5 Ways To Find Business Inspiration Outside Your Industry

As my speaking tour through Australia and New Zealand came to an end last week, I felt more excited about my business than ever before.

Travel is one of the great educators. It gets us away from our little world and we experience other cultures, different food and different ways of providing value and service. We meet new people and see the way other businesses are run outside of the normal environment that we?re so accustomed to.

When I travel, especially when I travel overseas for extended periods of time, I find myself constantly stimulated by new people and fresh ideas. But the real excitement comes when I can apply that to my own business.

Do You Have to Travel to Find Inspiration?

The more I think about it, though, the more I believe you don’t have to travel to learn to produce better results in your business. You may not need to look outside of your own geographic borders, so much as your own business ones.

Too often, we try to improve by looking within our own industry for the best practices. When we do this though, we?re essentially copying what someone is already doing in our industry. At best we may slightly improve it. Ironically, rather than making you distinct from the competition this has the opposite effect of making you more similar.

Make no mistake: you need to look within to stay competitive. You need to match and better the innovations of your own industry. But if you?re serious about improving what you offer, consider also looking outside of your industry for fresh insights, and think of how you might bring their marketing, sales, service and retention strategies (and more!) to your business.

Here are five simple ideas you can execute with surprisingly little effort:

  1. Read about your favorite companies or businesses. There are thousands of books and articles dissecting corporate success.
  2. Read biographies of some of the business minds of now and the past.
  3. Ask a friend or contact in a different industry if you can spend a few hours in her business.
  4. Invite someone in a different sector to spend time in your business, and ask for his ideas. If you can?t do that, try a good old-fashioned lunch meeting.
  5. Put together a mastermind or advisory board with widely varying members who can give you feedback, ideas, and advice on your business.

What you?ll discover as you expand your horizons is that rather than becoming increasingly similar to everyone else, you?ll begin to differentiate yourself.

And not only is different what people remember, but different is what makes businesses great.

Have you found inspiration outside of your industry? Let us know in the comments!