Guest Contributor

How Creative Thinking Can Help You as an Entrepreneur + 4 Ways to Apply It

By | Sarah Kaminski

In a society that cherishes material possessions more than anything else, it’s easy to see why creative pursuits have started to lose their (overt) value. But the thing is, creative thinking is still essential — especially if you’re an entrepreneur.

Think about this for a second: in 2021, more than 333 million companies were registered worldwide. In other words, no matter your industry and niche, you’re up against a lot of competition.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that entrepreneurs who want their business ventures to succeed need to think outside the box. And that necessitates the nurturing of creative thinking.

This guide explores how creative thinking can help you as an entrepreneur, along with some great tips on applying the skill in the real world.

Land on a Game-Changing Idea

The most pronounced way embracing and nurturing your creativity as an entrepreneur can help you is by allowing you to come up with the next big idea.

Before you start thinking about how you don’t have what it takes to design industry-changing products, just think about this: some of the most brilliant inventions in history came from people who simply looked at people’s needs and thought about new ways of solving them.

Steve Jobs’ iPhone blended an item everyone was already using with the functionalities of a personal computer. And Netflix used the internet to streamline its operations and extend its user base from the US to every other country in the world, making it one of the most popular subscription services with more than 220 million subscribers.

How to Use Creativity to Discover a Profitable Business Idea

Remember, creativity doesn’t only mean developing new products or services.

It can also mean figuring out how to provide consumers with already existing products in ways that are user-friendly. Consider Dollar Shave Club as a great example. This company turned a product as ordinary as razor blades into a super-successful subscription service that serves 4 million customers.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the point of entrepreneurial creativity isn’t always making a profit. Having fun in the process is just as essential, so don’t hesitate to turn your wild ideas into reality. Even something as laid-back as a word unscrambler web applet can allow your brand to appeal to a passionate and engaged audience. Ultimately, that’s what a successful business is built on.

Create a Super-Effective Workflow

Sometimes, being creative isn’t about doing something new. It can just as well be about doing something better than is the standard.

If you’re an entrepreneur, this is essential, seeing that your work hours are most likely to be long and stretched between never-ending tasks. The good news is that a little bit of creative thinking could help you create super-effective processes. This way, you won’t just free up precious time — you might just happen to also save some money.

How to Employ Creative Thinking for Process Development

If your goal is to help yourself (and your team) become more efficient, our top recommendation is to start embracing automation in new and creative ways.

Something as simple as automating the lighting, music, and temperature in your office space can go a long way, especially if you consider the fact that your work environment significantly affects your productivity levels.

You could also play around with apps like IFTTT or Zapier, which can help you design workflow automations. That will leave you free to spend your mental energy on tasks that require your expertise, not just your time.

Be Prepared for Unexpected Situations

The reality of entrepreneurship is that it comes with a great deal of unexpected risk. And no matter how well-prepared your business plan is, there’s bound to be a situation that catches you off guard — as the COVID-19 pandemic did to most businesses in 2020.

But here’s the thing: if you’re prepared to embrace creative thinking, you can just as well allow yourself to reframe dire situations and see them as opportunities instead.

How to Use Creative Thinking to Handle Unexpected Circumstances

If you’re struggling to tap into your creativity when met with unforeseen events, the best thing to do is take an analytical look at the challenge you’re facing.

By ensuring you have a solid idea of your pain points and why they require an original solution, you’ll have done most of the hard work. Plus, once you’ve assessed your situation, you can start playing around with ideas until you’ve reached the one that is most likely to work.

But remember, making full use of your entrepreneurial creativity requires flexibility. Moreover, it necessitates preparedness for not reaching success on your first try. And most importantly, being a creative entrepreneur means having the openmindedness that comes with a growth mindset where you treat mistakes as learning opportunities, not obstacles on your path towards success.

Inspire Your Team

Lastly, don’t forget that creating something new makes for a fun process. It’s an exciting journey, which could be the key to inspiring your team to think outside the box, be more engaged at work, and even apply themselves to achieving organizational goals.

How to Use Creative Thinking as a Leadership Skill

If your goal is to employ creative thinking in a way that will benefit your entire organization, the best thing you can do is communicate to your workers that you want them to be imaginative.

Moreover, you need to:

  • provide consistent encouragement by acknowledging and rewarding great ideas
  • allow your employees to try unconventional methods
  • ensure everyone feels included and appreciated in the innovation process

And remember: the best ideas often come from the most unexpected places. So be sure you include everyone in your process — not just employees with the loudest voice.

In Closing

Creativity isn’t all innovation and eureka moments. It’s a way of thinking and being that you can apply to your everyday processes and operations. Nurturing it in your everyday will help you solve problems, experiment to find what works best, and ultimately, land on great ideas. However, it might take effort at first to lift the cobwebs and wake up your creativity. Start by considering the practices we’ve talked about in this article. Do you already have an idea where you can apply them?

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