Terri Sjodin, Author of Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big
The quest for “great ideas” to stand out from the competition in today’s market is challenging, but can also be a fun adventure! Whether you are trying to launch your entrepreneurial vision, support a philanthropic effort, close a big deal, land your dream job or get that next promotion, we are all looking for that spot-on gesture that’s the perfect balance of clever, classy and creative to help us move our intentions forward!
Below are 5 simple scrappy ideas chosen from Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big to help you take action and get started. Before moving forward, evaluate whether your effort is going to be before, during, or towards the end of your process, as well as small, medium or large in scale. Sometimes your idea or solution to a problem is a simple, easy to execute effort. Small actions can have a big impact too. But again, sometimes the big ideas get the big results. Don’t over-complicate it if you don’t have to! The following 5 ideas are strategies that others have used effectively. I provide these to help jump-start your creativity, not as an exact plan for you to follow.
5 Scrappy Ideas People Have Used to Move Their Intentions Forward
1. Handwrite personal cards and notes.
Sending a good old-fashion hand written note is considered a rarity today. They rarely even teach cursive writing in classrooms anymore. Don’t just send generic holiday cards with custom engraving and no personal sentiment or note – that’s just checking the box and it doesn’t make any impression at all, except to say, “You are one in a large stack of people on my holiday card list.” So boring! You don’t have to write a novel, just a line or two with a nice hello and your real signature.
If you are not as close to a specific individual, why not send a Starbucks card with an invitation and say: “Hey, want to meet for coffee? I know we’re thousands of miles apart, but we can pretend we are together in person. Latte is on me!”
2. Reach out to people on the more unique holidays or occasions.
Instead of following the crowd and blending in with the masses by sending a traditional Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Seasons Greetings card, why not skip that season all together? I’m a big fan of sending Thanksgiving cards. You’re thanking people for their business and friendship, and of course standing out from the crowd with a more unique and personal holiday wish. Or how about Happy New Year or St. Patrick’s Day instead?
Another option is to deliver a message of “good luck” to someone who is working on a project. They will remember your kind gesture. Include a small good luck charm like a four-leaf clover or a small horseshoe to encourage their efforts and send positive wishes.
3. Walk meetings.
Instead of sitting down for a meal and taking in extra calories or having another boring office meeting, why not step outside and change the view? Invite somebody you want to visit with to meet you for a beach walk, nature walk, power walk, whatever. Change things up and stay active at the same time. An article in the Huffington Post noted that “Walking helps break down formalities, relaxes inhibitions and fosters camaraderie between colleagues – and less eye contact can fuel more personal conversation. Meeting on the go also minimizes distractions – no phones, no email, no texts, no colleagues interrupting you.”
4. Hire a ride or provide the ride.
Going to the same party or event? Add a touch of class and offer to go together in style. Hiring a chauffeur or car can allow more connection time to and from the event – not to mention it can be safer. Not in the budget? Offer to be the designated driver and provide the selfless service of forgoing the open bar to have the time with those select passengers! Offer to take someone to the airport. It will give you some alone time in the car with them to connect along the way.
5. Treat your guests to a special outing.
The concert, golf outing, tennis match, charity event – something people would love to attend but typically don’t splurge for on their own or can’t get access to. They may be more excited about attending the event than spending time with you, but that’s okay. It opens the door and buys you more time to connect with them.
Now that you have had a chance to take a look at these 5 different ideas used by others on the scrappy path, I hope you’re feeling activated and inspired. Clever ideas can range from easy to elaborate, it depends on your style, brand, and risk tolerance.
Imagine the possibilities when you employ similar strategies to your situation. While you will need to tweak and adjust these ideas to your own unique circumstances, keep an open mind to new possibilities and remember that great ideas don’t grow in infertile soil. The nuances of a brilliant effort are most often found underneath the obvious concepts. That’s why your homework is so integral to the design. You want to have a general idea of all the different scrappy actions worth considering and then take the time to look further at the details. That’s when it gets good. This is why your curiosity about the person you want to meet or connect with is so important. If you’re not genuinely curious about them, how will you uncover anything of true value to apply to your situation? The beauty of a scrappy execution is in the little things – otherwise, it’s just like everyone else’s efforts. Stay Scrappy!
Terri L. Sjodin is the author of the National Best Selling book, “Small Message, Big Impact.” Her new book “Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big” was just released by Penguin Random House. She is the principal and founder of Sjodin Communications, a public speaking, sales training, and consulting firm. For more than twenty years Terri has served as a speaker and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, industry associations, academic conferences, CEOs, and members of Congress. She lives in Newport Beach, California. For more information, please visit www.terrisjodin.com.