It’s More Than Just Thinking Outside the Box
In the world of entrepreneurship, creativity is crucial to success and plays a key role in the overall entrepreneurial process. As entrepreneurial skills go, creativity is widely considered a “must-have” when running your own business- from the startup phase to every year that follows. According to Tucker Marion, a professor at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, creativity is a successful entrepreneur’s most valuable asset. Marion, the Director of Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Innovation program, says, “Creativity is essential in business because it’s a differentiator.”
In a study performed by Forrester Consulting, the importance of creativity in business is made even more clear. A whopping 82% of executives surveyed by Forrester reported that companies greatly benefit from creativity. Even more enlightening, 58% of the executives stated that they strove to set goals based around creative outcomes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the importance of creativity as an entrepreneurial skill has been fully realized by most. Regardless of the many benefits creativity has to offer businesses, that same Forrester survey found that 61% of executives didn’t perceive their companies to be creative.
Creativity seems to be a skill that is often attributed to artistic job fields graphic design or writing but a lack of creativity can be extremely limiting to an aspiring entrepreneur. Without a consistent flow of creativity, it is likely that your business will reach a point of stagnation with no clear view of how to offer innovation and move forward successfully.
In reality, there are a number of benefits that result from creativity as it relates to entrepreneurship. If you are in the beginning stages of your own entrepreneurial endeavours, you should focus your efforts on fostering a flame of creativity and apply this skill to your daily operations. If you aren’t sure where to start, Start To Do It is here to help! Today, we’ll be talking about the importance of creativity as an entrepreneur, how it can benefit you, and how you can apply your creativity to your business practices.
The Importance of Creativity
A successful entrepreneur is skilled when it comes to linking the creative and business mind. As an entrepreneur, you understand the importance of innovation. Regardless of your industry, innovation is required to stand out to your consumer- especially if you operate in an especially saturated market. By applying creativity to your business practices, you can always stand two steps ahead of your competitors. While your competitors remain stagnant, comfortable with their established brand, you should be constantly looking for ways to improve and expand. Creativity is an important part of this process. Without a consistent flow of new ideas, your company will never reach its full potential and may fall from your established level of success. Making creativity an important part of your business strategy enables you to innovate by focusing your efforts. It also opens the mind of an entrepreneur to the ways that they can expand their brand and focus their efforts.
So how is creativity defined when applied to entrepreneurship? Put simply, creativity is defined as the “ability of imagination”. When discussed in a business setting, creativity is more often referred to with a very common phrase: “thinking outside of the box”. If this is a familiar term to you, you are likely also familiar with what it means at surface level. In order to be truly innovative, an accomplished entrepreneur is able to set established standards aside in order to offer a product, service, and features that sets them apart.
The Characteristics of a Creative Entrepreneur
If you are having trouble identifying whether or not you are creative enough to experience success as an entrepreneur, there are a few characteristics, as provided by Beatechelette, that you can use to focus your efforts. By reviewing the characteristics on this list, you can determine whether or not you are creative. If you find that you lack any number of these qualities, you can then refocus your attention on implementing them into your entrepreneurial efforts. These characteristics include:
- Experimentation of new ideas
- Learning from the evaluation of new ideas
- Implementation of new ideas based on what you have learned
- Operation under the philosophy that creativity strengthens your business
- A willingness to expand and transcend industry boundaries
- The belief that there is always room for improvement
- Value is placed on both collaborative and independent brainstorming
If you recognize some of these characteristics in yourself you are already well on your way to establishing creativity as an entrepreneurial skill. On the other hand, if you find that you are still having trouble identifying these characteristics in yourself, you may find Start To Do It’s entrepreneurial questionnaire helpful. We strive to offer you valuable insight when establishing yourself as an entrepreneur and believe that you can effectively bolster your creativity with the tools that we offer.
How Creativity Can Benefit Your Venture
So what can creativity really do for you and your business? There are a number of valuable benefits that you will experience when you make creativity an active component of your entrepreneurial efforts. Creativity is crucial to your success as an entrepreneur and this is evident when looking at the advantages that it provides.
As we touched upon briefly, creativity is central to innovation. When producing a product for your consumer, it is important that what your business offers not only meets customer expectations but far exceeds it. Any product that your business attaches its name to should be useful, unique, and efficient.
New inventions are introduced to the world every single day but it is important to note that an invention is not always innovative upon release. While inventions are defined as unique ideas, a successful innovation is something that takes a unique idea, or invention, and expands upon it. This is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the competition, setting your brand up as the leading entity in your industry. Creativity plays an important role in this and you can only stay relevant for as long as you remain innovative. Comparatively, you can only remain innovative for as long as you put in the required creative effort.
Encouraging People to Think
Our world is smaller than ever thanks to technological advancement and it grows even smaller with each passing day. As entrepreneurs, we have a greater responsibility than ever to use the tools at our disposal to collaborate, communicate, and share ideas. There are great advantages in store when we share ideas and encourage conversation both within and outside of our industries. So how does creativity to relate to this?
To put it simply, creativity is beneficial because it encourages people to think. As entrepreneurs collaborate, they also offer many plausible solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. Different ideas and viewpoints ensure that your business is able to keep pace with our ever-changing world and that you are able to adapt with the times. As an added bonus, it is common for creative discussion to result in a boost in your own creative thinking.
No matter the size of your business, it is your responsibility as an entrepreneur to consistently encourage a passion for the work that you and your team complete every single day. By maintaining positive morale amongst your employees, you will inevitably foster increased productivity.
By encouraging your staff to work creatively, share their creative ideas, and brainstorm, there will be an added level of excitement in your workplace. When your employees feel encouraged to share their ideas they will, as a result, also feel further appreciated. Studies have found that one of the best ways to motivate employees is to get them involved with your business’s creative processes. This results in a higher degree of job satisfaction and, as we all know, a happy employee tends to be a more productive employee.
Identifying Employee Potential
While encouraging creativity amongst your employees is a great way of boosting productivity, it is also a valuable method of identifying employee potential. As your employees share their creative ideas with you, it is likely that you will find that you had only tapped half of the potential in many of your employees.
As your employees grow more comfortable sharing their creative ideas with you and their co-workers, they will also begin to feel more comfortable expanding their creative thinking. This will result in a confidence boost with each successful creative endeavour. From improving job processes to developing new business strategies, both you and your employees are sure to unlock hidden potential when working creatively.
How to Apply Creativity to Your Business
If you find yourself lacking in creativity as it relates to your business, there are a number of ways that you can train yourself to view your work more creatively on a regular basis. At Start To Do It, we believe that entrepreneurial success is found through knowledge and proactive execution. Here are a few of our most recommended ways to apply creativity to your business.
Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm
In order to select the next big idea, you will first need to have a selection of creative ideas to choose from. No matter how big or small your idea may seem, it is important to brainstorm every creative idea that pops into your mind. You can empower yourself to think more creatively on a regular basis by engaging in frequent brainstorming sessions, either collaboratively or independently. You can think of this as a “workout session” for your creative muscles. With practice and dedication, you will find yourself full of ideas in no time!
Evaluate Your Creative Ideas
With each new creative idea that comes to mind, it is important to evaluate. By evaluating your creative ideas, you can access the idea’s probability of success, quality, and usefulness in boosting your business’s success. Princeton Creative Research compiled a helpful checklist that entrepreneurs can use to evaluate each of their ideas. Here are a few of the items that you’ll find on that checklist:
- Have you established all of the possible advantages of your idea? Is it in demand?
- What problem does your idea seek to offer a solution to?
- What are the limitations of your idea?
- Are there any risk factors associated with your idea if things don’t go quite according to plan?
- What short-term and long-term results can you expect?
Share Your Ideas and Welcome Feedback
There is a lot that can be learned from failure and feedback from others, whether positive or negative. Learning experiences offer a valuable opportunity to learn how you could improve and what aspects of your creative idea should be kept and expanded upon. Without feedback from others, you will find yourself operating solely on your own perception of your idea. This can be dangerous when implementing your creative ideas.
Boost Your Creativity With Start To Do It
Are you ready to get your creative juices flowing? If so, you have already taken your first steps down the path to harnessing creativity as an entrepreneurial skill. We hope to guide you along all of your creative entrepreneurial endeavors and believe that process begins by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Take our entrepreneurial questionnaire today to get started!