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Monday, June 20, 2011

Generating New Business Ideas

It's rare that a stagnant business will continue to make steady gains over time. Successful small business owners know that the products and services they offer must align with the wants and needs of their ever evolving customer base. As a result, businesses that continue to thrive are constantly reviewing and revising their inventory and offerings. However, generating new business ideas that can be developed into profitable ventures is easier said than done, so start with a plan:

Establish a benchmark: Before making major changes to your product or service offerings, the first step should always be to determine the current state of your business. Without a standard by which you can measure future success, you'll have no idea whether or not the endeavor met your business goals. This will also give you the chance to reexamine the fiscal state of your business and the feasibility of growth. New endeavors can be risky investments - you don't want to risk the success of your entire business to hang in the balance because you didn't set aside enough expendable capital. Conversely, if you develop a new product or service and it takes off, will you have the resources and staff necessary to accommodate the demand?

Ask your customers: While some of the most successful business ideas were developed off-the-cuff, many more or cultivated from consumer research. The easiest way to get some great starter ideas is to simply ask your audience. Sit down with your existing customers and ask what product or service upgrades would be useful to them. You can also consider secondary research within your industry.

Reexamine your existing products or services: One of the most effective ways to develop product or service improvements is to put yourself in your customers' shoes. Take time to put your own merchandise to use from a consumer perspective and see if you notice any flaws that could be remedied or enhancements that could make them easier to use. If you're a small business owner in the service industry, take the "secret shopper" approach. Focus on user experience: what procedures or options could be changed or added that would increase the value of your service?

Have a backup plan: Sometimes, no matter how much research you've done that predicts the contrary, a new product or service will flop. For example, in 1985, after conducting thorough research and widespread taste tests, Coca-Cola introduced "new" Coke. Though testing indicated that consumers loved the new taste, consumers were outraged when the "new and improved" recipe replaced their old favorite. Coca-Cola failed to determine the emotional effect that a product change would have on nostalgic consumers. At great expense, the company reverted to the original formula. The lesson: no matter how sure you are about a business decision, always have a contingency plan in place.

Developing ideas for new products and services is essential for business growth. Generate profitable business ideas and avoid costly investment mistakes by developing a tailored plan of action for your business.

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posted by Tiger Leasing @ 8:58 AM

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