We all have times in business when it benefits us to use specific techniques to help us with decisions. Two good techniques to use for making decisions or problem-solving in your business are brainstorming and brain dumps.
I have used both methods numerous times. Both have been very effective in helping me with my business especially when changes were needed.
Differences and Why We Use Them
Why do we need to utilize these techniques? When we consider the reasons we use these techniques we must first look at the definitions of each one.
When we review the brainstorming definition we can see that it involves a group. So, an important aspect of brainstorming would be that it is done in a group setting.
When we read the definition for braindump we see that the main purpose is to record and express your thoughts. This would not involve a group setting but you as an individual.
“Basically, a brain dump is the act of writing down everything that comes to mind on a particular topic. Its proponents describe it as a way to get all of your thoughts and ideas down on paper and free up space in your brain.”-PsychCentral
How to Begin
What do you need to begin brainstorming? After seeing the definitions, you know you will need a group setting of your colleagues or peers. This can also be done effectively via Zoom or another video meeting software.
When brainstorming, you should begin by presenting the situation, change, decision, or problem to the group gathered. Most often when you brainstorm it has to do with these factors (situation, change, problem, or decision making).
It is an entirely different process for brain dumping. You are by yourself with some paper or digital notebook software (I use OneNote). You name the problem you want to solve at the top of the page.
In brainstorming, you will present the problem (to make it easier we will simply call it a ‘problem’ for our purposes but it could be a change or situation) to the group. If in person, you could use a whiteboard to write out what the problem is on the board. Otherwise, a good tool is a mind mapping software or whiteboard.
Each person can have the opportunity to call out ways to solve the problem. Then as each person calls out something it could potentially bring up other objections or problems so you need to draw lines out to define each of these as well.
After you name the problem on your page you will begin to just pull anything and everything out of your head related to the topic. You may pour out things for ten minutes or you could pour over it for hours.
I find writing lists helps me. If for instance, I need to make a change in my business and I want to start offering digital products to my audience, I may begin to list out one I could do and then bullet points that I might include on it.
Example: See my list below as I brain-dumped things that could be put on the “Processes Checklist for Onboarding a New Client” to help new businesses. [This is, of course, an abbreviated list to demonstrate and not take up too much space.]
Processes Checklist :
- Set up onboarding new client
- Welcome kit
- Intake form or survey
As you brainstorm with the group be sure to record all possible solutions as the group voices them. Begin to highlight those you like better than others. As you do this you will have at least one to two that stand out. Choosing one of these will determine the action you take with your business next.
Record your thoughts on paper or a digital notebook. When brain dumping you should also highlight any solutions that look better than others. There is no share or guilt in this process. Use it to purge your brain of all of those ideas you’ve had brimming in your brain. It often is cathartic to go through this process.
Discern Best Choice
Now we are down to making a decision. This is when you have to make the final choice as to what solution you will use. You may even need to brainstorm further to visualize what this would be like in your business. Play it out, write more ideas, and receive more input from the group to see what it feels like and try to visualize it each possible solution or change for your business.
Only after you have exhausted the ideas and played it out (or written it out) should make your final decision. Then stick with it and do not second guess yourself.
As you have highlighted the best possibilities you may have also seen some patterns emerge. For instance, when I was at a turning point in my business I listed my passions, what I enjoy doing, my skills, and more. As I glanced over it several things stood out. This helped me realize I needed to transition into a digital marketing agency.
Break Into Steps
Brainstorming and Brain Dumping Converge
Once you have a decision both brainstorming and brain-dumping need the next thing. Goal Setting! How will make the decision a reality?
You need to take that decision and break it down into steps. Create steps to make your solution happen. Once you create the steps necessary go back and create micro-steps.
So once you have the overall steps recorded go back and list out the micro-steps involved in accomplishing each step in your goal. Once this is complete all you need to do is implement the micro-steps.
I love utilizing these techniques and we often use brainstorming in my upcoming Mastermind Group Coaching program. I’d love for you to join us every Friday at 1:00 pm (Eastern) as we meet for 90 minutes (or more as needed). Please take a look at all you receive.
Have a blessed day and keep that business growing. Let me know if I can help you with anything.
To Your Continued Success!