5 Ways to Harness Your Creativity for Solving Business Problems
Business isn’t just about numbers, metrics, and SOPs.
Don’t get me wrong, those are hugely important… but they don’t reveal the big picture.
The hardest problems you’ll face as an entrepreneur will demand something else:
Marketing, sales, offer creation, even seemingly “boring” challenges like hiring and management — they all require you to think outside the box and come up with unexpected solutions.
It’s not enough to just copy your competitors, or follow “best practices” without questioning them. You have to design each solution from the ground up, in a way that fits your business and aligns with your market.
Now, creative problem solving may sound daunting… but you know what?
You’re an entrepreneur — you were born to do this!
All you need is a little push in the right direction, to get your creative juices flowing and jolt your inspiration awake.
That’s why today I’m going to share with you 5 techniques that will help you approach any business problem creatively. Give these a try the next time you’re wrestling with a particularly tough challenge, and see what happens! *wink*
Let’s start with the easiest, simplest technique on my list…
1. Feeling stuck? Go for a walk
I mean it! There’s mounting scientific evidence that walking helps you think.
It gets the blood pumping to your brain, promotes new connections between brain cells, and increases neuron production. Plus, a walk takes you away from the usual distractions of the workplace — your teammates, your computer, etc. Even checking your phone gets harder while you’re moving around!
I’m sure you’ve heard about the growing trend of walking meetings. It’s the same principle! But maybe stick to solitary walks for now? At least until it’s safe to be around other people again (thanks, corona).
So: next time you feel stuck on a problem, take a 20-30 minute walk and see if you arrive at any new insights. You don’t even have to take notes, though you’re welcome to record yourself talking through your challenge, if you want to.
Pro tip: think about when your energy levels are highest during the day, and take your walk then! This will give you an added boost of brainpower.
2. Have a (proper) brainstorming session
A lot of the time our creativity runs into a wall for one simple reason…
Because we struggle to turn off the critical, analytical part of our brain. And it’s hard to do lateral thinking when your mind keeps shooting itself down! Your inner critic is always there going:
“No. Nope again. This is stupid. Won’t work. Are you even trying?” Ugh.
That’s when brainstorming can come in handy.
Sadly, most people do it wrong — they can’t resist self-censoring or giving feedback on ideas. True brainstorming should be free-flowing and 100% judgment-free. Here’s how you can do it for best results:
- Get 2-8 people together (on Zoom, or socially distanced outside, or masked in a well-ventilated area, you know the drill)
- Set an agenda for the session — define exactly what problem you’re trying to solve.
- Set a timer for 90 minutes. Spend the first 45 just throwing out any and all ideas you have — with zero critique or feedback. Have someone write these down as you go.
- Spend the remaining 45 minutes selecting the best ideas and fleshing them out.
3. Get new ideas from other industries
As we’ve already established, emulating your competitors is not a good idea when you’re trying to innovate in your business.
But looking at companies in other industries — completely unrelated to yours — and using them for inspiration? Totally fair game!
Make a list of 5-10 industries that are as far removed from your own as possible. Then, take a look at how those companies approach different challenges. Ask yourself: can you learn anything useful from them? Can you take any concepts, tactics, or strategies from these businesses — and apply them to your situation?
Recognizing effective strategies from unfamiliar industries, and adapting them to your business, is a massive creative challenge. But it can produce extraordinary results.
Why? Because practices that are considered standard in one field… can seem absolutely groundbreaking and revolutionary in another. Being open to outside ideas and using them in service of your business goals can help your brand stand out — and give you a huge competitive advantage.
4. Challenge and test your assumptions
When you’re trying to solve a difficult problem, unchecked assumptions can easily lead you down the wrong path…
…and make you waste time, money, and energy on a solution that won’t even work!
For example, let’s say that your website traffic isn’t converting. Your first instinct might be to blame the landing page. Maybe it needs a redesign, or a copy update — some kind of optimization to make it more effective.
But what if…
- You’re driving the wrong kind of traffic? Maybe none of these visitors are your ideal customers, and they won’t convert no matter what.
- Your offer isn’t aligned with what customers want? You can’t optimize your way out of that — you need to rethink your entire funnel!
- Your page isn’t loading properly / isn’t mobile-friendly / has a broken opt-in form etc.? If you focus on the wrong assumption, you can miss even something as obvious as this.
Before you make any decisions about how to address an issue in your business, make sure that your assumptions are correct. Look at the problem from multiple angles, and try to eliminate as many possibilities as you can. Then you can move on to potential solutions.
5. Get the “ground floor” view of the problem
As entrepreneurs, we’re used to looking at the big picture in our businesses. 30,000-foot view and all that. But if you’re having trouble understanding the problem from this vantage point… maybe it’s time to zoom in.
What does “zooming in” look like? Great question — let me elaborate.
The basic idea is: when you’re having an issue somewhere in your business, you want to try and get a first-hand experience with it. Or as close to a first-hand experience as you can.
- Customers aren’t buying? Do a usability test and see exactly how each failed conversion plays out. A handful of these will tell you more than all the analytics in the world!
- Open positions go unfilled for months? Test your hiring process from the inside and see where the candidates are slipping through the cracks.
- Too many refunds? Survey those unhappy customers, or even get on the phone with one of them. You can even purchase your product or service yourself and see if there’s anything you don’t like.
See? It’s great to see the big picture… but sometimes, you notice more from the ground floor.
(bonus) 6. Get a qualified outside perspective
Finally, one thing that can help your creative problem solving is… a fresh set of eyes.
Adding an outside perspective to your problem-solving process can help you notice things you’ve overlooked before, get exposed to new ideas, and uncover new lines of thinking to explore.
So if you can, turn to a qualified source who can give you feedback and help you troubleshoot. There’s a world of whip-smart consultants, coaches, and agencies out there who do this all day, every day — including us here at The Draw Shop!
If you’re curious, there is one specific challenge we can help you solve…
Connecting with new prospects as quickly and as powerfully as possible.
As in, in 30 seconds or less.
We can help you develop a clear and simple message that captures everything awesome about your brand… and communicates it to your ideal customers.
A message that compels them to respond right away with the 3 all-important words:
“Tell me more!”
It’s called the Elevator Pitch, and it’s the single fastest way to grow your business in 2020 and beyond. And we would love to create one for you!
All you need is to hop on a 30-minute consultation with one of our expert copywriters here at The Draw Shop. They will help you define the problem you solve, how you solve it, and the life-changing results your customers will see from working with you.
Then we’ll transform your input into a unique Elevator Pitch for your brand — a powerful 30-second statement scientifically designed to stand out, delight, persuade… and convert.
And we’ll top it off with a one-page, one-of-a-king infographic that makes your pitch into an engaging visual story! That’s going to be a valuable marketing asset in its own right — you can use it to:
- Share it with your team
- Feature it on your website
- Use it in your email signature
- Put it on the back of your business card
- Spread it on social media