The most important factor in creating a successful business is having a unique proposition, and creativity is the key to achieving this. Despite the common misconception that creativity is something you either have a natural affinity for or don’t, anyone can unleash their creativity through cultivating the right mindset, and by so doing lay the foundations for a healthy business.
Practice makes perfect
Life is hectic. We spend so much time dedicating our mental capabilities to our daily routine that we often forget to step outside of ourselves and dream.
As a child my grandfather and I would spend hours playing business ‘games’ based on make-believe companies. This was crucial in developing my ability to open myself up to creativity and maximise my general knowledge. Both of which still help me to brainstorm ideas and identify when I’m onto something unique today. Regardless of your age or level of experience, setting aside time to let your mind wander, and increase your knowledge of a specific field, is vital to unleashing creativity.
Creativity doesn’t require re-inventing the wheel
Plucking a completely unique concept from mid-air, without a stimulus, is extremely challenging, so when practising creativity start with an existing product or service and ask yourself how it can be improved. After all, the most successful companies in the world have built their reputations on adapting things we had already experienced.
Steve Jobs and the iPhone is a prime example. Although Martin Cooper was the creator of the cell phone, Jobs is better known as a beacon of creativity because he advanced the mobile from a product that could make calls to a device that had music and wireless capabilities.
Use problems as inspiration
Rather than viewing the obstacles you encounter in daily life as inconveniences consider them opportunities for innovation. The chances are that you won’t be the only person to have struggled with them, meaning there is not only a gap in the market but a target audience ready and waiting for your creative solution.
My most successful businesses were all conceived in this way. For instance, GripIt was inspired by my inability to attach a curtain rail to a plasterboard wall with standard fixings which do not have enough space to open up properly in the small gap between the wall and the plasterboard, meaning they can’t hold any significant amount of weight. After research into how to resolve the problem turned up nothing but scores of other people facing the same obstacle, I created the GripIt a fixing that opened sideways rather than forward which I used to solve my own problem and brought to market to help others with theirs.
Don’t underestimate practical solutions
When entrepreneurs dream of their first business they tend to imagine, and be drawn to the idea of creating, a glamorous product or service. However, this underestimates the value and longevity of businesses built on practical solutions.
Take heavy duty fixings as an example. They are something that people with plasterboard walls categorically need, and there will be a market for them so long as there are plasterboard walls. This cannot be said of products that are built on ‘wants’ as these are constantly in flux.
To turn a creative idea into a successful business you need to question every aspect of the product, and company at large, to establish that it’s feasible. Ensure you’re able to articulate your idea in a couple of sentences, create a business plan, work out the figures, and think about how the business will operate in practice.
Anyone can be creative so long as they are willing to commit time to practising innovation, thinking about how existing products could be optimised, and are open to seeing problems as opportunities for innovation regardless of how ‘unglamorous’ the resultant product may be. By questioning the feasibility of your idea once formed you will lay the foundations for turning your unique proposition into a successful business.