ONE: View problems as opportunities: If you’re solving a problem then chances are that you are adding real value for someone. It’s also a useful mindset to bring to any life or work scenario. Don’t be the person that’s taking more from the room than they are giving. As soon as you reframe a challenge into an opportunity it gives you a more positive and innovative mindset (and will quickly make you popular!).
- It could be a simple incremental idea to establish your brand – V2C Gin demonstrates its Dutch origins and sustainability credentials with the creation of the ‘Drowned Bottle Openers’
- Or addressing a social issue in a way that creates value beyond profit – GoodGym tackles loneliness in urban areas with a mutually beneficial solution that keeps you fit
TWO: Think outside the box: Easier said than done but the trick is to step back and get a different perspective. Try to look at the bigger picture or think about the elephant in the room when it comes to your product, service, brand, business or even category. It’s generally helpful to do this in a completely different setting. Thinking outside the box requires you to embrace 'wild ideas' – they’re the ones that make you feel a bit uncomfortable. But guess what? It’s much easier to tame a wild idea than it is to bring excitement to a flat one. Also wild ideas tend to be the ones that spark a whole new train of thought that you never considered.
- It could be about turning a category on its head by tackling the elephant in the room – Lemonade Insurance has made trust and transparency their point of difference with an app-based solution that gives back to charitable causes
- Or demonstrating the benefit of your brand or business in a creative way – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts encourages Doctors to prescribe art as a complementary therapy
THREE: Celebrate failures: Fear of failure doesn’t lead to fewer mistakes it leads to a culture of blame and shame. And guess what? This isn’t conducive to creativity, innovation or growth. Demonstrating that failure is part of life encourages people to take calculated risks in order to make things better and grow. When you see a ‘failure’ as something to learn from it also takes the sting out of the feeling of ‘getting it wrong’. Take inspiration from the world of improv – there is no such thing as a mistake just another scenario to respond to.
- How about setting up a regular space where you actively share, celebrate and learn from failures? - that’s exactly what Brighton-based social media consultancy NixonMcInnes did, gathering once a month at 'The Church of Fail'
FOUR: Share ideas freely: No matter what you think, you can’t do everything on your own and you will never be an expert at everything. When you open up and collaborate it helps you to grow and build ideas in new ways. It can take you to unexpected places that you would never have arrived at on your own. That doesn’t mean you have to share everything but consider how an exchange of information can be mutually beneficial.
- Open-source is an increasingly common way to build collaboratively but it doesn’t always have to be high-tech – seeing the high-street competition as an ally against the trend towards high-street ghost towns helped ‘Bishy Road’ to thrive
FIVE: Show passion and vulnerability: Chances are that you’ll have some tough moments as an entrepreneur. There will be sleepless nights, money concerns and time pressures. So make sure you go into it with passion because that’s what will fuel you. Don’t forget that people respond to passion – they will be more likely to support and help something if they can see how much it means to you. And vulnerability is important. It’s OK not to be OK (and show it) even when you’re trying to make a success of something. Ask for help, recognise your weaknesses and build a network of support around you.
- Passion can help you identify exactly what you stand for – for Hiut Denim co. making jeans is about more than just the product, it’s about protecting their way of life