Any enterprise knows that brilliant ideas can come from any direction. Maybe it’s directly from the CEO, a team member, a sales representative or a customer. While these ideas can make a world of difference for your company, the truth is that it can also create a lot of disruption and disorganization if not planned properly.
In order to ensure that these ideas don’t get lost in the mix and make it from an idea to actualization, consider these six crucial steps.
Hone in on the idea
It’s common for big ‘a-ha’ moments to come to company leaders, but these epiphanies are only scratching the surface. A general idea is a great start, but it doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t able to identify clear goals and put them into action. In order to start off on the right foot, try to hone in on your idea to make it as specific as possible with step-by-step objectives. Lay out all of your ideas in one cohesive place, and try to break the main idea into smaller pieces that show exactly what needs to happen every step of during execution. While this can seem tedious in the beginning stages, it’s important to make your idea come to life through visual display or active description. Putting our idea and execution plan will not only sharpen your vision it will inspire you to move forward with the right mindset.
Use your customers’ input
Of course, business ideas can serve various purposes, but they’re typically meaningless if they have no value to the end customer. In order to ensure that that the new product or service is best suited for your target audience, ensure that you have the right customer data that will tell you what their greatest frustrations, concerns, and motivations are with your products. In order to test how successful your product will be, you can choose to iterate the product until you have product-market fit (via your sales success), organize focus groups in before product development, or run customer and prospect surveys (before and after product launch). Ultimately, having accurate customer insights will help shape your idea into a product or service that will sell and benefit your company in the long-run.
Consider bringing on partners
Although it’s common to turn inside the company when needing help, an outside advisor who can help you move the project forward can also be extremely valuable. Your idea can be a world-beater, but if you lack the right experience or resources to make it come to life (technical or otherwise), this skills gap will elongate the go to market process and potentially halt it altogether. Reach out to colleagues or other experts in your industry who you think can assist you, whether it’s through consulting or hands-on help. This communication can make a world of difference.
Involve other team members
A lot of the time, the right people for the job are right under your nose. Be sure to ask for input from those working in various departments in your company, even if it’s places you wouldn’t normally turn to – customer service, sales, or operations, for example. They might notice certain aspects of the process that you wouldn’t, and taking their ideas into consideration can make a big difference in your planning process.
Create a business case study around your new idea
It’s hard to move big ideas forward if you don’t know (or have good reason to think) that they’ll produce a substantial value to your organization. In order to prove to investors and team members that the idea is worth pursuing, build a business case that will demonstrate how the project will increase company efficiency, reduce costs, improve your brand recognition, increase retention, and add value to your end customer.
Timing is everything
Just because you have a fantastic idea today doesn’t mean that it has to be pursued today. While some projects are time-sensitive, the majority of the time, they can be put on hold until the right plan has been formulated. As a company leader, it’s crucial to take every aspect into consideration before executing and making sure that it’s the best decision for the company in the long-run.
By Lena Elkins