It’s wintertime. The cold weather, holiday shoppers and early sunsets are easy signs of the season. To many people, yearend is a stressful time, for me it’s my favorite time of year. Christmas with my family, our office holiday party and snowy weekends are all great, but there’s more. As we look forward to a new year, it’s common to reflect on what we’ve learned the previous year.

Recently I met a CEO who had a different approach to business growth. I know that sounds typical, but his secret to success stuck with me for two reasons: 

  1. His business is growing much faster than others in their industry
  2. It’s a bold idea fueling a creative work culture

What’s the big idea?

In this case, the big idea are ideas themselves. Every year, he challenges his employees to find and share 1,000 new ideas. Don’t worry, I’ll do the math for you. There are approximately 250 business days per year, so on average his team produces 4 new ideas every day!

Where are the ideas coming from?

The best ideas are inspired by business relationships. Here’s three easy audiences that will fuel your brainstorming sessions for 2017.
Customers

A natural place for feedback on your products and services. Your customers know your brand and are willing to share their feedback. Marketers commonly think of customer satisfaction surveys as a way to collect opinions from their clientele. While that is one way of learning their opinions, you can also try social listening and community management. In most cases people who interact with your brand will also share their likes and dislikes on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. All of this creates an easy way to capture candid feedback and fuel 2017 marketing ideas.   

Employees

Your most trusted resource are the people inside your company. As the co-founder of a company, I’ve heard my employees say wonderful things about our organization. I also know they have their frustrations too, which can be a good thing. I know this because I listen to their concerns and created an open environment where we use an anonymous survey to collect their feedback every week. I’m not saying all ideas come from frustration, but knowing what irritates staff can often turn into an action item to improve a process, product or service. I realize a weekly anonymous survey won’t work in every environment, but the point is to listen to your staff. They know your brand and they’re filled with ideas.

New or Existing Vendors

It’s a broad universe of businesses. Some are firms you already work with that provide your company with strategy, technology solutions, fulfillment, or any other outsourced services your company leverages for its success. Just like customers and employees, they have good products and services and some, not so much. While you may not use their products or services today, why not take 5 minutes and answer that call or respond to that email invite. They might have the product or solution you need to solve some of your 2017 challenges.

Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s a bold challenge, but any worthwhile goal should push your limits. Bring 1,000 new ideas to your business in 2017. Honestly, they’re sitting right in front of you. All you have to do is listen to your customers, employees and vendors. Tell them to bring it on and 999 other ones to follow! You’ll quickly be surprised how much they’ll share and there’s bound to be at least a dozen great ideas in the bunch that will lead to more business success.  

Cheers to you and your 1,000 new ideas for 2017!   

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