Do you possess a healthy desire to succeed? Combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, it can be tricky to balance new ideas for the future with the work that needs to be done in the here and now. Let’s get started with a definition of balance.
Creativity as your balance point
Entrepreneurs wake up thinking about new ideas, current deals that need to be closed, financing that needs to be secured and many other big ideas and details required to run a business. Balancing all of those tasks is a key to success and creative pursuits such as writing, drawing and brainstorming are great ways to find a balance point.
As way of providing a roadmap for how the creativity approach looks, let’s start with a note I jotted on my iPhone in the closing minutes of the SobCon conference earlier this year.
“Need to spend more time building and nurturing the ColorMetrix community. They can spread the word about new marketing strategy based around normalizer and an ecosystem of our products.”
Those two sentences written about two months ago have completely transformed my business and the way we present and market it to our audience. After two days of listening, thinking and engaging with the group at the conference, I turned my thoughts into an idea that became the words shared above.
Ideas are easy. Now what?
It’s not really that hard to sit in a room full of smart people for two days and come up with an idea embodied in two sentences. That idea, however, can become a distraction to your day-to-day activities if you don’t have an outlet to work it into your business (or to figure out it’s not a good idea for your business).
Visual thinking, which is sometimes called drawing or doodling, can be a good way to work through an idea. You can utilize your creativity to combine words with images and map out how the idea looks in action. I did this with the two sentences above and you can see what that looks like here.
After spending some time creatively working with the idea, you need to decide if you think it fits into your business. The amount of creative energy you feel while working the idea into a tangible business plan should help guide your gut feeling about what’s next. When I feel lots of energy for an idea and can’t seem to put my pencil down, I know I’m on to something good. When it’s hard to motivate myself to work through the idea, I begin to suspect that while it might be a great idea, it’s probably not one that will help drive our success.
Test the plan
Part of balance is not jumping in with both feet; at least not all the time with each and every “great idea.” Within a few weeks of writing the two sentences above on my iPhone, we shared a blog post on the ColorMetrix site introducing our Open Color Ecosystem initiative. That post was part of our trial balloon strategy. The other piece of that strategy was a PowerPoint presentation delivered to several trusted colleagues from our industry.
Depending upon the success you have with your test run, you may need to refine and tweak the plan. There is also the possibility that you realize the idea is not quite as amazing as you thought. If it’s not, it’s time to cut your losses and move on. In our case, we refined the message a bit and moved forward.
Put the plan into action
It’s time to let the world know what direction you are going. You can now begin to work the new idea into your day-to-day activities so it becomes part of your company’s DNA. Mention the new idea, plan or concept frequently on your website. Make the new initiative part of your prospecting and sales cycle. You achieve balance by integrating the new with the existing. Trying to treat the new and the existing as different entities will have your teeter-totter going up and down quite a bit. That’s not a very balanced mental image, right?
Success requires balance
The note on my iPhone was just an idea, a seed that when nurtured (mostly by my subconscious) grew to be a pillar of our future. It’s driven a sales and marketing cycle unlike any I have experienced in years. What you take the time to write down matters, and you need a methodology to deal with all the ideas you collect. I’ve chosen the creative outlet of drawing and sketching.
What creative outlet works for you to find balance in your new ideas that leads to successful implementation of those ideas?
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