Launching New Ideas for Your Small Business

By Jamillah Warner Monday, March 11, 2013

Your goal is to launch a new project. The best ideas, however, never get off the ground without a lot of time to plan them. Short of approving overtime for everyone on your team, there are a few alternative steps you can take. With these three actions, you can push your project to the next level.

(A) Plan First 

When your time is limited, you have less room for trial and error. Brainstorming  for weeks in the wrong direction can deflate your team. Before you share your ideas for a new project with your team, be sure you have a solid and specific plan ready to discuss with them.

Just as research should precede writing, planning should precede action. However, this step is often overlooked because it feels slow or tedious. Movement — even if it’s only busy work — makes you feel like you’re getting something done. Slowing down, however, can make the difference between a plan that works and one that falters. Planning is one of the wise steps for which you must slow down.

Start by yourself (or perhaps include one team member). Start digging into the research and testing the waters. If you decide, for example, to launch a new marketing strategy, you will want to know:

1.Who has done this before in my industry? Can I talk to them and get a first-hand perspective?

2.Who has done something like this before in any industry?

3.What type of money will I need in order to start?

4.Who are the key team members and how much time would it take out of their regular work day?

5.Can I redirect some of their work to a different team member in order to make room for this marketing project?

6.What will be involved in maintaining it after it’s launched?

Once you complete the initial planning and findthe answers to your core questions, then you’re ready for the next step.

(B) Take One

At first, you don’t need to dedicate entire weeks to a new project. One solid, focused hour a day can keep your plan moving forward. I have written and launched entire programs for a non-profit using this same process. The key to maximizing those 60 minutes is figuring out whether the first or the last hour of the day works best for you. Once you know, protect that time.

If you just cannot get the work accomplished during your regular work hours, do whatever is necessary to find the time: slip into your office one hour early, do your planning from home or drop by a coffee shop for a long lunch--find a plan and stick with it. Consistent behavior makes a huge difference.

(C) Clear Direction 

When it’s time to bring in additional team members, offer them clear directions. Years of managing volunteers and an under-paid team of community servants has led to a few basic revelations:

People will respond to your passion. 

If you’re excited about the project, your excitement will transfer to your team.

People will lose focus if you’re indecisive. 

Understand what you want from them before you start the conversation.

People respond to time-sensitive, measurable directions. 

Instead of saying, “I wonder if the local art gallery will partner with us for this marketing project?”, be more direct. Tell a team member: “Contact the art gallery director and assistant director. Let them know about the project, that we’re looking for a partner organization, and ask them what it will take to work with them. Let me know by 5 PM today. Thanks.”

Be kind, but be clear.

People appreciate kindess and clarity.

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