In business - being different can mean being successful. In a world of 'me too' and copycat business - how do you make your business stand out? Fortunately or unfortunately how creative a business is comes down to the owner or business leader. Leaders tend to be good learners - watching their environment looking for opportunities - listening to customers - what they want and don't want. Leaders or owners make mistakes - but successful ones learn from these.
Creativity can be described as taking what you know, adding in what you see in the market around you and creating ideas that produce the best possible return on investment. Attached to this article are some amazing pictures from a Treehouse Diner in Japan. The owner decided to open a Diner - it would have been the same as every other Diner in the city - food + staff + customers - what would be the point of difference. They then had the brainwave - "I know - lets build a Treehouse Diner - it needs to be a massive tree in the middle of the city - with gigantic branches. It should have a balcony with a perfect view over the harbour and should be seen by everyone for miles around". Would loved to have been at the meeting where this was being sold. Wouldn't you?
But they stuck with their idea - and now they attract locals and tourists to their amazing restaurant that sells local organic farm produce 20ft in the air. Amazing Creativity!
When starting a new business - if online or restaurant - bring something new to the table. Be different - you need to stand out from the crowd - have a unique selling point. Depending on your mindset - every opportunity is a risk, or every risk is an opportunity - which is it?
If you did not see these photos - would you have believed that this would have been done or exist? No I don't think so! So you need to get out of your current environment - go exploring - looking around you - see the ideas and opportunities. The same routine day in day out will yield the same results - nothing will change.
Think big - why would anyone want to be small? Are you really happy owning the corner shop? Set your goals in the stars and you may reach the clouds....If you are aiming for 10ft - you may only get 8ft. Is it not better to aim for 20ft and get to 15ft?
Belief - you need to believe in your ideas. Many people will say no - and not agree with creative ideas - many people do not like to challenge the norm and of course its risky. You need to believe in the idea more than anyone else.
How do you be so creative that it surprises your customers and competitors? We have heard it being best described - as "think like a child". Children have great imaginations...only as they get older is this closed down by rules and society. They jump in without asking how deep it is first - they just jump! Are you brave enough to do this still?
Focus on the roles you love the most - these you will complete easiest and best. Get help with the other roles...if you are not an accountant - do the basics - but get a professional accountant. No experience in marketing? Outline some ideas - but talk to a professional. Focus your energies where they can be most effective. Being creative allows you to wear many hats - possibly even through necessity - you can be business owner, marketing, teacher, social media expert, business spokesperson, finance, customer service. Do not try and be master of these all - know when you need help and get it.
Build the brand / your customers - create a community that revolves around you and you are as important to them as they are to you. Once this has been achieved then you can focus on getting bigger - adding new products to the range. Create a strong base to start from - a brand or business identity is critical at this stage.
Focus on people! With all the new technology around today - we no longer need to meet - we can tweet, text and talk online - why waste time with personal interaction? Time is a rare resource these days and of course we all need some help with automation to free some time for more important things. But take a few minutes to engage with some customers or your team. Ask them how they are - how are the families..what is happening locally - in sports, the community? It is people who carry your business and will make the decisions if it is successful or not - not automated tools or processes.
Be prepared to be wrong - creativity means a lot of testing and trialing new ideas. Not all of these will be successful....you need to be able to take the rough with the smooth and learn from the mistakes. With each mistake we are one step closer to our goal.
Think globally for creative companies maybe you think of Apple, Google, Zappos, Groupon, AirBnB all doing something slightly different to give them an edge on the competition. What business are there in your local or national area doing the same?
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Photos courtesy of Inthralld website.