Good ideas are the lifeblood of any business. Where do they come from? How do you know when you’ve had one? What do you do when they dry up?

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What was the last good idea you had? Maybe it was the idea to strike out on your own and, right now, that doesn’t seem like such a good idea… However uncreative your business looks on the surface, having and nurturing ideas is a key part of keeping going. You might have the idea to launch a new product or product range or deliver what you currently do in a different format, to reach a whole new market or to stop doing something.

A good idea doesn’t necessarily have to lead to immediate explosive success. A good idea is simply one which helps you see or do things differently even if only for a short period of time. That ability to change your perspective is a precious one which allows any founder to see opportunities, spot gaps in the market or in your offering which leads to you and your business creating more value. So you know you’ve had a good idea when you find it giving you a fresh perspective on one or all aspects of your business even if you don’t decide to act on the specific idea itself.

A good idea is simply one which helps you see or do things differently

A good idea invites you to stretch the bounds of what you previously thought possible. That sounds very grandiose but it can be an everyday change. Perhaps you’ve only ever used one sales channel for your product because, when you started, that was the one you were most comfortable using. You simply couldn’t imagine using anything else. Well, further down the line, you might want to consider exploring other sales channels either on your own or in partnership with others.

A good idea builds on and reinvents reality. Again, this sounds grandiose but the best ideas take what’s already good and look to make it better. Good ideas aren’t always about novelty or being first, often they’re about execution and improvement, looking at what you’re doing well and tweaking or re-imagining it.

Good ideas aren’t always about novelty or being first, often they’re about execution and improvement

A good idea gets better the more you chew it over. A sign that an idea is good is that it is robust enough to stand up to a little thought and scrutiny. That process might take a little time – not necessarily years or even months but certainly days and maybe weeks. Take time to chew over it a little yourself before sharing it with others in your connectwork , take criticism or questions as a welcome chance to test the idea’s robustness rather than as personal attacks.

A good idea evolves over time. Really good ideas often grow and flex to fit changing purposes, markets and situations. For instance, a new delivery channel that was too expensive three months ago might work now there’s more demand, raising the product price to cover that cost whilst also being able to deliver more.

A good idea evolves over time

Anyone can have a good idea – they are not the preserve of mad geniuses or business gurus. If you can look at the world and your business and consider possibilities then you can have a good idea, one which has a positive impact on your business, its bottom line and numerous others.

And finally, good ideas can come from anywhere. One CEO talks of the importance of wandering to the company’s car park and chatting to employees there as being part of nurturing his company’s culture of innovation and execution. Certainly, one of the wonders of the human brain is its ability to make surprising productive links between supposedly unconnected things. These unexpected links are what bring about those “What if…?” ideas that grow and deepen businesses. Taking time to nurture your relationships and outside interests isn’t just good for your mental health, it’s a very good idea if you want to keep having good ideas.

Here’s an idea…