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Running your own business is a challenge that not many people are prepared to undertake today. This is primarily because you must be both creative and innovative at the same time. These are the two keys to growing your business, but they do take both time and effort. Fortunately, there are some tips that will help make these things much more achievable for you.

Defining the Creative Environment

Creativity is a mental and social process that’s “used to generate ideas, concepts, and associations” so you can come up with new ideas. As such, another word for creativity is innovation.

Regardless of what you call this process, it’s throughout this time that your employees should be exploring profitable outcomes of their endeavours. Typically, this involves finding new, alternative ways to upgrade or improve your products, services, and procedures. Sometimes, this requires conscious insight, but at other times it can be done unconsciously. One thing that continually remains true, though, is that your team’s diverse attributes and perspectives will all work together here.

Unfortunately, innovation isn’t something that occurs naturally. It will require effective strategies and the right framework in which to be successful. However, when your organization’s employees feel comfortable enough to freely exchange ideas with one another, they’ll feel inspired – the first step towards creating an innovative workplace.

As a supervisor, it’s your responsibility to manage this process without managing the creativity itself. This creativity is usually the result of interactions that occur in a codified context where information can be interpreted and assimilated into something new. Incentives (e.g. tangible, monetary rewards; intangible, personal satisfaction) play an important role here.

Think From a New Viewpoint

In order to be a creative person, you must be able to see things from different perspectives. Sometimes, for this to happen, your team will need to engage in some role-playing. In doing so, they’ll be able to answer questions like:

  • Why does someone want the product or service you’re selling?
  • What is it that your customer is looking for?

Answering these questions comes easily when you step into your customers’ shoes. Once you’re creative in this way, you’ll also get more out of each team member while fostering a better work environment for everyone who’s involved.

Structure Your Brainstorming

When most people engage in any type of traditional brainstorming, not every idea receives the same amount of opportunity. For instance, any idea that’s mentioned at the beginning of a meeting will receive more attention than one that’s mentioned later on, regardless of whether or not it deserves such attention. The only way to stop this from happening is to let your team have some personal time to brainstorm and write about ideas on their own. Only after this happens should you attempt to combine them and come up with something that your entire team can agree on. Working through things in this way is great, though, since it lets you see patterns and make connections.

Allow Flexible Work Schedules

Today, it’s growing increasingly more important for businesses to no longer mandate the typical 9 – 5 workday. Instead, flexibility (including work from home options and unlimited vacations) are important ways to accommodate employees. Studies demonstrate that these schedules help increase employee productivity and overall job satisfaction. These schedules also lead employees to be much more creative because they’re not fixated on precise punctuality, focused on a clock, or rushing around from place to place. They can decompress better and, in turn, they’re also able to “think outside of the box.”

Encourage Breaks

It’s important to build breaks into your workday so that you can be more productive while also enjoying your job more. This is also another great way to improve your creative thinking because you’ll no longer feel as though you have your nose to the grindstone. Instead, you’ll feel like you have more of an active choice in the work that you do because you’re no longer under pressure to complete a job. When this happens, you can feel more relaxed and give things more thought – even if you need to walk away for a while so you can come up with a solution you deem appropriate.

Provide Training and Learning Opportunities

Another great way to encourage your employees to be creative is to offer them opportunities whereby they’re able to learn how to do so. Some ways of doing this include training seminars, lectures, and hands-on lessons. You may surprise yourself by seeing how these things will help each employee be innovative in their own work, too.

Guest speakers are also very helpful. Expert conference speakers will offer various creative approaches and methods to your employees that they can then choose to use. This is because these people are highly skilled in showcasing these methods in a way that allows your employee to then turn around and use them to be both innovative and creative in their daily tasks.

Listen to New Ideas

There are some businesses who lack creativity altogether. Even that which is already there isn’t listened to because people don’t feel comfortable sharing their ideas with their co-workers. The best way to resolve this discrepancy is to institute a policy in which every idea is heard, no matter how good or bad you may think it is. While you don’t have to act on them, they do need to be listened to.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you feel better equipped to run your own business now. While you can clearly understand the importance of being both creative and innovative so you can grow your business, you must also be prepared to put in both the time and the effort they require. There are so many things you’ll both want and need to do on a daily basis. Although nobody said that being an entrepreneur was going to be easy, now that you have these tips available, they should help make these things much more achievable for you.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.

John Reiley is an NYC-based senior business analyst. He has been helping small business owners plan their strategies for success since 2005. He is a big gadget freak who loves to share his views on latest technologies and applications.