Entrepreneurs rarely face the challenge of having too few ideas. In fact, like most entrepreneurs and business leaders you probably have a multitude of great ideas for growing your own business.
Your biggest challenge may be figuring out which of all the alternatives is the best way to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
We recommend using a systematic process to sort through all your ideas and create an action plan. Here are some steps in that process:
1. Think about your vision.
Where do you want your company to be in a year and in ten years? All your initiatives should help you move toward this goal. If an idea isn’t helping you achieve your vision, then maybe you shouldn’t spend time on it.
2. Prioritize your ideas.
While all your ideas may seem wonderful, upon closer inspection you’ll likely find that some are more worthwhile than others. For example, if you envision taking your business national in the next five years, you may rate ideas that help expand your geographical presence more highly than those that do not. Use tools such as the Opportunity Matrix or Weighted Criteria or even a simple pro-con list to help you objectively sort through the possibilities and organize your thoughts. These tools will also give you the confidence that you are selecting the best and most important ideas for growing your business.
3. Get focused.
Without clear focus it’s difficult to move forward. If you’re all over the map, you won’t apply the time and resources needed to grow. Rather than diluting your efforts develop a plan focused on one goal and concentrate mostly on that. You can always modify your plan as time passes and your goals change.
4. Execute your plan.
As Nike puts it, “Just do it!” There comes a time when you need to move from thought to action. If you’ve done the upfront work on planning your growth strategy, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger.
By following these steps you’ll identify the ideas that will help you create a pathway for growth.