Need to boost your business? Try brainstorming with your staff.

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Often small business owners are so focused on simply keeping their business running they may forget about the need to inject new ideas into the business to go beyond maintenance of the status quo.

It’s vital that owners look to refresh and progress their business otherwise they may find the business is left behind when their market around them is changing. COVID-19 was an example of how some businesses had to reinvent themselves to survive and then flourish.

The problem is how do you come up with ideas to improve your business or overcome an issue?

“Brainstorming sessions with your team continues to be the ideal way to generate ideas that can help the business grow.”

Small businesses have the advantage that their staff know the business intimately and can use their knowledge and experience in a brainstorming session without the expense of an external – and sometimes – expensive – outside consultant.

However, often they are haphazard brainstorms without structure and objectives. No good ideas may emerge and, worse, staff that participated are frustrated and see them as a waste of time.

Here are some tips that may help you run a successful brainstorm and develop ideas that can help your business.

1. What do you want to achieve?

Only run a brainstorming session if you have something specific to achieve. In advance send to your team a brief goal you want to accomplish from the session. Don’t have a vague gaol like “Build the business”, be clear. Make sure you give them plenty of warning to advise what the session is about, so they have a chance to be prepared and have some ideas already developing in their minds. Also, send them the agenda so they know the steps being taken in the session.

2. Who’s in charge?

Brainstorming sessions are collaborative conversations, but you still may need somebody in charge. If you have the money you can hire a trained facilitator but you may feel you are up to it yourself.  

A brainstorming facilitator should have leadership skills to encourage all of the team to take part; a good organiser who can create an agenda and record ideas; good listening skills; and is able to keep the session on track and on time.

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