You may think that creativity is not all that important to your business, but it can actually help you improve how you operate and make you look better to your prospects, customers and within your industry. Interestingly, it can also make you feel better about what you do and can bring a great deal of satisfaction. Cultivating creativity in your business therefore can be something worth exploring.
What exactly is creativity?
Creativity is the ability to make connections between things that at first may seem completely unconnected. Creative people are high-energy and curious, they also are very open-minded with a view that anything is possible. Ideas, brainwaves often come about when two or more things are brought together in a different, or unique way. As you may imagine, this can be very useful in business.
Imagine two people who are asked to come up with a new product for a company, let's say a new flavour of herbal tea. The first might start with a list of all the current teas the company produces and then try to find an herb they have yet to try making into a tea. He or she might well discover one or more herbs that have never been tried, of course they may not have been used in the past for a very good reason such as they taste awful. The second person however, gets all the teas out and starts to mix them together perhaps using an Earl Grey tea bag and adding a Lemon Zinger tea bag just to see how they taste together. An hour later he or she may have dozens of new teas that colleagues are eager to sample. The first person however, is still wondering why his or her tea tastes so bad. Of course, a third person may think completely out of the box and come up with new packaging, or a new delivery mechanism such as selling loose tea rather than tea bags.
Why do many business owners suffer from a lack of creativity?
Some businesses focus almost exclusively on the profitability of business; cutting back rather than using creativity to move forward. Others believe they are not creative, or their business doesn't lend itself to creativity. That attitude, or mind-set, can lead to missed opportunities. People who think and act creatively are continually on the look out for ideas that can make what they sell, or what they do better. They are always looking to move forward and as we know if you're not moving forward you are very likely slipping backward.
How can you be more creative?
So, if you are stressed, always thinking of the dollar, and don't think you are creative, what can you do to bring innovation to your work? The first thing is to assess what you realistically can and cannot do. If you feel you don't have time to impart a creative touch to your work, then hire someone to either do it for you, or to look over your work and then talk about it with you. It is amazing how often people who think they aren't creative can come up with good ideas when they bounce ideas off of someone who is innovative, non-judgmental, and enthusiastic.
The second thing that even the most time-stressed person can do is to take a few seconds here and there throughout the day and simply notice things. When you flip through a magazine, pause if something catches your eye and spend 15 seconds thinking about what it is that you like, and how you might be able to do something similar in your own line of work. When you are watching television, look at the advertisements that make you smile, or think, and try to figure out how the advertising executive came up with the idea for that commercial. When you are cooking, look at the cut kiwi in your hand and see how two totally different colours and textures form something visually appealing. Doing this will help you realize that creativity is just a word for the merger of childlike curiosity and what experts call "unusual connections". When it comes down to it, creativity is the ability to bring two or more unrelated things together in order to solve a problem or create something new and exciting.
The concept of more ideas and better ideas, is something that can help any person in any job, especially a small business owner. Everyone benefits from being creative. And, fortunately, being creative, or coming up with more ideas and better ideas, is something you can learn. Doing some of the things listed above will help you to actually become creative. You will start seeing associations between totally different things. You will start being adventurous in your choice of colour, texture, and language. And you will find that over time, you will come up with more and more ideas that astound your staff and especially your customers. That makes for great business – creative business!