Try new ideasSome of my favorite things today, I absolutely hated when I was a child.  Coffee, beets, spinach, a good days work, the list goes on and on.  Some of these I had to force myself to like (beets and coffee top that list) but soon enough I began to truly enjoy their unique qualities.  Now I go to sleep at night thinking about the cup of coffee I get to have in the morning.  My point is, there are countless things I had to take a risk in trying before I ever knew if I would like them or they would be beneficial.

Today we still do a lot of application development on our own projects as well as client projects.  Each of these applications take an idea and try to turn that idea into a process improvement or sometimes even a completely new business.  And each of these ideas require some amount of risk to turn into reality to provide the opportunity for growth.  And these new ideas provide some of our most rewarding work and the largest opportunities for our client’s growth.

I remember very clearly about 14 years ago just one year after starting Digital Solutions, we were in the midst of the dot com crash, I went six months without picking up a new client and barely turning any work for our existing clients.  I had an idea that Internet marketing through websites was going to be a great industry to be in.  And due to too much speculation in the industry, many of us at that time struggled as we dealt with uncertainty at what the future would hold.  I was trying a new idea with considerable risk and today that initial idea has led to hundreds of client accounts over the years, dozens of employees past and present and millions of dollars in revenue.  That may sound like a success story but to me the story isn’t over.  Every day we weigh new ideas and take risks to determine what the market will be like tomorrow and how we can best be positioned to provide the most value to our clients.  Every day we test new product ideas, new lead generation ideas, new marketing ideas, new customer service ideas and with every idea we try comes a success or failure and a learning experience — and that is how we grow.

For most small and medium sized businesses, Internet marketing is still a fairly new budget item.  It is still an area they are hesitantly exploring trying to determine how Internet marketing best fits with their business.  Some businesses place their head firmly in the sand and ignore the new opportunities available online because they simply can’t keep up with the rapidly changing options.  They feel chronically overwhelmed so they stick to what they know and ignore the new ideas.  Some businesses pursue too quickly, lose some money and determine Internet marketing isn’t for them.  And then there are the companies willing to strategically try new ideas.  Companies who understand that the Internet is becoming a greater opportunity every year and their ability to test ideas through a controlled process, will keep them ahead of the game.

We are approaching the time of year when many small businesses will embark on planning and budgeting sessions for the coming year.  Therefore I challenge you to tackle new challenges this coming year.  Consider some new ideas.  We need to engage with new challenges and as we see success we need to look to the next challenge and consider the next idea to keep us from getting trapped in the status quo.  An employee or business owner stuck in the status quo is bored and losing interest.  An employee or business owner trying new ideas is motivated and energized.  These new experiences release dopamine which in turn motivates us and provides the drive we need for growth.  As you enter your planning sessions, put yourself in a position to reflect and try new ideas to re-energize the workplace and have more fun while doing it.