Thursday, December 16, 2010

Marketing Your Idea

Selling your idea to your boss, co-workers, or management can be a tricky proposition. Typically, multiple stakeholders are involved, and organizations tend to be slow to change and risk averse. Before approaching your boss or co-workers with that fabulous new idea, consider the following recommendations.
  • Evaluate your target. If the person you need to convince is your boss, determine how he or she would view your proposal. Be prepared to respond to potential trouble spots and be ready to demonstrate how your idea will make his or her life easier. Include some of your boss’s favorite buzzwords and analogies in your proposal.
  • Do the research. Be able to support your idea with facts, figures, and real-world examples. Look at your role as that of an attorney putting together the most effective case. Packaging is also important. How does your boss like to receive information? Does he or she prefer a dog-and-pony show—in other words, an elaborate production—or facts and figures on a spreadsheet?
  • Invite without pressure. Before approaching your boss, convince some co-workers or key people in other departments to support your idea. Invite your boss and other co-workers along for the ride and get them on board early. Move slowly and be willing to accept a bite-sized “yes.” Offer flexibility by pitching the idea as a pilot program that can be regularly evaluated then expanded upon later.
  • Follow up. Keep your boss and other management invested in your project and updated on its progress. If your idea was rejected, find out why—and keep trying. Some of the most successful inventors in history were rejected multiple times before finally being given a chance.

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