Thinking Outside The Box

If you are anything like me, when you first started your business you no doubt had a million amazing ways for how you were going to run it, market & advertise it and lots of crazy ideas to grow your new business. But, like most of us, the general day-to-day of running a business can often distract us from the bigger picture – those ideas are forgotten and maybe you’re left wondering why you thought it was a good idea to go into business in the first place?! Hey, don’t worry we’ve all been there! It’s a rollercoaster this whole small business owner thang and 2020 has really shown us a whole new level of ROLLERCOASTER! Am I right?!

Okay, you’re probably thinking ‘well, this is a super depressing read’… but we had to set the scene before we really started to get into the juicy stuff! Although 2020 has really taken us on a crazy ride, from speaking to a lot of clients and small business owners I feel like it has opened our eyes to see business from another angle – realise just how fragile our business model may be, understand the importance of a backup plan and most importantly, we now KNOW that every business needs to be online, in some shape or form! I kid you not, we have been inundated with businesses needing our help to get online, update their website, or completely rehash the business model to adapt to a new online world.
This all got me thinking, once we actually start our business, we slowly forget to think outside the box or try doing things differently and it wasn’t until a lot of us were forced (thanks Rona…) to do things differently that we realised there are maybe better ways to run our business or diversify the way we deliver our products/services. So, how can we tap back into that creative mind and unlimited thinking we had before business got in the way?

Read Books

Sometimes we need other people to help us get those creative juices flowing again! In this day and age, there is an unlimited source of personal development, business growth and marketing books that you could start reading now and never read them all! Reach out to other small business owners and ask for their suggestions on their favourite books. Do some research on the areas of business you want to grow in then find what books fit that category! TIP: Have a pen and paper handy whenever you’re reading to write down ideas and sticky notes to tag pages to go back to!

Listen To Podcasts

Much like books, there is a plethora of content now available in the podcast world related to business owners and people wanting to grow! Just search a category you’re interested in and find a podcast that resonates with you.
Not sure where to get started? It can take a bit of trial and error to find the right podcast for you, so try different podcasts until you find one you love to listen to. Reach out to people you know or ask online if anyone has any particular business podcasts they would recommend. You’ll be surprised as you start listening to something that resonates with you, how many ideas start popping into your head! TIP: Remember to write notes as you think of ideas (on a notepad or in your phone), you think you’ll remember your ideas, but by the end of the podcast you won’t!

Ask Yourself Questions

Never before have we had to consider the thought of ‘what would happen if there was a world pandemic and I had to close the doors of my business?’. Imagine asking yourself that in 2019, you would have thought you had officially lost your mind! Now, no thought or consideration seems silly. Although the possibility of some things happening may be 1 in a million, just thinking about it will often spark ideas and get you on a roll. Ask yourself some of the questions below AND write down your answers:

  • What would happen to my business if I was critically ill for 3 months?
  • Is it possible to sell my products/services 100% online?
  • If customers couldn’t visit me physically, would my business survive?
  • What parts of my business are not profitable?
  • What parts of my business should I capitalise on?
  • Who are my most valuable customers?
  • Why do people pay for my products/services?
  • What problem does my product/service solve for my customers?

Some of these questions will help you find opportunities within your current business or discover possible threats and others will help you when it comes to marketing and delivering your product/service.

Take A Step Back

How often do you look at another business and think ‘they should do that differently’ or ‘I’ve got the perfect way for them to improve their business!’? It’s easy to look at someone else’s business and find ways to improve it or grow it because you’re looking from the outside! When we’re in our own business we are often too busy to look at our business with ‘outside eyes’, or we come up with excuses for why those ideas wouldn’t work.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do as a business owner is step back and take a look at our business with fresh eyes – think of it like you’re looking at someone else’s business and forget you’re the business owner for a second. What changes do you suggest to the business owner? What would you do differently? How could the business do what they do better? It can be a really positive and eye-opening exercise to look at your business as if it’s not your own!

Subscribe to Newsletters & Emails

Just like books and podcasts, there is a whole online world of blogs, e-newsletters, video blogs and email subscriptions and just about all of these are free resources for you to use! So why aren’t people using them more? They’re not making it a priority.
Do some research and look into areas of your business you want to grow, then find some experts who have online blogs that you enjoy reading and subscribe to their regular emails! You will simply get a regular email in your inbox with information, tips, ideas and support to improve and grow your business (just like this blog you’re reading right now!). Don’t go overboard and subscribe to too many – you will get overwhelmed and never read any of them, so just choose 2-3 at first and really make a conscious effort to read every one of their emails and blogs. P.S. Subscribe to our email list if you want to learn more about marketing and branding your business online!

Commit To Learning & Growing

Continuing on from the above, as business owners, if we want to grow, we must make a lifetime commitment to learn and grow. We can’t just open our business and expect to be the experts because we probably never will be! Learn from other successful business people and the mistakes they have made.
Make a commitment to read or listen to X amount of content per week, or to attend a certain number of seminars or workshops every year. If we continue to learn and grow, so will our business! Plus… anything we pay for can be a tax write off! Did someone say “weekend business conference in Melbourne”??… Ah, yes!

Keep Your Eyes & Ears Open

If you see another business doing something that you think is a clever idea, think ‘how could I adapt that to my business model?’. It may be a really big brand like Nike or Apple and you might not do exactly what they have done (let’s be honest their advertising budget is probably our annual turnover), but you could adapt the idea to do it for your business on a smaller scale. Take other ideas and use them! Be aware of what’s going on around you and how successful businesses are successful because it doesn’t just happen, they make it happen, and so can you!

Invest In Outside Support

We can’t always expect ourselves to be continually thinking outside the box and making a conscious effort to do all the things I mentioned above. Hell, running a business is enough, let alone trying to do all of the above too! That’s why we are often best to leave some things to the experts. After all, we don’t bother doing our own tax returns because it’s quicker and easier to have our accountants do it, because they are the experts!
Investing in creative minds like marketing experts will allow you to work with someone who can see your business with fresh eyes, see it from a customer’s point of view, find opportunities to grow, come up with exciting new ideas and do the work to help you implement it all. The reason so many of our clients love working with us is that we have the ability to find opportunities within their current business and use it to help grow their business in the direction they are wanting to go.
On the other hand, investing in a business coach, someone who can ask you the right questions and hold you accountable for the things you want to do in your business is another great way to grow your business. Just having a chat with someone who has the ability to ask the right questions will often help you find the right answer or idea yourself. When you have someone who knows your business goals & the ideas you want to implement, they can work with you to make sure your goals and ideas are not forgotten about or pushed aside. Personally, I have a business coach and it works so well for me to have a clear picture of where my business is going and knowing I have someone on my side who is going to support me to get there.
Being a business owner is a fascinating experience, especially in 2020! If you’ve had the opportunity to do business differently or see a way to make your business better over the last few months, don’t let it slip by and be forgotten about. Now is the time for your business to rise and shine! Capitalise on those ideas! If you would like help with getting the ball rolling, having some outside eyes take a look at how things are done from an online marketing & branding point of view, or you just simply want to hand the reins over and let us take the lead, get in touch with us today to find out how we can support your business growth from now until the end of the year.
We understand a lot of business owners aren’t currently in a position to invest in any extra support. If that’s you but you still want to grow your business this year, subscribe to our newsletter and like us on Facebook so you can get regular updates on when we release our latest blog, plus weekly tips and support on social media for all things small business marketing! Also, remember that our job as marketing experts is to help your business grow and drive more sales, which would hopefully mean you could afford to invest in our support anyway!
Thanks for hanging in right to the end! If you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share it on social media or send it through to your small business friends who may benefit from reading it also.
See you online soon!