Creativity: the entrepreneur’s tool

Creativity: the entrepreneur’s tool

Eli Broad said, “Ideas, more than money, are the real currency for success….. People who just accept the status quo and conventional wisdom (don’t) make a difference in the world. It’s those that challenge it and do things differently who advance.”
Getting a business idea requires a lot of thinking, creativity, and research. Entrepreneurs are hard to come by.
Most people are satisfied working under someone else, however if you’re going to be different and you aspire to be an entrepreneur, you should bear in mind the following as you try to come up with business ideas that will transform your destiny.

In developing business ideas, think about a service or a product that will change other people’s lives and which they are prepared to pay for.
Try to relate this to your life or your neighbours whom you see are in need of this service or product. Creatively think how you can provide that service if it has not been provided before by anyone.
If it is already on the market but you feel you can still improve on it, then you need to look at your improvement and how unique that improvement is so that it can stand against the competition.
You might have to make a choice between making a product and providing a service. Each of these have advantages and disadvantages so you need to think these through.
Developing a product would entail investing in research and in manufacturing to produce it. This can be a big investment but can prove to be very lucrative if you manage to capture a good market share.

On the other hand providing a service will eliminate the need for developing and manufacturing a new product although you would need to hire staff if the business has to make an impact. You also have to think of how you will promote your service or product.
One of the ways to get business ideas flowing is to critically look at the product or service you are currently getting and try to identify a problem or problems inherent in the process.
If you feel frustrated in a product or the way service is being provided then know that you are not alone, there are a number of other people in the same situation who will quickly seize on the opportunity you want to provide to get an improved service or product.

In that case develop this idea into a business and launch your product or service before anyone does so that you get the first mover advantage.
In some cases, you don’t necessarily need to be solving a problem but what you are doing is seeing how you can do better on what is being offered currently.
It’s possible to carve a niche in the market from such a move. A good example, which is always quoted, is that of Google which developed an extremely accurate algorithm that improved searches on the internet.

In spite of there being a number of search engines, Google successfully improved on internet search engine capacity and as a result has taken over the search engine industry and has ended up setting a standard in the industry to such an extent that whenever you are looking for information on the internet you call it “googling.”
In developing the business ideas as above, you might need to do a preliminary consumer research to check on your idea or just to help you develop one based on people’s wants and needs.
Another way of doing this is using the internet to see what people usually search for on the internet and then see if you can provide that same service or product.

Someone once said that you need to create your own future if you have to survive in this turbulent world. Every successful entrepreneur is forward looking, he is an innovator.
You need to look at current trends, at current products and services and project into the future and think of ideas that will revolutionise that market.
Producers of smart phones outsmarted Nokia by coming up with an idea that looked ahead of its time and ended up revolutionising the mobile phone market and taking the bigger chunk of the mobile phone market share.
Nokia is now playing catch-up but the carpet has already been pulled off its feet by agile creative thinkers like Apple and Samsung.
As an employee or person in business, you might have acquired certain skills which could be creatively applied in another field. Skills in aeronautics could be used in developing a high speed car, for instance.

So you can creatively apply skills learned elsewhere to improve a completely different field and in the process revolutionise that field. Be open minded as you are thinking of your business ideas so that you consider those skills you have that can come in handy in another field.
Inspiration usually comes like a flash and quickly disappears. So you need to record all ideas that come your way.
The best way is to have a notebook on hand to write these brilliant ideas be they small or big, write them down; you don’t know what will change your world. Think over these ideas now and again and see how you can expand or improve them.

Being creative is like brainstorming on your own. You come up with this idea which might look stupid at first, don’t discard it.
You will be surprised that these seemingly stupid ideas might turn out to be that great business idea that will change the world and catapult you to prominence so just note the idea and think over it. Don’t be too critical of your “funny” ideas.

You need to create an environment for creativity. Others would dedicate an hour or two to think and write every idea that pops up and then follow it up later.
Others resort to taking walks. Research has shown that walking helps stimulate brain activity, particularly creativity.
You can also talk to people from diverse fields and these will help you think outside the box and look at things from a different angle.
A new viewpoint from other people can give your creativity a big boost. At times you should also give yourself the well needed break and let the brain rest. This can surprise you as the brain thinks of how certain problems can be tackled.

Keep thinking and being creative and change your world. The world needs great thinkers. Unconventional thinking could change your business landscape.
Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo. You are currently only using about 10 percent or less of your thinking capacity. Imagine if you increase this to 15 percent, then we will change our world.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy (ACCA P3), advanced performance management (P5) and entrepreneurship.
He is the Managing Consultant of Shekina Consulting (Pty) Ltd and provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, corporate governance, preparation of business plans, tender documents and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.
For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com, call on +266 58881062 or WhatsApp +266 62110062 .

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