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Actions Make the Difference

Small Business

Actions Make the Difference

7 actions for creative business development

As entrepreneurs we are often encouraged to “work smarter, not harder.” Yet, we also know that we need to do both. We need to make wise decisions, and we must perform a lot of tasks before our business will be successful. So how can we make an action plan that will help us do the right things first?

Step 1: Inspiration for ideation

The first example of what entrepreneurs do when they start a business or generate growth in an already existing business, is seeking ideation. Seeking ideation is important both in the beginning, when developing a business concept, and subsequently, when an idea has to be further developed and improved.

Step 2: Research that provides knowledge

If we have already found the right idea – or have too many ideas – it is not ideation we need, but knowledge. Therefore, for many entrepreneurs, the way to create a strong business is to research how best to do something and how others have done this.

Step 3: Decision-making that leads to action

For entrepreneurs who have already done the work of collecting ideas, knowledge and information from the market, the next step in a creative business development is to use the new insights to make decisions. Only when strategic decisions have been made, can the business move forward with implementing the tasks.

Step 4: Sparring that provides improvements

Sparring with others about ideas can often be a shortcut to action. Instead of spending hours and days on research, it is quicker and easier to get in touch with someone who knows the answer. This shortcut to knowledge is especially relevant when it is not possible to qualify or improve the idea through research. Sparring thus involves making contact with experts or key informants who have the necessary knowledge or know someone who has.

Step 5: Testing that gives realism

Instead of spending time on research, analysis and sparring, some entrepreneurs choose to “just do it.” They get an idea and then put it in motion, not because they expect that the outcome will prove the right thing to do, but because they believe that testing (trial and error) is really the most creative way to develop the idea and the business.

Step 6: Documentation that gives conviction

Instead of testing an idea in the market, some entrepreneurs choose to make a written explanation of their idea. The documentation of the business idea may be in the form of a traditional business plan that is written for potential investors or banks, but it makes more sense for the company’s development to spend time on producing documentation for its customers.

Step 7: Presentations that sell

An old proverb states that “you should not sell the skin until you have shot the bear.” Nevertheless, this is something that entrepreneurs often do, and they get away with it. It happens when an entrepreneur arranges meetings with clients before the idea is fully developed, or before he is ready to deliver – something that is easily done, as long as the customer realizes that “the bear will not be shot” until the orders for skin have been placed.

The Seven Steps of Creative Business Development are presented here in random order – that means that there is no recipe for what we must begin, continue and end with. It is up to us to prioritize tasks according to our temperament and intuition. It is not even necessary to complete all seven stages of the business development process. However the Seven Steps help with inspiration in areas we have not considered and create a support structure for our creativity.

Patrick E Alcorn, Director, Veterans Business Outreach Center University of Texas Arlington.
Excerpted from © GrowthWheel International Inc. and David Madié.

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