Generating new and fresh ideas is paramount to running a successful home business. Ideas are needed for developing, marketing and advertising your products or services, and used for resolving different problems you may encounter.
If you think you’re in a rut, below are four ways to find ideas that can help improve your home business.
1. Tap your customers.
If you’re in need of new ideas for your business, look no further than your customers. Your customers may have important ideas on how to improve your product offering it may be additional type of service they need that you can add in your portfolio, a better design of your product, or additional content they need in your information-based website.
In fact, big companies are routinely looking towards their customers to help them come up with new ideas or validate the ideas they already have. Ideas from customers allowed them to cut on their research costs and time, and resulted in higher acceptance levels for new products. Using techniques such as focus groups or customer feedback surveys, they engage their customers in order to solicit fresh ideas for their businesses. The design from GM’s new Hummer H2 was a result of collaboration between interested buyers and designers. Dannon USA, makers of yogurt products, sent an email survey to 40,000 consumers asking for must-have features for their product, resulting in the new product line Carb Control.
2. Seek out like-minded entrepreneurs.
Sometimes, there is truth to the saying two heads are better than one. You may find other entrepreneurs who are willing to collaborate with you on new projects, let you join them on their existing ventures, or simply provide feedback to you regarding your market.
You can find other like-minded entrepreneurs in various discussion forums focusing on your niche, trade shows, seminars or even chat rooms. Communicating with other business people can help stimulate your mind and develop new ideas. Even better, your networking and collaboration may result to joint projects that will result in additional revenue stream, without exhausting too much of your time or energy.
3. Check out competitors.
Like many home business owners, you may be focusing solely on your own operations, ignoring what s happening with your competitors. However, by not keeping track on what your competitors are doing, you may miss out on great opportunities with your competitors leaving you in the dust. Yes, your competitors can give you a lot of ideas. From new products to new way of reaching out to the same target audience, competitors can offer a fresh perspective to your business. They can show you different ways of doing things, or ways your own operations can be improved.
The Internet has made the task of checking your competitors easier. Make it a habit to periodically visit your competitors website to check out their current product offerings, their prices, their special features, or any other aspect of their website. Pay close attention to what is working well for your competitor and innovate! The key is not to copy exactly what they do (or you may run into some nasty copyright or trademark lawsuits), but take what they do to the next level. Create your own product instead by improving on your competitors ideas.
4. Read, read and read.
Books, magazines, websites, newspapers, e-books and other reading materials all contain tips and ideas that you can use for your business. Make it a point to read something everyday. A case study outlining how one company improved on their customer relations may provide you with ideas that you can use in your own business. An autobiography of a self-made millionaire may give you new passion and vigor that your business needs.
Whether you are gearing up for a new business or modifying an existing product, you need to be on a constant lookout for fresh ideas. Take time to evaluate what you are doing, and get your customers engaged in the process. Look, listen and read at what others are doing and pick up what you can successfully adapt in your business. Inspiration can come to you while listening to a business audiotape or even while sitting on a bus.
So get your pen and little notebook handy for fresh ideas that come to your mind. Remember, ideas are everywhere and it is up to you to grab and use it!
Recommended Books on How to Find Ideas:
- The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen
- IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea
- One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work
- How to License Your Million Dollar Idea: Cash In On Your Inventions, New Product Ideas, Software, Web Business Ideas, And More
- How Strategic Collaboration Can Benefit Your Business
- Key Elements of a Successful Information Website
- Do You Know Your Competitors?
- Top 10 Ecommerce Mistakes
- Starting an Interior Design Business