15 Ways to Boost Small Business Creativity

15 Ways to Boost Small Business Creativity

Have you ever showed up to work in the morning and immediately thought: “I have no motivation or inspiration to share today”?

If you answered “yes,” you are certainly not alone in that feeling.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially, have a tendency to burn out more frequently than big business owners. Why is this? Because small businesses have less man power, leaving the CEO to take on the majority of the workload. Small businesses have a black cloud lingering over their heads, that reminds them that if they mess up, they will fold.

This doesn’t have to drain your creativity and inspiration; you have the power to cultivate your creativity and produce great work as a result. All it takes is a few tweaks to your daily routine, and you will find that your inspiration for entrepreneurship will be more vibrant than ever!

Use these 15 creativity tips to allow the best YOU to shine in all of your business affairs.

 

Invest in a hardbound journal.

Hardbound Journal

You should keep a journal with you at all times. I am most certainly not suggesting that you log a “Dear Journal…” entry every day (though that wouldn’t be such a bad thing), but I am suggesting that you maintain a “thought” journal for your many distractions throughout the day. I lost count of how many times I have sat at my desk to write a blog, and ended up making a list of books I want to read before I die.

How does a journal help you to subside these whimsical thoughts and help you stay on track? Well, instead of making that list of books to read before you die, write “Lookup books to read before you die” in your journal. This prevents you from presently taking action to make the list and instead provides you with a task list for later in the day; maybe when you aren’t in the middle of a project at work (PS. I guarantee you will never refer to these ‘lists’ in the confinements of your own home, it always seems to work this way) (PPS. I suggest a hardbound journal because writing in a hardbound journal convinces our minds that we are writing content of substance, not just thoughtless notes; we pat ourselves on the back for having substantial ‘stuff’ to note throughout the day).

 

Take time for brainstorming. Both by yourself and with your team.

Brainstorming is an incredible way to stay creative and inspired in all of your endeavors. Brainstorming often coerces you to find creativity in the most uninspiring subjects.

Some of our best marketing ideas here in the office come directly from our designated “marketing brainstorm” time every month. Helen Keller hit the nail on the head when she said: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

 

Participate in industry or topic-of-interest groups on social media.

LinkedIn Groups

On Facebook, you can join up to 6,000 groups of interest before they cut you off. That means you have a huge opportunity to participate in discussions related to all of your favorite topics and interests. On LinkedIn, you can join professional groups related to your interests; you can talk business, or just learn what’s new in your industry of interest. Google+ Communities have to be my favorite group discussion platform. Whether you are interested in photography, or you want to learn about small business, you can join a community that fits your desired specifications.

The benefits of participating in online communities are endless. You can ask questions, entertain ideas, and browse articles and pictures related to your subject of interest. Whether you choose to join a group featuring a recreational topic, or you join a business-inspired group, you have the opportunity to indulge yourself in great content and conversation.

 

Make time for exercise sometime during your busy schedule.

Whether you can dedicate a full hour and a half to “gym time” or you can only manage a 30 minute workout, allocating time during your day to participate in some sort of exercise will significantly impact your productivity in the long run. Note: if you haven’t attended a gym or exercised for a long stint of time, it will not be easy to motivate yourself to start back up again. My suggestion is to pack a gym bag and leave it in your car; immediately after work, stop by the gym. This makes it feel like more of a pit-stop on your way home (as would stopping by the grocery store), and less of a chore. Plus if you return home prior to working out, you are significantly less likely to exercise. Believe me.

 

Make a bit of “inspiration time” for yourself at least once a week.

What do I mean by “inspiration time?” Well, just a sectioned off segment of time during which you can watch TED talks, read from your favorite inspirational book (Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different), or watch your favorite inspirational movie (The Program). Whatever source of inspiration you choose, open up your mind and allow yourself to feel the inspiration ooze through your veins.

Whenever I watch The Program, and I mean really focus on the movie (this means setting my phone aside and any other technological device) my blood heats up and I feel this passion for life again. I want to conquer the world, and that’s the type of inspiration necessary to be successful in business.

 

Detox from technology. 

This is one of the most, if not the most important tip for rejuvenating your creativity. As technology innovations continue to boom one wearable technology at a time, we become so connected to the Internet that we hardly realize that we are suffocating ourselves.

If you participate in any form of social media or digital marketing, as I do, there is an unspoken pressure to remain online at all times in order to respond to mentions, comments, or messages from our followers. Do not succumb to this pressure. Your online community understands that you have designated work hours during which you are active online; as long as you respond to every customer comment when you reach the office in the morning, there will be no issue.

That being said, allow yourself a fresh breath of air once in a while! Silence your cellular device, power-down your iPad, and keep your laptop closed when you decide to retire for the night. Laying in bed on your laptop or tablet will hinder your sleep schedule, which in-turn decreases your productivity during work hours.

 

 

Write a daily gratitude list.

Gratitude is the foundation of happiness, and happiness inspires creativity. When we remain in gratitude, we are more effective in all of our endeavors.

Take the time to write 5-10 gratitudes every morning, before you go into work, and I guarantee you will face the day with a fresh, positive perspective.

Here’s my gratitude list for today:

1. Life provided me with another day of breath.

2. The weather has cooled, I don’t feel quite so sticky.

3. There is a great vibe in the office today, lots of laughter.

4. The brainstorm for this blog took less time than I expected.

5. It is Thursday! One more day until a relaxing weekend.

 

Keep your workspace clean and organized. 

Clean Workplace

I must admit that as I wrote this tip down on my notepad, I glanced around at my workspace and noticed that I needed a bit of a desk renovation. So I did just that. I cleaned my space and reorganized my desk belongings. What do you know? I pumped out 10 more bullet points for creativity tips, in a matter of minutes.

It works. I promise!

 

Take a brisk walk, at least once during your workday. 

A brisk walk gives you a chance to step away from your computer, and into the great big world we have to explore. Though you may not have time to take multiple walks during your day due to excessive meetings or a great task load, try to take at least a 5 minute walk every day.

About 6 months into working here at Trade Only, my task list grew to 2x its original size. I felt stressed, and in turn, I decided to opt out of my daily walk around the building. Nothing drastic happened, but I felt claustrophobic at my desk, and abnormally overwhelmed. I started taking my 5 minute break again, and I felt a great sense of relief. Lesson learned.

 

Make an upbeat work playlist.

Think of the happiest songs you have ever hummed along to, and put them into a playlist. Whether you listen to iTunes Radio, Spotify, or 8tracks, a happy playlist is a surefire way to increase creativity during your day. Don’t be afraid to sing along to these songs now and again; singing is proven to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

 

Create an inspiration board on Pinterest.

You don’t have to be a woman to use Pinterest, I promise (says the woman). Pinterest is a great tool for enhancing the excitement for your existing dreams, and creating new ones.

I decided to create a “business inspiration” board on Pinterest, and now I frequently pin tips for healthy workplace environments, interesting marketing articles, and helpful infographics that I happen to run into. Though I’m essentially studying marketing by pinning these pins, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

 

Use colorful sticky notes for reminders. 

Sticky Notes

This may seem extremely simple if not infantile, but vibrant colors psychologically impact our perception. They make us feel happy, despite our initial mood. So start writing those quick notes on bright colored sticky notes, and watch your mood soar.

 

Invest in a whiteboard for your office.

Whiteboards are the most exciting office supply, in my opinion. I find that I tend to use the whiteboard to brainstorm blog ideas all the time, whether I have a notepad in front of me, or not.

Another benefit of whiteboards: they are an extremely efficient way to share ideas in a team brainstorm. Give each person a different colored whiteboard marker, and watch genius unfold.

 

Add your favorite business websites to your bookmark toolbar

…And browse these websites during your downtime. I notice the more I read articles on marketing and small business, the more I fall in love with my field of expertise.

Time spent learning is never time wasted. The more you know, the more productive you can be with the time and energy you have.

 

Grab lunch with coworkers.

There is power in communal eating. Though this may sound rather like socialism, I simply mean that when you take the time to sit and eat with a coworker, you remove the pressure of being in an office, and you provide yourself with the opportunity to establish a personal relationship with your colleagues. Why do you think schools invest in cafeterias? And universities invest cafes? Because when they force students to dine in the same viscinity, the chances of students feeling less apart from and more a part of are much, much higher.

Dedicate one day out of the week to eat with a few coworkers. You don’t necessarily have to talk business, but it couldn’t hurt!

 

Surround your workspace with things you love.

Darth Vader

Allow your workspace to reflect who you feel yourself to be.

It is basic psychology that when you surround yourself with positivity, you become positive yourself (sounds a little bit like osmosis, eh?). When we think about the things, people, or places we love, we augment our happiness. So, dedicate space in your office to unique representations of your most beloved memories or aspirations.

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