Tips on how to use brainstorming successfully
Brainstorming is a heavily-used idea generation technique. It’s power is unmatched in many different industries, ranging from home design to e-commerce stores. We’ll start with e-commerce, because that’s what’s most familiar to us, and what we think might be most helpful for you.
E-commerce is an industry that relies on brainstorming. With so many different niches, the right product and the right market can make a fortune. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Though it takes hard work, the right idea can make all the difference on your bottom-line. During your initial discovery phase, this is where brainstorming can really reap rewards.
Whether you’re a seasoned expert or just starting to sell your first product, there are all sorts of tricks and tips out there to get the most out of your brainstorming sessions. We’ve experimented with a few, and decided which ones were worth exploring more based on your needs. Let’s dive into each tip below!
Start With Research
While you might believe jumping in right away is the best strategy for a brainstorm, it’s best if you have some idea of where you want to go. If you’re running an online store for sports equipment, it’s best that you stay in that niche, rather than expanding into a non-associated industry.
Because you likely already have customer data, experience, and research in that field that can help inform your decisions and where you pivot towards with your ideas. If you know your customers are buying bicycles, for example, delve deeper into the data behind the purchasing behaviors for your product. Are customers asking for any specific features or add-on products like water bottles, pedals, or other products?
Answering these questions can help you set up a solid foundation for getting into the right mindset for brainstorming your next big idea.
Create a Brainstorm Board
Ideas are slippery. What sounds great today might sound terrible tomorrow. But, in the initial stages, all ideas are good ideas. With brainstorming, the ultimate goal is to generate as much information as you can, and break down ideas down into something that is practical, well-thought-out, and executable.
Unfortunately this process is difficult to keep in your head, so it’s best to get it out on paper or another medium to keep track of your ideas, and see the details at a much higher level.
Some people like to physically see their brainstorming process unfold. This can be a whiteboard (or multiple whiteboards), sticky notes, or even a journal to jot down ideas on the fly. Others prefer a digital experience, like Trello, Monday.com, or even a Google Doc. Perhaps you want a hybrid approach, and there are plenty of applications out there that can help translate physical writing into a digital medium.
Triage Thinking Tasks
If you’re lucky enough to have a small team, congrats! You can take your research and divide it into categories and see which members of your organization might want to delve further into additional topics. If you have a salesperson, they might want to analyze how offering a new product could dramatically impact sales. Whereas if you have a marketing expert, they might get started on seeing which SEO opportunities are available for the new idea. All this data feeds back into your original idea, letting you get more specific in your findings as you brainstorm.
If you’re an army-of-one, however, this might be a bit more time-consuming. But, don’t worry! By separating tasks into different buckets and seeing where the different ideas are trending, your brainstorming process will only get easier over time. When you start building out your ideas, you’ll start to see connections you might not have seen so easily before!
Bring in New Perspectives
If you’re looking for out-of-the-box ideas, the best thing you can do to kick-start your creative process is to get different people’s perspectives on your idea. This doesn’t need to be something completely new. Even your friends or family can offer ideas that you might not have considered. A diversity of experience brings forth a wealth of ideas, and is often enough to take your project to new heights.
If you’d prefer to keep your ideas private, try going to online meetups or other events where the demographic or persona you are brainstorming for is attending. You might meet some people there, and even get to talk to someone who might be able to give you some fresh insight on your research thus far.
When brainstorming, you’re not executing an idea. You’re thinking of the possibilities. It’s crucial that you don’t get bogged down into the details of execution. When listing ideas for the first time, let them flow freely. Don’t shut down others or ridicule them for their ideas, no matter how silly. There are many thoughts, ideas, and lived experiences that inform the idea that someone might ultimately mention for your product. There is likely a reason you or someone else thought of something, and, even if it is a bit funny, look beyond that to find that golden nugget of wisdom that might make a difference in your product.
Additionally, this isn’t the time to determine the how and the why of the execution. Though brainstorming is serious business, you shouldn’t let the business side of things bog your ideas down. You’re still stewing in your ideas, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore your implementation phase later on.
Get in the Mood
As with any task, being in the right headspace for taking action is important. This doesn’t mean only take action when you’re feeling motivated; rather, take note of how you’re feeling and do a check-in before you start. A simple meditation exercise like breathing, counting, or being still can all help negative or distracting emotions wash away from your consciousness, making you more open to fresh ideas.
Moreover, studies have shown that we do some of our best thinking when we are free of all constraints: mental, physical, and emotional. It’s no surprise then, that letting go of your potential external woes about your brainstorming sessions may actually have a positive effect overall on not only your idea generation, but also your mindset.
Refine Your Thinking
Eventually, once you’re settled into your process, it’s time to take more action towards your ideas. Even as you’re determining which ideas are worth pursuing, don’t make snap judgements. Your gut instinct might be right in the long-run, but you don’t want to destroy an idea by shutting it down prematurely.
Once you’ve determined which ideas can really last and impact your business positively, take the brainstorming approach toward the ideas that have floated to the top. Repeat the entire brainstorming process with these ideas, and see what arises. As you continue to funnel and filter your ideas through the brainstorming process, you will see what topics make sense to follow for your business, and which are best left on the drawing board – for the time being, of course.
We’ve all been guilty of working something until we’re exhausted. Make sure to take some time to step away from your idea and your space in order to gain fresh perspective. In fact, there’s a whole subreddit dedicated to “shower thoughts” – ideas generated in an unlikely setting.
Outside of your dedicated brainstorming sessions, be sure to get plenty of rest, sleep, and adequate food and exercise. While it might not feel like it, brainstorming is hard work!
We hope these brainstorming tips are helpful for you. Thankfully, you don’t need to brainstorm how to set up an online store. Start selling with Jumpseller today!