Creativity comes in many forms for small businesses. Whether it’s an innovative marketing plan, a diverse set of business strategies that help you accomplish your goals, or an opportunity for business owners to express their individual personalities in the work they do every day, one of the biggest draws of working in a small business is the ability to make it your own in some way.
However, being creative is not just a matter of personal expression. In times that see small businesses having to work harder to stay open and keep business going steadily, creativity can make a difference.
Creating Your Plan
You may have a great business idea, but find that it’s hard to make a dent in your marketplace due to a variety of factors including operating costs, competition from larger established businesses, or increasing pressure on consumer spending among others. This is when the creative small business owner will often make a “pivot” – introducing a dynamic aspect of their business plan that is designed to keep doing what they do best, but offer their goods or services in a way that sets them apart from their competition. This goes deeper than just brand identity: what innovations can you really bring to the table? Mobility, personalization, and connectedness are driving creative change in many small businesses that have felt confined by the traditional brick and mortar model.
Creating Your Brand
Even if you cannot creatively adjust the operational, functional part of your small business to compensate for the changing environment in which you work and live, it is possible to find a fresh new presentation or a new voice that speaks loudly and clearly to the audience you want to attract. It is important for small businesses to always keep their ears open – both to traditional feedback – especially the positions and actions of their immediate competitors – and to alternative sources of information such as social media. Speaking directly and in the language of your market will create powerful and profitable connections.
Remember to reinforce your identity through every other customer interaction too, not simply marketing and communications. From sales to customer service, it’s your opportunity to show your creative edge over the competition.
Stagnation is one of the biggest enemies of small business productivity. How can you motivate your employees to contribute and cultivate new ideas, helping your business grow? You can’t just say, “Be creative,” and expect your staff to magically produce innovative ideas. An innovation-driven work environment must be carefully nurtured and encouraged, and it starts with your company’s leadership. Offer employees the resources, space and time they need – this could be the difference between a business model that falls flat despite exceptional planning, and one that takes a central concept to new heights.