As an entrepreneur, one of the things I get most excited about is fresh ideas. Ideas could come in the form of entirely new businesses, ways to do something better, or just a different take on a scenario I’ve seen before. Because of this, I enjoy reading blogs and books looking for other peoples’ ideas to find ones that I can commandeer for my own use. Within the YPO and EO circles, a favorite question is “what’s a great book or article you’ve read lately?” Ideas act as a currency of coolness, ready to be exchanged at a moment’s notice.
Just this week I was meeting with a startup and a simple, yet valuable idea, came up. This startup has been in business for 7-8 years and has been venture-backed half that time. For most of it’s existence, banks paid almost no interest on the savings (cash on the balance sheet). And, as part of the “package” from the bank, the current interest rate was 1% on the savings. Well, the startup raised a large round of funding in the last year and casually asked for better terms. The bank now pays 2.25% interest on the savings, but wouldn’t have changed if someone didn’t ask. Because of the large sum of the financing, this has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of interest income — found money. Have cash or working capital for the startup? Ask the bank for a better rate!
After last week’s post on Continuous Employee Feedback, an entrepreneur shared with me how much they love Emplify to continuously measure employee engagement. A fresh idea! Historically, employee engagement has been an afterthought for most organizations. Now, with modern technologies, it’s easy and seamless. Of course, the tools are only going to point out the challenges and it’s up to the leaders to figure out how to improve them, but knowing where to focus is immensely valuable. Writing, and simply sharing ideas with the world, is another great avenue for learning about fresh ideas.
Entrepreneurs would do well to develop a system that generates fresh ideas as they go on their startup journey. Whether by reading, writing, peer groups, or other method, the steady flow of ideas is key.
What else? What are some more ways to generate fresh ideas?