How to Realize an “A-Ha” Business Moment

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Theresa O'Neill

A-ha moments have lead to some of the greatest business ideas in the world. An a-ha moment is when the solution to a problem becomes clear or you reach a revelation about something. In business, it can mean a thought that flashes in your mind that solves a nagging business problem or a moment that sparks an incredible idea. But how does one get an a-ha moment? Well, it takes some focus says brand builder Theresa P. O’Neal, CEO of New York-based O’Neal & Company.

Don’t get overwhelmed with everyday tasks. “As a brand builder, I try not to over-schedule myself to the point where I have no time to reflect nor reassess operations, strategy, procedures and outcomes. For example, if I am running from one thing to the next, I may not be taking the necessary time to see if I am even being effective. That said, I try to create an “every-other-day” principle,” explains O’Neal on how she makes room for a-ha moments. “This means, one day in the field and another where it’s just me and my laptop returning calls, creating new strategies and encouraging myself to think clearly. Some of my best a-ha moments have happened this way. Also, I love a change of scenery, such as a visit to the ocean, or power walks around a nearby track and even practicing my tennis swing. Exercise is a true mind-clearing activity.”

Not all a-ha moments are golden business ideas. “After an amazing a-ha moment, I will usually begin with the proposed end result to see if the good idea will really be part of the solution, or assess whether it will cause more harm. If there are serious red flags, I may have to go back to the drawing board,” says O’Neal.

But an a-ha moment means nothing without follow-up. “It’s never a good idea to implement “a good idea” right away! Nowadays, I try to marinate on it for a day or so, giving myself time to reflect on the outcome, even before I attempt to share my good idea with a friend, family member or colleague,” offers O’Neal. “I have learned that sharing ideas too quickly with negative people can kill the creative thought process, even before the full vision is ever realized. I have found that only time, research, reflection and effective story-boarding helps me arrive at a place where I feel comfortable implementing my new idea.”