Entrepreneurship starts with an idea. One of the challenges once the business gets off the ground, though, is coming up with more ideas that push the company forward.
An idea often stems from inspiration and lacking that, some business owners say, can result in stagnation or a failed enterprise.
“Without innovation and forward thinking, no business can succeed,” says Peter J. Strauss (www.peterjstrauss.com), an attorney, entrepreneur and author of The Business Owner’s Definitive Guide to Captive Insurance Companies. “But being a business owner is very demanding, and at some points, you’ll hit a wall where you can’t seem to come up with new ideas.
“To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to stay on the search for the next idea that will grow your business. And the truth is that most entrepreneurs are in need of some inspiration to ignite those ideas.”
Strauss says there are several solid ways to cultivate inspiration:
- Fix things that bug you daily. Entrepreneurs encounter frustrations, and the more bothered they are by certain issues, the more those can become an obstacle in the way of the business. Focusing some attention on negatives of the business and solutions can move it forward. “Your desire to eliminate a daily problem or a building annoyance can inspire you to fix it.”
- Listen to your employees. “Ask yourself, ‘How could they get better at what they do?’ ” Strauss says. “How could they be happier and make our business better as a result of their passion and growth?”
- Think outside the box. “The day-to-day grind shouldn’t prevent the entrepreneur from daring to dream. Have fun with it; see five to 10 years ahead and where you envision the business being. Further, use that inspiration to fuel sound ideas for expanding the business sooner than you thought and even adding new ventures.”
- Meet with peers. Strauss says an entrepreneur can re-energize and be inspired by being around like-minded leaders and speakers, perhaps at an industry trade show, where participants are pumped up. “It can get you more excited about your business and remind you of why you started it.”
- Read frequently. Strauss says leaders learn far more when they not only keep up with industry trends through reading but by reading about topics outside of their industry. “This can really inspire you,” he says, “because when you read outside your niche, you see creativity you’re not used to, and it inspires ideas.”
- Unplug and take walks. In the often loud and chaotic world we live in, especially in the business sphere, entrepreneurs need quiet time to clear their minds and then think freely. “We live with distractions. They get in the way if we let them – or if we don’t get away from them on occasion. Walking in nature is a great way to do it. Quiet time opens a door to inspiration and creativity.”
- Tailor an existing idea to your business. “You don’t want to exactly copy people, but it’s foolish not to observe and learn from other businesses’ ideas. Then find innovative ways to apply them to your business.”
“Inspiration rarely just shows up out of nowhere, uninvited,” Strauss says. “An entrepreneur needs to make time for it and go look for it, and there are a variety of ways to make that search energizing for you and your business.”