While entrepreneurs are often full of ideas and know just how make goals a reality, they can sometimes become stuck and be uncertain of how to move forward or resolve a certain problem. In these instances, it can prove beneficial for entrepreneurs to rely on brainstorming sessions to generate new suggestions, come up with more innovative and fresh concepts, and improve business performance. But to ensure employees think up clever ideas, leaders need to know exactly how to make these gatherings a success.

Make it Simple to Brainstorm
In brainstorming sessions it’s essential to provide writing materials or request workers bring their own supplies to the meeting. Simply doodling or jotting down a quick thought can lead to a significant development that may have otherwise never been discovered. Even if teams do manage to come up with great insights without taking notes, the plans may be poorly developed or only half thought out if pens and paper aren’t available. Even worse, employees may think up a fantastic plan, only to forget it or have key insights fade as they search for writing materials.

Mix Things Up
Even if there’s a certain group that often comes up with great ideas, shaking up the regular brainstorming session for attendees can only work in an entrepreneur’s favor. By inviting different workers to these meetings, regular brainstormers can hear other points of view or be inspired by the creativity of others within the company.

Set Guidelines
While setting no limits seems like the best way to foster creativity and allow employees to come up with the best and most out-of-the-box solutions, this isn’t necessarily the case. When an entrepreneur doesn’t set any constraints, employees may have no idea how or where to start the discussion or which ideas to bounce off others in attendance.

By creating some structure, those doing the brainstorming will have something to base their thoughts on and a way to organize or present their suggestions. Using guidelines can actually enhance the creative process, rather than hinder it, as individuals can better hone in on problem areas or potential solutions to a specific situation, rather than have limitless possibilities.

Get Out of the Conference Room
Most company gatherings occur in regular meeting rooms, but herding everyone into the same spot for brainstorming sessions isn’t the ideal way to generate new, exciting ideas. If possible, get employees out of the office to ensure they are excited, enthusiastic and stimulated by a new environment.

When taking the brainstorming session out of the office is not an option, try to make a meeting space as creative as possible. Asking people to gather in an area that may be used for another purpose or at their desks can break down some of the thought barriers individuals may encounter when trying to be creative in a traditional meeting room.

Offer Constructive Criticism
Not every idea that will be broached in a brainstorming session will be a good one, and it’s key to shoot down these ideas so they don’t spiral out of control or gain huge support when there’s no possible way they will prove successful. Point out why the plan cannot move forward, but then be certain to address the positive aspects of the suggestion and thank a contributor for his or her willingness to speak up. Dismissing ideas without offering some constructive feedback may leave an employee hesitant to continue brainstorming and generating new plans, something that can have a detrimental impact on the business and make it more difficult to find the right solutions to new problems.