Monday Mornings with Madison


Although the economy in the past year has headed into uncharted territory, some bits of wisdom remain unchanged. One of them is that success in the marketplace depends on providing value to others. And if you’re trying to figure out how to offer more value to others, it’s always a good idea to start with a better mousetrap.
Haven’t you ever considered a product or process and thought to yourself, “Can’t they come up with something better?” Of course you have, but then why haven’t you taken the next step? Why don’t you switch the “they” to you?  

There are lots of reasons why we don’t follow up on our ideas for a better service or product. Sometimes we assume that our insight is so simple that other people must have already acted on it. Or if not, we assume that there must be a good reason why our solution hasn’t already materialized, so why bother.  Much of the time, however, we fail to act on our desire for a better mousetrap simply because of inertia. We’re waiting for “them” to do it.

Over the years here at Madison, lots of different people have come up with many simple ways to improve the process of buying, selling and managing real estate.  For example, we listened to the frustrations that people expressed when closing on a property and we kept asking, “How can we make this faster and easier for buyers and attorneys?” We paid attention to the ideas that were generated, and over time we designed a process and developed cutting-edge technology that allows us handle most title work better than anyone else in the market — which is why we have such a loyal clientele.

Whether it’s the invention of Velcro or the launch of e-Bay, success comes to those who recognize a problem and then come up with a solution. They follow up on their bright ideas. Why don’t you pay more attention to your own ideas? You never know where this could lead until you try. Let’s look at a few simple tips to get you going:

Write it down Keep a little notebook in your pocket or bag, and whenever you get an idea for something new or improved, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, write it down. Don’t judge its value — just make a note. If you don’t, you’ll forget it.

Think about it Some of your ideas won’t be worth pursuing, a few will turn out to be promising, but you won’t know which is which until you’ve done a little research. Take time to mull over your ideas and explore their possibilities. Even if you decide not to follow up, what you learn in the process will help you in the future.

Start implementing Don’t get stuck thinking about your ideas endlessly, and don’t wait for the perfect moment to get started. Take a small first step. Lots of people walk around with great ideas, thinking that one day they will put them into action. Those who succeed are those who get started even if they aren’t 100 percent ready.

Know when to stop As important as it is to get started, it’s also important to know when to stop. You can get so involved with an idea that you don’t realize when the time to move on has arrived. You can always come back to it later, but for now, keep going. That better mousetrap is still out there.

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw

© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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