I am sure each of you has had at least one conversation about what led to a successful business … or why a particular business failed. What makes some startups work and others fail? Obviously, the answer is multi-faceted, with no single reason. I would propose that of all the contributing factors as to why a business survives, there is no more important skill that the management team’s creativity in defining and modifying their business plan, and how they use creativity to execute upon it.
A sound business plan strategy is to choose to excel at either being the low cost, high service or best product provider. But, once a direction has been chosen, it all then depends upon execution of the plan. And, as we all know, unexpected surprises will occur, sometimes even requiring a new strategic direction, product or market. It is the creativity on how these decisions are evaluated and pursued that separates those companies that survive and thrive versus those that don’t.
Creativity is a difficult characteristic to measure or evaluate. The question of whether or not one is creative is often known but seldom fully understood. Willingness to think “outside of the box” is a reasonable description, pointing to an ability to consider new paths previously not considered.
Creativity actually takes a far larger role in our life’s direction, often without our even really realizing it. For example, two identical individuals may both face the same challenge. The creative person may see a different solution that in actuality leads to a positive outcome. The other person may simply not have the vision to see the better solution, so instead takes a different path that is harmful to their personal or family’s future. The irony is that the person in the latter scenario may never learn of the missed opportunity.
How do you rank in creativity? How do you know what you might not know? Perhaps you should try to test your creativity, to see which person you are most like … the one that say the opportunity, or the one that missed it. Next time you are faced with a challenge or “life decision” that doesn’t seem to be all that great, take a perspective that there is a positive outcome – you may simply not see it yet … keep looking to challenge your creativity to see a new perspective that could actually lead to greater success.
Creativity will help you articulate a business plan better, to then have greater success in getting your plan funded. Those with greater creativity will have better success running their business or pursuing their careers. Without creativity, even the best product, service or pricing can only take you so far.
The good news is that, with practice, creativity is a skill that can be expanded upon. But, it takes effort, it may be uncomfortable, and it may take a little more time. But, the sweet taste of success will make it all worthwhile.
Gordon Benzie is a marketing adviser and business plan writer that specializes in preparing and executing upon business plans and marketing strategies. Gordon can be found on Google+.