It takes many things to start a business, grow a business and to be successful at it – courage, passion, enthusiasm, business sense but most of all good ideas. Monday saw the start of World Creativity and Innovation Week, an opportunity to get creative juices flowing with businesses, homes, organisations, schools and communities in over 46 countries intending to spend the week expressing their creative spirit.
There is no doubt that SMEs around the world are currently facing and having to overcome some of the most challenging business conditions for many years. In our recent Sage Business Index report, SMEs cited limited access to funding, the burden of government bureaucracy and rising costs as major barriers to doing business. As a result creative thinking and innovation has never been so important – naturally to continue to develop products and services that stand out from the competition but also to be able to think creatively around these business challenges.
For SMEs feeling the squeeze, it is so easy to become caught up in the day-to-day running of their businesses and not to take the time to think, foster and implement good ideas and this in turn can mean treading water instead of moving forward.
However, there are many simple actions that you can do to make sure that you build creativity into your business routine. Remember to use thoughts and input from everyone around to bounce, brainstorm and test ideas – and not just your staff or partners, but family and friends too.
It can help to record every idea that pops into your head – why not use your phone, or even post-it notes that you can stick up around your work space. Subconsciously you will start to chew the ideas over and formulate them into something that works. If it is not right for now, you’ll have a record of it to go back to later.
Try not to get stuck in the same old routine; sometimes even a simple change can inspire you. If you’re struggling with a business problem or need a bit of inspiration, take a few minutes out to step away from your desk and clear your head – take a walk, even if it’s just to the office kitchen! Invariably you can start to think a bit more creatively on how to overcome the issue.
Think about what – and who – inspires you and try to use this as a way to open your mind to new ideas. But ultimately, keep questioning what drives you and what you want to get out of your business, sometimes things can change and be a great catalyst for creativity.
Try and change your thinking during World Creativity and Innovation Week and see what you come up with – it could be the next big thing!