I like to ask myself the following question every six months: “Describe five major opportunities that you can create for your business”. Notice, I used the work “create”. Perhaps the opportunities are not visible; when you have to create something then you are challenged to do some “out of the box thinking”.
I block off a morning for this exercise; the only tools I have at my disposal are a blank pad of paper and a pen. This is a one person think tank process. If you have other employees, assign each a 3 to 4 hour time slot, as time allows and let them bring forth new opportunities from their vantage point. There are no limits or wrong answers in creating these opportunities. If you are including staff in this process, then a meeting is in order when everyone has finished.
Either by yourself or in a group meeting, allow each person to share their 5 ideas and how they would implement these ideas. (notice, there was no dollar limitation on the opportunities). Out of the five you created or out of the combined ideas, select one and make that a special project for the next six months.
To create a special project, there needs to be a mini business/marketing plan created. Time needs to be allocated as well as resources both staff and financial. As a business mentor, I like to be involved in the final selection process and the development of the business/marketing plan. My biggest role is the accountability factor. I bring enthusiasm to the project and make sure that it is given the time necessary to evaluate it possibilities. I recommend six months as the trial period and then a complete evaluation needs to be done in order to determine if the opportunity becomes a permanent part of the business.
This process has been very successful; it should be used for all businesses in whatever stage they are in. The mentor part of this process can now be done via the internet so I can participate no matter where a firm is located.
Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark.