Just like a spring garden, your small business needs rich, growing medium and a generous quantity of seeds to ensure that something sprouts and becomes new growth. Somehow in the midst of the demanding, exhausting, and challenging days running your business, you need to find time for developing ideas, testing them out, and implementing them.
Because without growth, the best you can hope for is staying where you are. Is that what you want?
On the other hand, take one of these three approaches, and your little seeds are almost guaranteed to sprout:
1. Get the Growth Attitude. Open your eyes and open your mind if you are ready to take your business to another level. Ideas are all around you, and when your mind is ready, you will start to notice them. “I am constantly amazed at what fresh ideas surface when I travel to unfamiliar places,” wrote Lisa Nirell, Chief Energy Officer of EnergizeGrowth, in a newsletter.1
She quotes Alan Weiss, a mentor who runs the Summit Consulting Group, as saying, “When I thought this was all about dollars and cents, I made money. When I realized it was about value, I made a career. When I realized it was about my place in the world, I created communities.”2
2. Set Yourself up for Ideas to Roll in. Collaborate with people who have energy and contacts. This is a strategy for being present when the ideas crop up. How do you do this? Adam Toren and his brother Matthew, in their book “Small Business, Big Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right,” recommend surrounding yourself with people who have succeeded in their own businesses.3
Go out into the business community and network, they suggest. You’ll have to figure out what to offer the advisors in return for their service, but you will likely get some great ideas from these collaborators.
3. Make Implementation Easy. You’re not using all your best assets if you don’t ask for your employees’ input when you’re seeking the seeds of a new idea that will result in your company’s growth. Pull your whole team together and lay out your vision for your company. Then, be prepared to do a lot of listening. In an article in the Harvard Business Review, entrepreneur Julie Gilbert suggests asking questions that help the team members stay engaged.
Ask your team questions like, “How would we differentiate in the market against competitors and come out financially strong?” She believes that if you lay proper groundwork and ask good questions about the solutions people suggest, you will get “big ideas that reinvent the future.”4
For more information, visit:
1. Lisa Nirell, EnergizeGrowth
2. Alan Weiss, Contrarian Consulting
3. Matthew & Adam Toren; Small Business, Big Vision
4. Julie Gilbert, “Need Growth Ideas? Ask Everyone” from Harvard Business Review