Ideas – Sorting Out The Good From The Bad

Even though it is several lifetimes ago since I was at school I still get that “Back to School” feeling in September and I always find that taking time now, after my summer break, to review my business is far more productive than it ever is in January so I have been spending time this week making plans for my business.

Looking Back

My starting point is always to look to see how my business has changed over the past year. A successful business will be constantly moving – some developments will be very obvious but others will be more subtle but when I look back over the past year I want to see significant developments compared to this time last year.

…but more important is to Look Forward

What I am most concerned about though is what I want to do in the next year – the ideas I have and how and when I am going to implement them.

Generating Ideas

I always have ideas for how to improve and grow my business – some of these are creative concepts to develop the magazines or for a new marketing activity; others are ways to improve my processes – design, print, distribution and all the other myriad of activities that go on behind the scenes.

But of course ideas don’t arrive to order

If I had had to sit down this week with a blank piece of paper and list ideas nothing would have happened because you often have your most most creative thoughts when you are not actively thinking about them – perhaps when you are driving or you wake up at three in the morning!

My solution to this is very obvious – I write them down; straight away as they occur throughout the year – but in a specific place. I have an A4 Day Book that I write notes in when working and my back page is where I list all my ideas.

The Problem…

… though is that many of these “amazing” ideas won’t work or are just (in the cold light of day!) not very good, but hidden amongst them will be some gems.

So how do you identify the ideas that will really help your business?

Thinking them through

Ideas need to be thought through – and I use the word “thought” deliberately.

At this initial stage you don’t need to put pen to paper or start producing plans and spreadsheets you just need to spend some time thinking through each idea.

How could I implement it?

What impact would it have on the rest of my business?

Can I improve it?

Does your initial thought in fact lead you to an alternative and better idea?

But of course we are all busy so finding time to do this is difficult however I have a unique solution that I use:

Every morning I “walk” to work, but I use the word “walk” metaphorically as I what I really mean is: the alarm goes off, I get out of bed, put my trainers on and stumble downstairs to the treadmill.

I hate the treadmill with a vengeance – it is soooo boring – but it has to be done as I spend far too long sat at my PC… and I have read too many articles in my magazines from Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Chiropractors about the need to keep moving!

So I use this time to think through any ideas I have for my business ( I also use it to plan out these emails, rehearse my networking one minutes etc).. and even better it means that the thirty minutes I am on the treadmill flies by!

I am sure you all have your equivalent of my time on the treadmill when you can think about your business.

I never worry about writing anything down at this stage because you need to let your thoughts develop in the background whilst you get on with the rest of your day but I will then go over it all again over the next few mornings.

Many ideas get discarded throughout this process – that is good – but at some point I will end up with a great idea that also translates into a workable plan and that is when I will note down the key points in the back of my book.

Some ideas can be implemented straight away but in my situation, when the actual running of my business (design/print /distribution) takes up so much time, generally I have to plan and schedule things in.

So this week when I sat down to review what I am going to be doing over the next year I had a great list of ideas already thought through to consider and I simply now need to find the time to implement them – now that’s the difficult bit!

This entry was posted in Networking Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.