Everyone that goes into business as a solo operator needs to develop a certain amount of “creativity” or non-traditional thinking. Why?
Business in today’s world is extremely competitive, full of dime-a-dozen copycat boring companies that survive marginally (or not at all), but always willing to reward fresh thinking combined with outstanding execution.
You don’t have to be creative in the sense that your ideas are revolutionary, innovative, technological, or Nobelian.
In fact, my definition of being creative, in the business sense, might go something like this: the ability to transcend the usual thinking and commonplace practices of most businesses.
You don’t have to have one-in-million ideas; you just need to discover ways to add value, merit, utility, worth and importance to your business, especially in the eyes of your targeted customers.
OK, so you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, right?
Here are seven ways you can get the creative juices flowing and begin thinking outside the box about your business ideas and execution.
1. Don’t assume you “have it down” about your customer’s wants and what they will buy from you.
The streets are littered with failed businesses of entrepreneurs that “knew” exactly what would sell.
You must learn from your customers, not treat them like little children (that should be seen but not heard.) Don’t assume anything when it comes to your chosen market place.
2. Concentrate on new ways to market your product.
Creativity in no other area is as important to the profitability of your company. If you can figure out how to rise above the traditional strategies of your competitors and think of new and exciting methods to sell your product, you will become an unusual success.
3. Be brutally honest with yourself.
Especially in a solo business is honesty and “getting real” so critical. You must begin without false pretenses, exaggerating your prospect pool, projected sales, or your niche market share.
You’re not trying to gain millions in start-up capital which used to mean presenting the business in the most favorable light possible – even exaggerating sales projections and quick profit.
Creativity begins at ground zero. If you start from the point of honesty, you will be in an excellent position to begin looking at your competition from the same position. Think, “what can I do differently than they do to excite my customers, to deliver a better buying experience, and create some added value to my products or service?”
4. Look for inspiration in settings that help you focus on your core competencies.
If you get ideas and thoughts at trade shows and other professional gatherings, by all means frequent them. If your best thinking is done in the outdoors when you’re off by yourself, set some time aside regularly to place yourself in that environment. Recognize where you do your best thinking and visit the space often.
5. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Look at problems in a different light. Question your business operation and products in ways that will help you to discover new angles and new income sources.
Maintaining the status quo is often the enemy of creativity.
Think of how many competitors are out there that would love nothing better than to put you out of business!
6. Always think in terms of “test-launch-refine.”
Continually try new products, test new ways of delivering your offerings, and attempt new marketing methods. Don’t be afraid to flop.
The secret to executing your creativity is to not to invest great time and resources into new ideas and methods until they’ve been tested and proven to be accepted by the marketplace and profitable.
Sometimes the creative person is the one that fails the most – until he finally figures out what works. I am convinced that a large part of creativity is often disguised as owner persistence and tenacity.
7. Look for others’ creative strategies and methods in non-competing industries.
Your business can employ many great and creative ideas, regardless of who came up with them and what industry they are being deployed in. You can be creative in adapting the profitable practices of other successful businesses to your own specific situation.
Hopefully these ideas will help you to look for ways to think creatively about your business and products, even if you don’t think you’re the creative type.
Like many other personal traits, I think you can increase your creativity quotient with intent to become better, lots of practice, an open mind, and persistence over time.
To your online business success,