In the world of business, coming up with unique ideas to promote your business can be daunting. If your budget allows, I would suggest working with a marketing company. Their key function is to work in the creative realm of developing ideas to grow your business. In your company, this is one of many tasks that you face each week. Unfortunately, most small businesses do not have a budget to work with outside resources, or at least they think they can’t afford it and feel like they can do an adequate job themselves. You may need to take steps to work towards having the funds to hire a marketing professional.
Until you are able to achieve the goal of working with a marketing team, you still need to promote your product/service. I see many businesses relying on Facebook as their only marketing tool. Yes, Facebook can be an important platform to spread the word about events happening in your business. Please take the time to develop other means of promoting your business.
A very easy step you can take would be to create a working group for the main purpose of brainstorming ideas. You won’t need a large group. You want to choose the obvious, the people you enjoy spending time with and respect their opinions. Make this a time that will refresh the group. Meet at an interesting coffee shop or a local pub during off hours. If schedules don’t allow, create an on-line working group for the times you can’t meet face to face. The key to all of this is GET STARTED…do something.
Here are a few brainstorming ideas to get started:
- Create marketing events.
- Do focus groups.
- Develop blogging subjects related to your business.
- Write PR articles and place those articles in publications.
- Review your website—unless you have a professional editor in your group, I would hire a content writer to review and update your site.
- Approach your existing customer base with offers to reward them for bringing in their friends as new customers.
Before meeting with your brainstorming group, it may make sense for you to carve out some quiet time to have ideas to share, goals to achieve or problems to solve. This is quite challenging for me and when I am able to appropriate some time that is strictly for working on new ideas, it always pays off.
Once you get started throwing around thoughts in your group, you will have more ideas than you will know what to do with. Then you have to be selective and also prioritize how you want to schedule each action item.
The two people that I routinely brainstorm with are Robin Shukle and Nick Armstrong. With limited time, we typically bounce ideas around for about 10 minutes; coming up with fairly concrete ideas that are implemented within a day. Robin loves to use the whiteboard and that is a great tool to work through processes. I have to mentally move things around in my brain, go back to my office and consider whether the project can be accomplished within our budget and with staff and time constraints. I can be a real idea squelcher. Every once in awhile, the stars align and we see eye to eye, on most of the aspects of a proposed idea, and the outcome is fantastic. Having a team with different skills, different approaches to problem solving and looking at the world in a different way ensures that the very best ideas percolate to the top.
As you build your brainstorming group, it is good to have a “big picture” and a “detail oriented person,” as well as a creative and a financial type – and sometimes you can get all that in just two people.