How to Generate New ideas For Your Business

If you’re a business owner or work for a small business, then you already know just how important it is to never stop innovating. Whether that means adding new features to your product, expanding your product line, or keeping up with emerging trends, we all need to stay ahead of the curve so we don’t get left behind. However, generating new ideas for your business can be easier said than done. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start! Here are some concrete ways to explore how you can improve your business, and keep the ideas flowing.

What could you add to something you already offer to make it exceptional?

You’ve probably had a few thoughts that have started with “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could…” This question can lead to some amazing ideas. Kick off your brainstorming process but don’t limit yourself to thinking in the box of what you can maybe achieve in a week, month, or even a year. Sometimes an entertaining whim can turn into an idea that can transform your company, turn into a unique selling point, and differentiate you from the competition.

For example, if you run a gym, you could host a weekly event to delight your customers and encourage them to bring their friends. Offer a free, fun and unique class like an aerial silk class, or hip-hop yoga, or an obstacle course, and maybe throw in some refreshments for after the class! This can give you the opportunity to increase customer retention, increase loyalty and reduce churn, and promote your gym to potential new business.

If you own a design agency, try hosting an annual one-day event where your employees create promotional materials for a local charity pro bono. This allows your employees to build their portfolios with the results of their own creative direction, and give back to the community at the same time. As the cherry on top, it can also strengthen your company culture and the beneficiaries of your event can turn into paying clients in the future.

Analyze aspects of your business that bother you, your co-workers, and your customers.

Take even the most remarkable company, and employees as well as customers will have their gripes. There are many possibilities when you channel those frustrations and negative feedback and try to alleviate those concerns. Business ideas are constantly being developed due to someone experiencing something frustrating, including JotForm.

Back in the day in 2006, Jotform’s CEO, Aytekin Tank, was annoyed at work when he had to code out online forms, which was time-consuming and boring. There wasn’t anything available at the time to help this pain point, so he worked to create that solution. This workflow is also at many levels of product and service improvement.

If you’re a home and office cleaning service, perhaps you’ve found that scheduling with an account manager or back and forth with emails and phone calls is annoying and prone to human error. A solution could be using or creating an online system where clients could schedule in the times, dates, and frequencies that they’d like your service (the obvious answer coming from us: use Jotform to allow clients to easily select and customize their desired service schedules).

Analyze the search feature on your website and look for gaps. What are people looking for that you don’t already provide? A wealth of information can be found in your support tickets, survey submissions, and other communications that come from your existing and potential customers. Frequent complaints and common requests can be prioritized for optimal outcome.

Familiarize yourself with the competitive landscape.

Part of staying ahead of the game is keeping a pulse on what’s happening in your industry and space, including your competitor’s product offerings and new features. Learn about how your offerings stack up against your competitors, including what you do well versus where they shine, and where you can improve versus what your competitor’s shortcomings are. Use your competitor’s advantages as inspiration, and make sure that if you do emulate something that they’re doing, make sure that you’re doing it better and with your company’s personal spin.

You can gather insightful data by doing a competitive analysis, and surveying customers to find out what made them choose your company over the competition. By figuring out where your company fits into the landscape and market share, you can make better decisions on where to prioritize resources and how you can better carve out your niche. For example, if you have more of X than all of your competitors, play to your strengths and offer even more of what sets you apart positively.

How do you generate new ideas for your business? Does your company use any unique methods that you’d like to share?

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An avid writer, she has contributed to sites including Entrepreneur and Social Media Today. A Bostonian and University of Miami alum, she loves traveling, trying new foods, and drawing & crafting.

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