How to improve your business with a few simple ideas
A few weeks ago I looked at the older of my two apple apple trees and couldn’t believe my eyes. In the 30+ years we’ve lived in our house, the old tree has always produced green cooking apples… until this year that is!
I have absolutely no idea why they have turned red. (Was it because we watered the tree during the heatwave?) For what it’s worth, I’m enjoying nature’s innovative surprise. Particularly as these cooking apples are also sweeter than usual!
Of course your business will always surprise you too. But how? Perhaps the new project that at first you didn’t give much of a chance is starting to pay off. Or someone tells you they’ve read your latest blog post and now want to work with you. (And you had been wondering whether blogging might be a waste of time!)
Or maybe you’ve just had a brand-new idea for a product or service that you are dying to bring to fruition. New ideas often spring from something you or someone else has done that either has or hasn’t worked.
Business owners who want to succeed (whatever that may mean for you) need to pay attention. You always want to tune in to what’s going on in your industry and with your potential customers. And ideally you want to be one step ahead of everyone else. When you’re open to all this learning, seeing ideas and opportunities will be easy!
Improve your business with the right actions
Here are three questions to get the process started. Write the answers on a piece of paper so you don’t forget.
- What recent business or marketing activity has proven to be ineffective?
- What project hasn’t worked well (and is unlikely to work better) that you ought to drop?
- Where or when are you (as the business owner) not making the most of your time? For example, what do you dislike doing? Can you ditch or delegate it and replace it with more of what you are good at?
The above questions will help you to clear out the old. This will enable you to free the way forward and consequently improve your business too.
And the next five questions will help you to come up with new ideas and opportunities to improve your business:
- What has worked well up to now that you want to do more of?
- What do you feel most excited about that also has potential to add value to your business (and your customers)?
- What can you see working for your competitors that you could do much better?
- What are your competitors not doing yet that could point to a gap in the market – a gap you could address! For example, could you create a new add-on service to something you are already offering? It would certainly help you to differentiate yourself. (Important for service providers who have a lot of competition, e.g. Life or Business Coaches)
- And closer to home… which previous customers or clients would come back to you if you knew exactly what they need most right now? Maybe now is the time to reconnect with them?
Again write the answers on your piece of paper or in a notebook. By now you should have lots of new ideas.
At this point you may want to separate the simpler ideas from the brand-new or more complex ones. To launch a brand-new service or product takes time and you probably want to dedicate a special planning day for this. (You can always put a day in the diary now.) That way you can think it though in more detail at an appropriate time.
Let‘s focus your attention first on how best to achieve quick results in the short term.
To be innovative you may not always have to launch something brand new.
On a very simple level, the easiest way to improve your business can be to let go of what doesn’t work and do more of what does. Or even just tweak your approach with something you’ve been doing already.
So perhaps it’s time to revisit your answers to my first questions?
Remember… even seemingly simple changes can have a stunning effect and surprising results (think red apples)!
Do you have any other questions that might help readers come up with more new ideas? Why not share them below?