Monday, June 10, 2013

Big Ideas

June 7th was National Doughnut Day.  I hope you didn't miss it.  Places like Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons and more were giving away a free doughnut to celebrate.  The Salvation Army established this sweet holiday in 1938 to raise funds during the Great Depression and honor the “lassies,” as they called the female volunteers, who supported the soldiers on the front lines during World War I, serving them delicious meals, and of course, doughnuts.  Approximately 250 “lassies” provided assistance to American soldiers in France in 1917.

How does something as simple as a doughnut generate millions of dollars for Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme?  Sometimes, it is the simple ideas, along with great marketing and outstanding customer service that produces wonderful companies.  The key is to generate great ideas within your business to capitalize on.  Here are three tips (reminders) for producing some profitable ideas:

1.) Set aside "thinking time" once a week.  Actually, once a week is only a start.  The really wise business leaders carve out time daily for thinking.  This is the time to clear your mind of everything that needs to be done and simply sit and think.  It takes practice.  You may not come up with ideas during the first or even second and third session, but over time, your mind gets the hang of it and ideas begin flowing.  Be sure to write them down as they come.

2.) Start an "idea journal" to record all of your outstanding ideas, as well as your not-so-outstanding ones.  Journal every idea even if you think it is nonsense at first.  This journal is for your eyes only.  If you don't record all your ideas, you'll get in the habit of discounting most of them.  This is not good because many you may think at the time are not good, may turn out to be the big hitters.

3.) Get team members involved in idea generating.  Tap into the wealth of knowledge, creativity, imagination, and talent of your employees to bring forth new ideas for your business.  They may have seen that in addition to the wonderfully produced widgets, the business can also offer thingamajobs to go along with them.  Be sure to allow some think time for your team as well and encourage them to brainstorm ideas during company meetings, picnics, retreats, and outings.

Ideas come from many directions and many points.  Good ideas may just change your business altogether or provide an additional stream of income for the company. 

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