The world is changing quicker than ever before and small businesses today need to take advantage of new products, services, marketing channels and tools – or risk getting left behind. Yet even the most agile of company owners can be plagued by this simple question: “How do I get the best new ideas for growing my business?” Sometimes a “big idea” is really just a series of smaller efficiencies garnered by better work methods, or more efficient time management. Think of the areas where you waste time: maybe collecting past due invoices or tedious hiring practices, inefficient time tracking for billing, expensive tech support, or a hundred other areas you could improve. Write them down. There’s probably an “app” for that.
So take your “wish” list of things bogging you down and start finding the solutions. Below are some ways to get the ball rolling to finding ideas to create a better use of your time, and most importantly, a better bottom line.
1. Look for cutting-edge high-ranking business advice sites (perhaps like this one) that are constantly reviewing and examining new ideas and showcasing new innovative offerings. Use Technorati to help you find these sites. Subscribe to the ones you’re interested in and pay attention.
2. Read and take note of the ways successful companies run their businesses. Nothing works better than learning by example. Can you emulate what they’re doing and how they’re doing it? Contact them and ask them their secrets. It works.
3. Find sites that offer deals on business related products and services. These sites gather interesting new business tools, make them cheaper to try, and explain exactly why they will help your business. At my company, BizSaves.com we actually see ourselves as, “Business Advice in the Form of Deals.” Also look at AppSumo, BizyDeals, Rapidbuyr or MarketSharing for ideas.
4. Find forums and blogs that relate to a topic you’re interested in and get involved. Ask direct questions. Then as you gather opinions and advice, ask other’s what they think about the advice.
5. Ask for good advice and new high quality ideas on Facebook and Twitter. Follow only high authority individuals who have lots of followers and are consistently putting out great information.
6. Be creative; ask friends and associates, business club members, etc. for sources of advice and/or outright advice and tips.
Finding big ideas is not difficult once you know where to look and what to look for. When you’re not focusing 100% on your core business, but instead doing “necessary” peripheral tasks, ask yourself this: “Is there a better way?”