We all know the expression, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

But what about using an old trick to learn something new?

Think back for a minute to the 5 W’s (and 1 H) we learned in grade school. We all know that answering the questions Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? can help us organize our thoughts and improve our writing. But we’re suggesting you use this old trick to generate some new ideas for your business.

Who?

You’re probably pretty confident stating who you consider your current target audience for your product or service to be. But take some time to think about who your target audience potentially could be. There might be one or more groups out there who could benefit from what you have to offer that you haven’t really thought about before. Do some research, strike up a conversation, widen your network. Every new interaction with a new Who is an opportunity.

What?

When you meet someone new, one of the go-to questions is, “So what do you do?” So we’re here to ask…what do you do? Falling back on a predictable, “I’m a small business owner,” “I’m a teacher,” or “I volunteer” isn’t nearly as inspiring as “I source and sell innovative products that make people’s lives easier,” “I help shape the minds of the future,” or “I give back because I feel the good in people and want to share that joy with others.” Try reframing what it is you do to see if it sparks any new insights. Looking at something from a new angle might not change exactly What it is you do, but it could have a positive effect on how you feel about it or how you go about promoting it.

Where?

Thinking about the Where of your business could be as simple as reconsidering its physical location (like a storefront, an office or your home). But thinking about Where could be a more abstract process too. Maybe you need to think bigger (inter-provincial, national, international). Maybe you need to think smaller (less corporate, more community). Maybe Where means attending (or participating in) a trade show. Maybe it means going back to school. Let your imagination fly…who knows where you and your business will end up!

When?

Timing is everything, right? We’ve stressed the importance before of planning ahead and of the seasonal nature of marketing. So take a flip through your nice new 2018 calendar with all of those blank squares of potential. Think about what you want to accomplish, think about how long it will take, and think about how soon you want to see results. And then? Make it happen. The most important part of When is what you can start now!

Why?

Not to get all philosophical, but why do you do what you do? It’s easy enough to answer, “Because it pays the bills.” But we’re willing to bet there’s more to it than that. So why not give this a little deeper thought? You might reconnect with the enthusiasm you had when you first started out. Or, with a whole lot of experience under your belt, you might now see your Why in a whole new light. Either way, grab a pen and jot down your ideas. You may just end up with a brand new vision or mission for your business.

How?

That’s the million dollar question! Maybe you’ve always done things the same way and it’s always worked for you. If so, that’s great! But if, after considering the 5 W’s, you’re feeling like there’s so much more you could be doing, it’s time to start drilling down into the How. Have some fun brainstorming…there are no wrong answers, just ideas!

At CP Business Solutions we’re always coming up with new ideas (and we don’t always rely on the same old tricks). Get in touch if you think we can be of help to you and your business this New Year”