Strengthen your brand, focus on what is most profitable and shed inefficiencies. Five ways to turn business ideas into reality and make your business a better place for customers and staff.

5 Strategies That Can Turn New Business Ideas into Reality

No matter what type of business you own or how long your doors have been open, there is always something that can be improved. As new business ideas emerge it can be challenging to implement even the best of them when it means challenging the status quo and overcoming internal resistance to change.

1. Create a formal system for evaluating business ideas.

“It is by acts and not by ideas that people live.” Anatole France

Entrepreneurs and business owners usually don’t have a shortage of ideas. Without a formal system where ideas can be evaluated, plans of action can be developed, responsibilities can be assigned and measurements can be defined and tracked over time, most ideas – even the best of ideas – might never see the light of the work day.

2. Involve everyone.

“Ideas are like pizza dough; made to be tossed around.” Anna Quindlen

There’s a saying that goes, “too many cooks spoil the brew.”  This might be true in the kitchen, but in organizations that want to grow and change, the more people that weigh in, contribute, buy-in and become personally invested in change initiatives, the better. When your staff feel listened to and ideas are refined to reflect their feedback and concerns, they are much more likely to buy in and get behind transformative business ideas.

3. Embrace real change.

“The difficultly lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” John Maynard Keynes

It’s human nature to resist change and fall back on what is familiar, especially if new behaviors don’t bring instant gratification. Remember you will not be able to achieve new goals with old ways of thinking and old ways of doing. The pace of change in today’s competitive marketplace alone dictates that you need change ambassadors in your organization if you want to grow. Empower and rely on people on your staff who aren’t afraid to take on big challenges and learn new things!

4. Proselytize.

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of connections is the key to quality.” Charles Eames

If you want to achieve big things, you can’t afford to have staff that don’t believe in the vision. Everyone in your organization, everyone, ultimately has the power to contribute toward or against your business goals. Make sure they are all on board.

5. Invest adequate resources.

“Money is a wonderful thing because it enables you… to invest in ideas that don’t have a short-term payback.” Steve Jobs

Your willingness to fund and allocate staff, time and other corporate resources to a given initiative is a direct reflection of your commitment to achieving the goal. No matter how sound or exciting your business ideas are, without allocation of adequate resources – including money – turning them into reality will be difficult.

Our business finance tools could be ideal options if your business lacks the working capital needed to execute ideas that will help your business grow in the New Year. A merchant cash advance can provide your organization with a lump sum of working capital that can be used for many different business purposes.

How to Make and Keep New Business Goals

An Outbound Engine survey found that less than half of small businesses have a plan for growth. But many business ideas need a marketing or operational plan in order to succeed. As you implement new ideas make sure they are tied to plans that include specific goals and measures. offers up several tips for setting and sticking to goals, and we’ve adapted their list for business owners here:

  • Don’t try to do too much at once, limit to one or two goals that are most important
  • Set realistic goals with specific, measurable benchmarks and a finish line
  • Don’t wait until New Year’s Day – make goal setting part of your organization’s process on an on-going, systematic basis
  • Be accountable and assign goals and tactics to specific people with dates set for measures, reports, and contingency plans
  • Be accountable to your accountability plan – where does the buck stop?
  • Communicate and celebrate incremental successes
  • Embrace change; you can’t achieve new goals with old thinking and the same tactics
  • Each day ask the question: what can I do today to move toward the goal?
  • Make sure that your company is “healthy;” fix what goes wrong internally so that employees can focus on reaching the goal
  • Have some fun along the way!

Organizations with engaged employees earn nearly 150 percent more per share than competitors, so improving company culture could potentially produce more gains than simply selling more stuff will provide.

5 Reasons Employees Hate Your Company Culture – and 10 Ways to Fix It

When a business wants to increase revenues or improve profit margins, they often look for ways to generate additional sales or find new clients. However, by only looking outside for new sales, they might be missing big opportunities that exist on the inside of the organization. Here are five symptoms along with ten ideas that can help you realign your company culture in order to reengage employees.

Human beings are wired for engagement. We want to be intrigued, interested and moved to identify ourselves with our heroes and with heroic enterprises. Most people will readily plug in and help promote organizations that fulfill these types of needs.

Yet, for nearly 15 years running, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace pegs employee engagement at just 30 percent, leaving 70 percent of American workers under-engaged or not engaged at all. When you think about the number of hours spent on the job, it’s disappointing to think that a majority of your organization’s employees might be just putting in their time, watching the clock, waiting for the moment they can leave at the end of every day.

As a business owner, you probably want your staff to feel engaged – but are you doing anything to earn it?

There’s a long list of benefits that go along with employee engagement, and many of them directly impact the bottom line when it comes to profitability and productivity. For instance, HBR (Harvard Business Review) notes that organizations with high levels of employee engagement enjoy:

  • 22% higher productivity
  • lower employee absenteeism
  • 25-65% lower levels of employee turnover
  • 41-48% less safety incidents
  • 41% less quality defects

In Employee Engagement: What It Is and Why You Need It we find even more compelling statistics, including a direct tie to the bottom line, listing some of the benefits of employee engagement as:

  • 19% boost to operating income (and correlating 33% loss of operating income for companies with the lowest percentages of engagement)
  • 26% increase in employee productivity
  • greater ability to attract top talent
  • 13% higher returns to shareholders over 5 years

Plus, engaged employees are twice as likely to be top-performers as less-engaged counterparts and miss a whopping 20 percent fewer days of work. published an article called, “5 Signs Your Company Culture May Actually Suck” listing five symptoms of cultures crying out for improvement. Here are the five signs, along with ten ways to fix what’s wrong so you can reap the benefits of employee engagement.

10 Ways to Fix Company Culture and Enjoy the Benefits of Employee Engagement

Sign Number One: Your Culture Relies on Perks

Companies that rely on employee perks instead of employee passion are simply trying to bribe their staff to love them. Perks might get talent on board and even keep them there, but won’t turn those same employees into engaged brand advocates, top performers or customer expectation-exceeders. What’s more, if lack of profitability dictates that you must eliminate perks or competitors match your offers, they won’t work at all.

1. Identify shared values and give employees something to believe in.

2. Improve on-boarding to ensure that new hires (and all employees) are well-versed in company history and lore, including mission, vision and values.

Sign Number Two: Your Company Has a Generic Mission Statement

If your mission statement is filled with expected clichés, has become obsolete or is simply M.I.A. (missing in action), you can’t expect employees to be excited about it or understand why their job is important.

1. Update your company mission and vision statements so that they are unique to your organization and express precisely how your business will meet important customer needs, improve the lives of its employees and make the world a better place.

2. Tie each and every job description (and salary review) back to measurable goals that relate to mission and vision pursuit and fulfillment.

Sign Number Three: Your Culture Exists Only at Work

If you want your brand’s influence to extend beyond the walls of your business, you have to do more than just sell stuff and your efforts must be geared for more than just selling stuff today.

1. Put verbs behind your shared values and vision; your business should be known for the causes it supports and champions, not just the goods or services it sells.

2. Give employees a voice in helping to choose give-back activities and projects, and give them time to participate.

Sign Number Four: You Hire Skills, Not People

Ideally you will hire someone who is a good fit for your company culture who “happens” to be able to fulfill the responsibilities of the job for which they were hired. Hiring for skills without considering whether an individual will be a good fit relative to shared values, co-workers, managers, important customers and other key stakeholders can be a recipe for disaster.

1. Add personality and value assessments to the hiring process and use group interviews to gain additional insight into candidates.

2. Ensure that some portion of the employee on-boarding process is designed to help the new hire integrate into the culture, their department and even facilitate social interaction with co-workers.

Sign Number Five: You Discourage Risk

When did you ever hear of a great team or a great coach that didn’t take risks? Nothing ventured, nothing gained! But all too often there are dis-incentives for taking risks within an organization.

1. Tie risks to rewards, proportionally, based on measurable goals and achieved outcomes. You should always reward employees who stick their necks out to share a great idea with recognition, and might also consider other “thank you’s” such as a one-time reward, a promotion, shares or a percentage of returns.

2. Create a process. A process for assessing employee suggestions can help to mitigate any potential negative outcomes and help you choose ideas which represent the most return on investment.