#SmallBusinessStrategy

13 Tried & Tested Unconventional Creativity Boosters for Non-Creative Business Owners Who Need New Ideas Right Now

13 Tried & Tested Unconventional Creativity Boosters for Non-Creative Business Owners Who Need New Ideas Right Now

“I am not a creative person like you.”

I get this a lot from small service business owners.  The funny thing about it is that I don’t consider myself a creative person in the way they describe.  But as a business growth strategist, providing various perspectives to my clients is my job.  Because of this, I am definitely intentional about keeping my mind open for new ideas.

There is bad news & good news associated with this story of “I’m not creative.”  So, if this is you, read on!

By the way, I call this statement a *story* because they are the ones who made a decision to label themselves as such based on…really no scientific or logical reasons.  It’s just a thought backed by nothing. More on that later.

Let’s start with bad news.

News flash: Trying to grow a business without being creative & resourceful, especially when you need to solve problems, will end up costing you in the long run.

Why? 

There are many problems that can be easily solved by using what you already have.  But because you feel you are inadequate to do creative problem-solving or to come up with new ideas to take your business in the direction you want to take it to, you end up relying heavily on outsourcing.

If it works out, great.  Most of the time though, the process of having others do the job requires some trial & error unless you are driving those projects.  This eats up your time, and you have to pay money for their work if the arrangement is not results-based, meaning you only pay for the results they are bringing in. 

The bottom line is, if you want to grow your business, it is your job to expand your way of thinking.

Now the good news.

I have 3 pieces of good news for you.

1.     Being creative doesn’t mean becoming the next Picasso.

2.     Small actions you can take will make a huge difference.

3.     None of the tips I will share in this post cost much.

7 Signs Why Going Hyper Local & Offering Super High-Touch Interactions Are the Ultimate Future-Proof Strategy: The Hidden Business Gold Mine You May Be Overlooking

7 Signs Why Going Hyper Local & Offering Super High-Touch Interactions Are the Ultimate Future-Proof Strategy: The Hidden Business Gold Mine You May Be Overlooking

As a kid growing up in Japan, I used to daydream about what might be out there waiting for me beyond the ocean lines. 

Because I lived in an island nation, my excitement for the unknown and the future was that much more intense. Unlike living in Austria or Bolivia, islanders are truly isolated by oceans. We simply have no concept of “just crossing the border.”  In other words, living abroad is very foreign to us.

I had all sorts of romantic & wild notions about the idea of living abroad & how different and special my life could be.

Fast forwarding 10 years to when I found myself in the US as an exchange student, I realized it wasn’t all that I imagined as a kid. Right then & there, I realized I took so many things for granted when I lived in Japan, especially things my parents had provided for me. 

This was a priceless lesson in my teenage years:  Appreciate everything; do not take things for granted, however small they may be. How ungrateful I must have looked in their eyes, dying & rushing to get out of where I was, all just to be let down by reality later on?  Like a deserter tumbling down the sand dunes, I ran towards a flowing spring of water, only to discover it was a mirage.

Wanting to rely on getting easy leads online is a lot like this story.  Many of us often romanticize what it would be like to get online prospects into our sales funnel semi-automatically by offering free, downloadable cheat sheets, check lists, webinars, video trainings, etc.  Heck, we can even invest a little in paid ads.  How wonderful it would be!

Now your brain will go haywire with all kinds of expectations.

“No more networking.  No more cold calling.  No more selling.  No more RFP’s.  I don’t even need to leave my house.  Better yet, I can sit by the beach with my laptop & WIFI… I’ll hire help remotely.  People will just buy my stuff online… One-to-one is so yesterday.  One-to-many is the future!”

How to Treat Your Business Like a Business: 5 Valuable Lessons from My Time in the Show Biz You Might Want to Steal

How to Treat Your Business Like a Business: 5 Valuable Lessons from My Time in the Show Biz You Might Want to Steal

Do you find yourself having a hard time setting boundaries for your business?  Do you feel like there is no clear distinction between your personal life and your business?  You may be thinking you are too close to your business, and it’s nearly impossible to let go of some of the duties. Or maybe you feel hesitant to publicly declare what you do as a legitimate business.

Many of us start a business by pursuing a passion and/or what we mastered as a working professional, and then we grow it organically from there.  The downside to this is the line gets blurred between our personal life and our business. This also makes us feel like our business is an extension of ourselves, a part of our identity.  At times, it gets too personal because of this.

If you want to scale your business, you have to start treating your business like a business. 

A large part of this is because you are not going to do everything by yourself. You are going to need a team. If you deploy a team, then you need to systematize your processes.  In order to systematize your processes, you need to pull all of them out of your brain and start documenting.

So, what can you do immediately to start treating your business like a stand-alone, profit-generating machine?

Just like many of you, I was once living a corporate life.  Someday though, I knew I was going to leave this life, so I leveraged everything I could learn on the job.  I was consciously “intrepreneurship’ing” within all organizations I worked for. 

It was much later in my life I realized how fortunate that experience was and how much it impacted my business, which enabled me to skip most of the rookie mistakes. In a way, the experience allowed me to get right into making many more of the ‘other’ mistakes, but that is a story for another time.  At least, I did not have to start from complete scratch, so I’d say I was fortunate.

7 Surprisingly Easy Steps to Handle Difficult Conversations with Ease

7 Surprisingly Easy Steps to Handle Difficult Conversations with Ease

As a business owner, you will face conversations that you perceive as "difficult" or "confronting" from time to time.  Some of you may have more experience than others by holding a managerial position at a corporation.  But even then, having rather unpleasant conversations as a business owner is a whole other category, as you are the face of the company.

There are no other bosses to blame.  There is no brand name to hide behind and say, “They made me do it!  I’m just a messenger!”

As your business grows, your responsibility of looking after your business as a whole and assessing the overall well-being of it also grows significantly. 

It could be about firing one of your employees, especially when you break my golden rule- "No family or friends for hire."

It could be about unhappy customers demanding to speak to you.

In some cases, it's about your customers wanting a refund.

It may be that you need to tell vendors you want to stop working with them.

Or, you want to fire your client. 

 

They all sound unsavory, don’t they?

How would you say you feel when realizing you may have to handle these business matters?

Dreadful?
Heavy?
Depressed?
Exposed?
Confronted?
Conflicted?

Is your immediate reaction:

Wanting to avoid it at all cost?
Defensive?
Apprehensive?

 

What if I told you, by the end of this post, you may look forward to having these conversations because you have just acquired a new perspective? 

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 1: The Fine Dining Menu Strategy

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 1: The Fine Dining Menu Strategy

Who says you can’t learn anything by just watching Netflix?  You can.  If you pay attention, that is.


The Netflix series, Chef's Table, is a secret obsession of mine.

The show is about the stories of highly regarded fine dining chefs who take you through their journey by candidly sharing their anguish, failures, creative process, adversity, breakthroughs, desire, resistance, recognition, and perfecting their craft as a chef as well as a business owner by finding their own voices through food.