Whether you’re trying to find a great business idea or looking for new ideas to reinvent your company or business model, brainstorming is a great way to generate new ideas. In business, brainstorming is often practiced in groups, but even as a solo entrepreneur, you can still use brainstorming techniques to generate ideas.
Brainstorming can not only help you generate ideas that would otherwise not have been considered but can also help you better understand what your business is facing and where you need to focus your time.
Here are 7 brainstorming techniques that can help you expand your mind towards new ideas and strategies for your business. You can use one method, several or all of them. Besides, we show you some rules to maximize the success of the brainstorming, as well as useful tools.
Start with a question.
The easy way to generate new ideas is by answering a question. If you are looking for a business to start, a question might be which business will help you achieve your objectives.
For example, if you like to travel the world, your question might be: “What business type is flexible enough for me to travel the world” If in case you’re having trouble generating enough customers, a question might be: “What do my customers want the most” Or” Where do my clients go to get help with what I have to offer.”
Use a mind map
The mind map has been used by many great thinkers, including Leonardo DaVinci, and was popularized in the 20th century by Tony Buzan. It is ideal for people who respond to visual tools. There are mind mapping programs for computers and applications for digital devices, but it can be done with just a piece of paper and a pencil. You can use coloured pencils, as Tony Buzan initially suggested when he introduced his mind mapping concepts.
Here are the steps for mind mapping:
- Start with a word, question, or image in the center of the page.
- Draw a line from the center outward and add a related word, question, or concept. You can have as many of these second-tier ideas as you like.
- From those second-level concepts, draw one or more lines and add words related to the subtopic.
- Continue drawing lines with related keywords as ideas come to you.
For example, suppose you are trying to come up with marketing ideas. You can have”Marketing” as the central theme. Next, you can have radios that include” Build Community” Media / Public Relations” and”Advertising” From your” Building community” speech, you can have” Facebook Group” and a link could be”Weekly Facebook Live” From your” Media / Public Relation” speech, you can have a” Media Repor” and”Create a monthly public relations plan.”
Similar to a mind map, a word map is a visual way to brainstorm about things like your company name or slogan. Start by writing down all the words related to your business brand. For example, if you want to start an organic product business, you can write”organic” and” gardening” For each word, write down the related words you can think of. For example, you can write””safe””””clean”” and””vegetables””
Use a SWOT analysis
If you have made your business plan, you have probably carried out a SWOT analysis. It is not only useful in your business plan, but it also can be a great technique. Make a four-square grid by drawing a line vertically in the center of a piece of paper, then a horizontal line through the center. In the upper left box, put” Strength” and the top right box” Weaknesses” In the lower-left box, write” Opportunities” and in the lower right box,” Threats” In each box, write the corresponding words, ideas, and concepts that you can think of.
For example, suppose you are trying to decide if you want to start a blog. In Strengths, you can list all the positive aspects of blogging as a business idea, for example,” It is a low cost to start” I am an expert on the subject,” etc. Do the same for Weaknesses, such as”I am not a technology expert” It can take time to generate good blog content,” etc. In Opportunities, you could put,” There are many ways to create followers of a blog,” and in Threats, you could write,” Much competition.”
Put yourself in the place of your clients.
It is a mistake to analyze and make decisions only from the perspective of business owners. The best ideas will be the ones that resonate and attract customers, and the best way to do this is to put yourself in their place. Examining your customers can help you, and working through your marketing, sales, purchasing, and customer service systems can help you generate ideas to improve their experience.
Ask who, what, why, when, where and how
In brainstorming, you are looking for answers to questions, but sometimes you are not sure what questions to ask. Back to the basics of who, what, why, when, where, and how can help you generate better ideas to enhance your business. You can simply list these questions, but if you are a visual person, you can draw them similarly to a mind map.
Start with the main business idea in the middle, and then draw lines with your basic who, what, why, when, where, and how questions at the end of each point. Using each of these basic questions, generate more inquiries related to your main idea. For example, suppose you want to make money from affiliate marketing. You would put” Affiliate Marketing” in the middle. The”How T” may have questions like” How will affiliate products be promoted” In the”Wh” speech, you might ask,” Who is the ideal person to buy my affiliate products” Don’t stop at one question for each radio. Write down all the questions that come to mind.
Once you have found the right questions, you can generate answers that should lead to ideas and help you focus on the unfinished business.
If money and time were no object
Surely you have ever wondered what you would do if you won the lottery, right? In this simple scenario, your mind opens to all your dreams and hopes, free from the limitations of your current life.
The same is true when it comes to brainstorming. Too often, your brain will take out ideas because they don’t think you have the resources you need. So, to keep your mind open to all possible ideas, brainstorm what you would do if money and time weren’t the objects. If you could build any business, or come up with any ideas, what would it be?
When it comes to brainstorming, all you need is a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. That said, because it is a creative endeavour, you need the tools that will help you generate the best ideas so that you can evaluate and use them later. Here are some tools that you can use:
- Ideabook: Keeping all your ideas in one place is a great way to refer back to old brainstorming sessions. Also, when you’re done with the session, you can continue to bring the notebook with you to brainstorm new ideas as they come your way.
- Coloured Pencils: Using colour is aesthetically pleasing, which can come in handy if you’re creative. It can also help you sort and organize your ideas.
- Mind Mapping Apps – There are plenty of free and low-cost mind mapping apps online that you can use on your computer or another device.
- Whiteboard or large paper – Often used in group brainstorming sessions, but can be useful even when you are alone. Large writing surfaces can help you avoid writing limitations in a smaller space.
- Sticky Notes: The advantage of sticky notes is the ability to move them over a larger surface.
- Recorder: While you should write down your ideas, it can sometimes be helpful to record them first. Vocalizing thoughts can often generate insights more quickly than in your head. Of course, if you belong to an expert group or have a coach, talking about your problem can not only help you clarify and get ideas but also get feedback.
The purpose of brainstorming is to give you the possibility to generate a significant number of ideas that you can then analyze to decide which ones are best for your goals.
Unfortunately, our brain has a natural tendency to filter, judge, and evaluate ideas.
Chances are, you don’t write down some ideas because you think they are silly or impossible to carry out.
Here are the rules you must follow to have productive brainstorming sessions:
No Judgment: Write down all the ideas, no matter how crazy or impossible they may seem. Will being on a national television show in the morning boost your credibility? Write it.
It may seem hopeless to be on a national morning TV show, but that idea could lead to local morning shows or national radio shows.
You should also include ideas that are too simple because they can often lead to other purposes.
No evaluation: brainstorming is simply a mental dump of ideas. Whatever the idea, write it down. Brainstorming is not the time to decide if it is a good idea or how it could be carried out. The evaluation of ideas comes later.