One of the most challenging and defining moments of entrepreneurship is discovering the right idea that inspires the dedication, time, energy and resources to actualize. Whether it is a new business idea, or a pivot for an established business, entrepreneurs must curate a steady flow of ideas to inspire change and adapt to new market demands.
Discovering new ideas, or having a creative mindset, is by no means a simple task. Many business leaders experience periods during their life of low creativity and inspiration, which often hurts their professional aspirations and the performance of their business.
Here, we examine a number of ways entrepreneurs can maintain or rediscover their creative mindset to bring forth new ideas that can transform their business.
Whenever you are feeling stuck, or uninspired, the easiest way to rediscover your creativity is through meaningful conversation with peers, friends, mentors and family. People who are inspiring and who you trust will provide different perspectives on your challenges, which can illuminate fresh ideas, and new approaches to your obstacles. Curate a list of your closest confidants and make the effort to reach out to them periodically to reconnect in person or over the phone, computer, etc…
The daily routine and work/life habits are often forces that work against creativity. Set time aside to break your routines, and travel somewhere near or far that is different. A new location will often provide new perspectives.
The more distance you place between yourself and your everyday habits, the more likely you will think creatively and discover new solutions. Set aside a weekend, once a month or at least every quarter to travel somewhere you have never been before, and keep a notepad close by to record any ideas that come to mind.
3. Try New Things
A great way to inspire creativity is to try new activities and experiences. Have the courage to do the things you always said you would do, but failed to so far achieve. Experiencing new things will broaden your perspective, boost your confidence, and reveal new ideas that can have a real and impact on your business and personal life.
Entrepreneurs should do everything they can to be multi-dimensional. Trying something radically new on a quarterly, semiannual or annual basis is a great way to improve your ability to think differently, cultivate a more creative mindset, and more easily solve complex problems.
4. Embrace A Bit of Danger
Another great method of instigating your creativity is consciously placing yourself in uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations. Placing yourself in uncomfortable positions induces a degree of vulnerability and openness that will allow you to more easily embrace new ideas and approaches to living.
Trying dangerous activities such as sky diving, mountain climbing, or scuba diving are great activities that can yield radically different perspectives of life that provide new forms of inspiration, which can often lead to the discovery of creative new solutions.
5. Accept Bad Ideas
Not everyone is capable of discovering great ideas on a daily or weekly basis, but everyone comes up with bad ideas. Bad ideas typically come up more often than good ones, but don’t be so quick to reject them. Sometimes a good concept will emerge from of what is initially thought of as a bad idea.
It is important to resist reactionary criticism, and instead nurture an open and accepting mindset. This will allow for the better ideas to emerge more naturally, and more often. Practice becoming comfortable with any and all ideas and record them. Target between 5 to 10 ideas a day, and write them down so that no idea, however insignificant or impactful eludes you.
A small percentage these ideas will actually be good, but only a fraction is necessary to truly inspire positive change and create a powerful domino effect of change that can transform your business for the better.
6. Absorb Information
When inspiration is lacking, it is important to make an extra effort to learn new things by absorbing as much diverse information as possible from a variety of sources. Read new books, watch unseen movies or documentaries, and consider listening to podcasts or audiobooks. Every source of content will inspire, keep you up to date, provide different perspectives on a variety of topics, which can illuminate new impactful ideas for your business and life.
A great source of potential ideas can be the conversations and interactions from networking with like minded people, industry colleagues, and even customers. Networking events place you in front of people who can have a relatively informed perspective about your business, and who are well positioned of offer insights on how you can improve your business and/or solution. Always be open to the negative or positive feedback people offer as it can directly or indirectly provide inspiration for you to come up with new ideas.
8. Consider The Future
Entrepreneurs should always be thinking about the future direction of their industry, how change could impact their business, and how they can better position their company to take advantage of the probable change. Reflecting about the future is a great way to allow for new ideas to emerge that can transform the way you approach your business, and ensure that your company is moving in the right direction. Imagine where the market will be 5 or 10 years from the present, and where you would like you company to be positioned at that future date. Then work backwards to discover the solutions that can help you get there.
Another great source of inspiration is speaking with customers about the strengths and weaknesses of your product, service and/or company. Sometimes the specific features of your solution that actually needs improvement becomes blurred during the day to day operations of your business. Customers will tell you what they really care about, and how you are solving their real problems. Organize periodic conversations with customer groups to get valuable feedback, which can bring to light new ideas about how you can better develop and deliver your solution.
When customer interactions and networking events don’t yield the kind of inspiration you need to conceptualize new ideas, consider examining your competition and how they approach their business and product development.
Study what they do better, and how you can improve your processes to narrow or widen the gap between your company and any competitor. Entrepreneurs should always be invested in improving their solution, and comparing how you operate and deliver with competitors is the easiest way to figure out what you need to be doing to achieve better results.
Brining forth new ideas and embracing innovation cannot solely be achieved through practicing the aforementioned methods. It requires a certain mindset that is willing and motivated to change.
Embracing change is the fundamental component that drives each of the described activities, and determines whether or not they will successfully yield the desired inspiration that can discover new solutions for your business.
Here, we examine the process entrepreneurs should embrace to enact meaningful change.
Becoming an agent of change requires motivation and a high degree focus or determination to act in ways that can produce the desired outcome. Even in the moment when you commit to change, a spark from that decision can yield lasting effects, one of which being the inspiration to confidently follow through not matter the obstacle. Always move forward, and embrace the inspirational flame as long as it endures.
2. Support Systems
Supporting your motivation to change requires creating habits, plans and systems that will sustain your efforts. Conduct weekly brainstorming meetings, set personal free time aside for creative thinking, record and review new ideas, establish accountability for progress, and talk with colleagues about improving your approach to problem solving and creative processes.
These mechanisms will guide you towards achieving your desired goal and limit the distractions that any inner criticism or outside doubt may have on your transformational mission.
Mistakes will occur and you will stumble. But, remain confident of your ability as a leader and your collective objective as a business. Fostering creativity and discovering new ideas that can yield positive results for your business cannot be attained overnight.
Achieving an innovative goal or solution is a hard, and will require many steps that take time to accomplish.
Entrepreneurs should accept and trust that everything is a process. Becoming a more inspired, innovative leader, like anything else in life, requires a dedicated and disciplined approach.
Along the path of enacting change, entrepreneurs should resist any form of hesitation and reject short-cuts that offer safe or familiar paths. Doing so will produce doubt, limit feelings of inspiration, and likely lead to setbacks that may cause you to quit before coming close to achieving your goal.
The whole point of embracing change is to develop the courage to see through the tough moments and grow individual as a human being, and as a group from the experience of overcoming the challenge. Always have complete belief in what you are doing and why you are doing it. Courage will not only carry you through the low points, but it will inspire others to keep faith in the cause and persevere over the long term.
To make handling the tough moments easier, map out your broad corporate objective or innovative goal, and then set smaller objectives within your goal. Breaking down your gaol into smaller mini-goals is an effective way to maintain your focus on the short term objectives that build up or lead towards your goal. Achieving each mini-goal will boost your individual and collective self-belief, and create positive momentum that can drive action and boost determination.
Set time aside to review your progress with colleagues and reflect on what contributed towards successfully accomplishing each min-goal. This will allow you to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your approach, and strategically make the necessary adjustments to ensure the successful completion of your goal.
At each step you will discover new ideas and solutions to help you along your path, and little by little, step by step, you will become more convinced of your ability to accomplish the gaol. As time progresses, you will gain greater control over the outcome, and develop the courage to surpass it, beyond any preliminary exceptions you had.
Throughout the process of enacting change, entrepreneurs should be committed to defining a clear methodology that supports innovation in a way that can redefines success and drive their company towards achieving new heights.
Success should be a formula that and can be effectively defined, applied and repeated, with the necessary flexibility to adapt to changes in the market as the occur.
Being and inspired leader that enacts positive change on a business and it's staff demands a high level of self-belief. Entrepreneurs who are searching for new innovative solutions for their business should be confident that a positive outcome is not only possible but attainable.
In this way, entrepreneurs should be ambitious even if they are uninspired because ambition provides the perseverance to discover solutions even at great costs and risk. The will to persevere is often the difference between achieving success and suffering failure.
Too much ambition can lead to a misguided perspective of what is possible with the resources on hand, and tends to produce frequent failures that can damage a business, and negatively impact confidence.
However, the trait is still and important part of guiding a venture towards a desired outcome and of successfully overcoming any obstacle a business faces within it's your market.
Entrepreneurs should work to nurture a balance between ambition and humility. Ambition will drive you to greater heights, while humility will keep you realistic about what resources are necessary to achieve your objective.
To keep yourself in check, set time aside to ask yourself:
How I can do things differently ?
How can I improve ?
Answering these questions will not only keep you grounded, but they will also boost your creativity to think about new ideas and approaches to lead your business in new directions.
Among the many ways to boost your self-belief, and innovative capabilities is challenging yourself in many of the aforementioned ways. Try something new, put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, talk to new people, be open to learning new things, and always look to the future.
These are they ways in which you can develop the raw ability to become a nimble, innovative, inspired and forward thinking entrepreneur capable of successfully leading your business through even the darkest moments.
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