Our illustrious PM has decreed that innovation is going to be the saviour of the Australian economy.  Over the years, Australians have certainly shown an ability to come up with new ideas.  The fact that sometimes those new ideas have to leave Australia to be developed is a sad reflection of our inability to recognise the value inherent in those ideas.

Blog: Developing new ideas in your small business

For small businesses, there is always a need for new ideas to keep the business developing.  Very few businesses can afford the luxury of selling the same goods or services in the same way year after year and remaining relevant to customers.

The new ideas don’t have to be revolutionary – often small changes can have a significant impact but, for the small business owner, maintaining the flow of new ideas to improve the business is an important part of business leadership.

So, what do you do if you recognise that you need to make changes to your business but you have no idea what to do?

The exciting fact is that the ideas do exist – you just need to find them.

To encourage the flow of fresh ideas, the first step is to relax and step away from the situation.  By reducing your stress levels and physically removing yourself from the problem, you will allow your mind to gain a different perspective which often is the starting point for a renewed approach.

Keeping a clear mind is important to allow you the opportunity to generate and evaluate new ideas.  Actively seek inspiration from great books, movies or classic TED Talks.  These days you can access ideas in a multitude of ways.

You must always be alert to the possibility of new ideas and write them down as they occur to you.  Relying on your memory guarantees you will miss ideas and/or their value.

 Research the trends in your industry to gain a higher level understanding of the issues facing your industry. Often observing the way your industry is heading will explain why your business is facing challenges.  Once you have identified the problem, your ability to deal with it is enhanced.

You should also look outside your industry to observe successful business models in other industries. Sometimes your solution will be to adapt (or adopt) ideas from other industries and be a true innovator.

But, wherever the ideas come from, it is critical that you carefully evaluate the ideas within the context of your small business.  Just as a government encouraging innovation may believe that new ideas with respect to the treatment of superannuation are good ideas, understanding the consequences (intended and unintended) is imperative.  Failure to do so may be fatal for your business (or government).