As a small business owner we have to learn or at least have a good understanding of so many things in business but one thing that often people struggle with is around thinking creatively throughout their business. I hear all the time so an so is the creative one, I don’t have a creative bone in my body or creativity only comes to me now and again when I don’t have time to act upon it… all excuses for not being creative.
The truth is, most of the time the creative process is not really as spontaneous as some people might think it was. You can’t just sit around and wait for creativity to suddenly strike. Creativity takes a little work and planning and can be taught
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Let’s explore a few things we can do no matter how creative you think you are that can spark off those creative juices.
It’s really easy to get tied down with typical business activities once you have your business flowing. But, you don’t want to rest on your laurels; it’s important to choose a regular time to brainstorm new ideas. It could be at the end of the month, before a new quarter, or any time that makes sense to you. The important thing is to take the time out to brainstorm new ideas. In our business we do this two ways, on a Monday morning Sarah and I sit down to our weekly ‘board meeting’ where we add time in to think of ideas for our business development secondly as a family we make it fun, we use a variation of James Altuchers technique ‘the ten ideas’ to get our creativity as a family really flowing, this is done over our evening meal which adds a real sense of conversation to the evening. More of that in another post I think.
While you’re brainstorming, keep track of the ideas that come to mind, and take the stance that no idea is a stupid idea. Sure, some ideas are wacky and may not work, but even a truly ridiculous idea can become genius if given half a chance. During brainstorming nothing whatsoever is off limits. If you put blocks in your way and start classifying things as silly or wrong, you will not be able to let ideas flow freely. Some people keep an ideas pad on their bedside table, you can add an ideas folder on your desktop computer or just use your phones voice recorder to speak the ideas in whilst out and about the key is to record them somewhere then at a later time go back and look at them again
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to narrow them down and start doing some research. It’s important that you handle this process on your own. Don’t turn over the research at this stage to someone else. Instead, learn about your idea, test your ideas, and get feedback from others before you turn it over to your team. You can use your email list to ask their views and for feedback. If you run a facebook group or have a page conduct a poll there to get valuable feedback at this stage all feedback can be useful to ensure the idea becomes a viable option.
The exciting fact about learning is that you can learn anything new and it will help you in all aspects of your life. What you choose to learn about today may have nothing whatsoever to do with your career or business, but it will open your mind to new possibilities. It’s important to always be involved in the learning process, whether it’s learning a new software program, or learning how to make a rock garden. For creativity to flow we need input to get those neurones firing on all cylinders by taking things in through books, TV programs courses or podcasts, for example, we are expanding our thinking.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own bubble. This happens a lot to people who have their own business, and it also happens to company directors that employ people. If you’ve surrounded yourself with a team, sometimes the team can get lazy and maybe even fearful of disagreeing with you about anything that you say or do. Invite new people into the fold, get out of your office by going to a conference or networking or a business mastermind group, something so that you can separate yourself from your inner circle enough to soak in new thoughts and ideas from a totally different perspective to those that are normally around you
Dare to dream the big dreams about yourself and your business. If your mother did not tell you that you are capable of anything, then that’s too bad. Because, the truth is, your success or failure is down to you and you alone in the way you think, it has to do with the ability to dream and think big – outside of the world you currently live – and see the possibilities that are on the other side. To allow your mind to visualise those things that you may have in the past thought were out of your reach. The power of belief and self belief are enormous and will remove any creative blocks that may be popping into your head
Brainstorming, researching, learning and dreaming only go so far without actions. So, someplace in the creative process should be a plan in which to take action. Actual steps that you need to do to see something through to fruition. It’s like anything else you do in life – if you don’t take the steps necessary to make it to your destination, you will never get there. That goes with being healthier, starting a new business, and being more creative. You have to practice doing to get results.
It can be easy to get carried away doing everything and then when things aren’t going the way we want them to it’s easy to give up. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. With any idea that you come up with that you want to succeed in accomplishing, you should be willing to spend the 10,000 hours needed to see it through. If you do that, you will not fail. You may think this is impossible and there pops in those limiting beliefs again but remember this, we create our own destiny, if we want to succeed its down to our commitment and work ethic that will see us get to that goal, if you are not willing to put the hours in you need to consider is this right for you? There is NO short cut to being excellent in business and any successful business owner will tell you but with the work comes the rewards.
Creativity isn’t a magic thing; it’s a thing that you plan to achieve. It’s the thing that will get you up every morning working your business so that you can experience the life that you dream of.
Do share with me how you get your creative juices flowing
To your success
Kevin Arrow is the CEO of the Online Visibility Academy where ethical entrepreneurs can train in digital marketing skills
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