Being hired through a traditional interview process is not the only way to get ahead in business. If you've got a winning idea and the initiative to bring it to fruition, plenty of opportunities are out there, ripe for the taking. Prepare your ideas carefully and do your research to ensure that you give yourself a strong chance of being taken seriously.

Refine your idea. Ideas come in many forms. You might have thought of a new slogan for an existing product or a way for a local business to double their revenue. Before you decide whether or not to go forward, write down your idea and read it back to yourself. If there is anything that you can clarify about the idea, do so. Make sure you can articulate the basic idea in one paragraph or less.

Research the company that the idea pertains to. If you already work for the company, you probably have the benefit of connections and knowing the company's values or mission statement. If you're inspired to submit an idea to a company where you don't know anyone, get the necessary information before proceeding. Decide if your idea really matches up with what the company is setting out to do and consider whether the company already has your idea in action, or if it is truly original.

Find a contact. Many large companies have websites with contact information. If possible, locate the employee who works in Human Resources and send them a letter directly. If there is only one office number available, call and politely ask for a number or address you can use to contact the HR Department. Be cordial and professional with everyone you correspond with. You never know if the secretary is the bosses' daughter or the HR guy is about to move up to an executive position. If you want to build a relationship with the company, you need to start making connections with them.

When you reach the right person, ask about either sending them a proposal packet or coming in to pitch your idea in person.

Polish your information or presentation before you share it with the company. Have colleagues or objective friends listen to your pitch or read your proposal before you send it in. When everything is in order, sell your idea with the same intensity that you used to think of it.


Read up on patents and decide whether you need one to protect your idea.

Follow up with the company within a week of submitting your proposal.