money / time / resources. Think about what you would do if these 3 things were no object. This process may take some time but it’s particularly important to set aside time to specifically do it.
5. If you're already in business, as opposed to starting a new business, have a think also about things you did in the past that didn't work - would they work now? Also what sets you apart from your competitors - do you go over and above in your service even though you're selling the same products. Can you sell your product / service in a different way?
6. Once this part is done then it’s time to filter / critique / analyse the ideas. It would be good to start with putting the ideas in order– some may be achievable in a shorter timeframe to others, some may be steppingstones to bigger ideas. Some will be completely logical and can be put into action immediately while others might need more resourcing. Use the SWOT analysis process (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) when looking at your ideas so analyse their suitability to your end goal.
7. Start developing your ideas further. What might they look like? For products you’re talking about their purpose, packaging, pricing, etc. For services, what problem can you solve for your customers? This will identify what resources are needed to proceed further. Now is a great time to look into these things with the government offering more assistance both financially and non-financially. Training courses are being offered in more accessible ways than ever before. Your Local Enterprise Office is a great start to find out more here.
If you would like some help in getting started then get in touch today on 087 415 1435 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org