In every business, you will reach a point where you either innovate or lose out to your competition. In those situations, it's as simple as go big or go home.
Perhaps the situation isn't as dire (yet). Maybe you're just yearning to take your tour or activity business to the next level but aren't sure how. You just need one good idea to run with but you've yet to discover it.
Here are some tips to help you generate ideas to grow your business.
1. Get inspired
Look around you for inspiration. Whether it may be reading a book, going outdoors and doing an activity you love, or simply speaking to different people with different perspectives, inspiration for new ideas can only be found if you make the effort to look for it.
- Read about something that interests you - this doesn't have to exclusively be about business. Fiction or non-fiction, reading a book is a good way to expose yourself to new and interesting ideas to get inspired.
- Get outdoors, go for a walk, visit a museum or have your next meeting in a nearby coffee shop. A change in scenery can sometimes shift your mindset and thought process, which can in turn lead to fruitful discussions.
- Ask questions and listen to what people have to say. Strike up a conversation about something you've been pondering about and pay attention to what people have to say.
Draw inspiration and ideas from people around you by collaborating with them.
- Collaborate with team members. Involve different people from different aspects of your business. For example, get your guides involved in marketing meetings or your admin staff to join a sales project. Getting different perspectives to tackle a problem and contribute to a project can create outstanding results for your business.
- Collaborate with other businesses within or outside your industry. Work with another business to deliver unique tours or activities to a niche market. You could also strike up a long-term collaboration where you host a podcast series, cross sell services or host gatherings for business owners to meet up and talk proper business.
3. Structured exercises
Why not run your team through a few stuctured exercises to come up with new ideas? Here are a few exercises that you should try:
- Role play as your competitor - Apart from role playing as your competitor, challenge yourself to look at your industry through a different lens. Think of yourself as someone who could potentially disrupt the industry. What would you do and how?
- Use the “A Day in the Life” technique - Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and go through the actual motions from the moment you wake up until you fall asleep at night. What are some problems and challenges they might face? What would they be passionately interested in? Write down your ideas based on your insight.
- Free associate with “trend triggers” - In this article, Robert S. Siegel, ideator, innovator and founder of The Ideative Process said "there are dozens of trend sites where you can find out about different topics that are trending. Sites like Trendhunter.com, Mintel and Cassandra will help you make connections between your work and what’s going on in the world.” You need to find popular and trending topics in any given moment and then find ways to connect what you’re doing to the topics that people are currently interested in.
- Free word association - Pick 2 - 4 words at random and use them to craft a storyline, a marketing tagline, an idea for a blog post or even a sales pitch to your customers.
4. Write down 10 ideas each day
James Altucher is a writer, investor and author who advocates writing down 10 ideas a day, every single day. Why? To train your "idea muscle" as he calls it.
"No idea is so big you can’t take the first step. If the first step seems to hard, make it simpler. And don’t worry again if the idea is bad. This is all practice." - James Altucher
Here's a quick breakdown of his process:
- Get inspired before writing down your ideas. Read a book.
- Write down 10 ideas and them throw them away.
- If you find an idea worth exploring, think about the first step you'll take to execute the idea.
- Don't beat yourself up over bad ideas, remember that you're just training your "idea muscle" just like how you would train for a marathon.
- Not every idea has to be a business idea. Some examples include "10 industries I can remove the middle man", "10 alternatives to college", or "10 things I learned yesterday".
- Think about combining ideas together to create new and more exciting ideas.
- You only need 1 good idea, the other 9 don't have to be.
- Give away your ideas for free.
Not sure where to start? Check out our 100 practical ideas to grow your business!