You can’t always call a meeting with your employees to brainstorm ideas. Sometimes you’ve got to generate solutions or options on your own. Here are a few techniques to get your brain into a creative mode:
• Time machine. Imagine you’re facing the same problem or situation 100 years ago. What would your alternatives look like? Or send yourself 100 years into the future: What tools might be available for your use? Can you create them now?
• Reversal. Turn your problem around for a fresh perspective. Think about what a reasonable person would do with the situation, and consider what would happen if you tried the exact opposite.
• Gap analysis. Look at where you are and where you want to be. What steps are missing between those two points? Identify what would bridge the gap.
• Free writing. Sit down at the computer and start writing about the problem. Don’t censor yourself: Put down anything that comes into your mind, regardless of how alien to the topic it seems. After 15 minutes, take a look at what you’ve written. Much of it may be unusable, but you could find a good idea or two hidden in your words.
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Need something new? Different? Innovative? Here are four ways to charge workers’ creativity so they come up with more fanciful ideas:
• Brainwriting. Gather your employees. Have each person write down one idea, or solution, that he or she wants the group to consider. Then have individuals pass their idea to the next person, who adds his or her own thoughts and suggestions in writing. Continue until each person receives the paper on which he or she wrote the original idea. Then, as a group, explore and pick the best ideas.
• The worst idea. This technique helps employees overcome “creative performance anxiety.” Each person provides the worst possible idea to a given situation. Bad ideas get employees to see problems in a different way, thus paving the way to come up with breakthrough ideas.
• Mind excursions. Have each participant put him- or herself in the typical day of a target client or customer. Walking in the shoes of a customer helps employees identify feelings, situations, problems, and needs that can lead to new ideas and solutions.
• Great thinkers. This technique requires that participants put themselves in the mind of an innovative thinker, like Mozart or Marie Curie, or a superhero like Batman or Wonder Woman. Participants then approach a concept or problem from the thinker’s perspective. This can result in creative, innovative ideas.
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Shakira and I talk every day. Mostly about marketing, branding, web, public relations and topics revolving around them. We noticed that there was a pattern developing with many of the new and small businesses we encountered. That is, while they may be GREAT at their chosen profession, they did not know much about the topics we felt passionate about- marketing, public relations, the web, SEO, design, and we noticed that they tended to make the same marketing and branding errors over and over again.
During one conversion where we observed yet excited new entrepreneur making a ‘classic’ email blast error, we wished out loud that we could tell everyone we met about the basics of email blasts. Or marketing. Or branding. Or public relations. So we decided right then and there to create an audio product that new business owners can purchase and listen to over and over again on their mp3 players. There were outlines to be created, a little bit of additional research, music, voice overs, recordings to do, along with the creation of a sister e-commerce site! Whoa! Yes, we’ve been busy!
To that end, we are proud to announce the launch of our sister site: Best Business Mastery! It’s an e-commerce site where you can download and listen to informational audios instantly! Save time from reading and just add the mp3 files to your listening device and learn while you are at the gym or in your car commuting. We have also added an easy way to purchase limited quantities of consulting services from us, either via email or a simple telephone conversation. Perfect for the sole business owner, who needs someone to ‘bounce’ ideas off of and no one to turn to. We hope you enjoy these marketing tools, and find them useful for your business. To that end, we are offering a FREE audio download, “The 7 Notorious Deadly Sins of Small Businesses.” The audio system we’ve developed will change the way you do business today. Your Best Business Now (Vol. 1) highlights important strategies for successfully promoting your small business, including: Nearly three hours of three easy to understand programs with info on how to market your small business and compete in any economy. Learn the latest methods including email marketing, public relations, advertising, branding, web development and do-it-yourself technology that top U.S. companies use every day. Find out how-to attract and retain customers and clients.
We are already planning our next products for the site, and we look forward to hearing from you after you try our new products!
Hopefully the title has said it all. Today I received an email blast from a well known female business magazine located in New Jersey. Wanting to know more, I clicked through to their website, which was nice, informative and seemed to have some useful information targeted towards a female audience. I was curious how much they charged for banner advertising and what their traffic stats looked like, so I emailed them via the form on their site. The automatic response page included the following:
“Thank you, expect a responce within 2 working days.”
Uh, first of all…TWO WORKING DAYS? In this economy? I later reviewed and in small print, it said if I was interested in advertising, I might expect a response in one day…’might.’ This left me with the feeling that advertising wasn’t that important to them. Secondly, and if you haven’t guessed, but the word ‘response’ is spelled with an ’s’ not a ‘c.’ Which lead me to think that maybe they aren’t a ‘professional’ woman’s publication after all. I don’t have much more to say here, except to remind everyone to SPELLCHECK and proof your web sites. PLEASE. I’d write more, but I have to proof this now…