One common trait of successful entrepreneurs is that they are always seeking out new business ideas and sources of information and inspiration. They are constantly learning and trying to improve, and so should you. Don’t think you are too old, too busy or too smart to learn some new tricks. That’s crazy. Take some time to look around and explore what other people in business and in other fields of life are up to. You’ll learn a lot and get a fresh look at what your are doing yourself.
To help you, I’ve come up with a list of things you can do to get inspired and to keep from going stale. We end up focusing on our own little corners of the universe, but there is so much more out there and it is easily accessible so take advantage of it. All it takes is some time and a little effort.
- Save what inspires you. It’s okay to borrow good ideas. If you see something that looks interesting or inspires you, save it. If you see a good advertising or sales pitch file it away so you can study it later. Bookmark interesting things you find on the web. Put them in a special folder to read later, and then go back through the stuff you’ve saved. You’ll get plenty of good ideas from it.
- Read and read some more. Read books and magazines on all kinds of business and non-business topics. You’ll find yourself drawing on ideas from many different fields as you expose yourself to more and different areas of learning. Check out what people in design and art are doing. Look at what is new in science and music. There are great ideas everywhere.
- Keep a notebook handy to write down anything you find that looks useful. It could be a quote, a fact or statistic, a reference or just about anything. Even your own brilliant ideas. Don’t rely on your memory–write them down. I keep a little notebook handy and always have Notepad open when I’m on my pc just to jot down little things I find or nutty ideas I have.
- Read business blogs, like this. one See what other people in the field are saying. There are plenty of good blog writers with interesting and useful info. You can learn a lot from this, and it is free.
- Start your own blog. You’ll find yourself looking at business in a whole new way when you write about your own experiences and especially when you start to do research about what others are thinking and doing.
- Take part in business networks and communities. Look online and off. They are a great way to exchange ideas, meet new people and build relationships.
- Think about new businesses you’d like to start and how you’d go about it. Exercise your entrepreneurial muscles. Remember games like Railroad Tycoon? Think how you’d start a new business in some other field. Look at businesses run by other people and think how you would change and improve them.
- Take classes. The SBA has good free classes online. Don’t forget about local community colleges as well.
- Talk to other people in business. See what they are doing and how they are coping with the the economy, being online or whatever comes up. Share ideas and start your own little network.