Why is creativity important for entrepreneurs?

By Samantha Garner | April 21, 2018

entrepreneurship creativity

When many of us hear the word “creativity,” we think of artistic pursuits. However, creativity is more than that – and it’s important for entrepreneurs to cultivate.

Creativity is the ability to view the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things and to find solutions. It’s often associated with pairing and combining ideas or concepts to discover unique or new associations or connections. Creativity means merging previously separate ideas, concepts or forms of thought to create something new.

Why is creativity important for entrepreneurs?

Still not convinced creativity has a place in business? Check out these examples.

In 1941 George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer returned from a hunting trip with his dog in the Alps. He noticed the burrs that kept sticking to his clothes and his dog’s fur. Like a good engineer, he examined the burrs under a microscope. There, he noted the hundreds of “hooks” that caught on anything with a loop, such as animal fur. He saw the possibility of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion and invented one of the world’s most popular products – Velcro.

In 1974, Art Fry was in church when he came up with the perfect application for his friend Spencer Silver’s new adhesive. As the legend goes, Fry sang in his church choir on weekends and he used slips of paper to mark the pages of his hymnal. When the book was opened, however, the makeshift bookmarks often moved around or fell out altogether. On that day in church, it occurred to him that the adhesive could be a great bookmark. If it could be coated on paper, Silver’s adhesive would hold a bookmark in place without damaging the page. And Post-It Notes were born.

Both inventors in these examples merged previously distinct forms to create a new combination which had tremendous commercial application — they used their creativity to see everyday things in new and useful ways. 

Want to learn how to be more creative? Check out our blog post with ways to kick-start creativity.

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How to kick-start your business creativity

By Samantha Garner | April 14, 2018

home-based-small-businessDo you think you’re creative? No matter what you think, the answer is probably “yes!” We are all creative in our own ways, whether it’s viewing the world in new ways, finding hidden patterns, or making connections between seemingly unrelated things and finding solutions.

Creativity is the basis of innovation, and also the source of new products and services, new industries, new ways of doing business, new business opportunities and ultimately wealth creation. So, you can see why creativity is important for entrepreneurs.

Here are five ways you can fire up your own creativity and inspire great things for your small business.

Think in opposites
Sometimes, thinking about opposites can help you come up with a great business idea. When you’re able to hold two conflicting thoughts or outcomes in your head at once, you can often come up with creative ways to bridge the gap between the two – even if there doesn’t seem to be a connection. For example, clothing company Everlane could be said to think in opposites: What if clothing could be both ethically-made and affordable? To connect the two opposites, they adopted a strict e-commerce business model, reducing retail markups and cutting out the overhead necessary to run a brick-and-mortar store.

Have “think time” every day
For at least a few minute per day, unplug. Put your phone in the other room. Read, garden, go for a walk, go for a run, or sit and let your mind wander. Get into a routine of letting your brain loose every day — just not while you’re driving, please!

Be a kid again
When was the last time you played with Lego? Did a jigsaw puzzle? Looked for shapes in clouds? Built a sandcastle? Kids are masters at creativity because of how they play, losing themselves in imagination and coming up with amazing stories and ideas. They also can’t be dissuaded by “That’s not how it’s done” or “That won’t work” – they try anyway.

Write down all your business-related ideas
Don’t worry about how good, bad or strange your ideas might be. The key here is to set your mind free to develop a stockpile of ideas that might one day develop into something new or useful. Perfectionists, practice makes perfect here!

Spending time each day in quiet contemplation may seem challenging or even counterproductive at first, but the more you practice, the easier it’ll be to draw upon your creativity when you need it. Try to “free associate” as much as possible.

See? Creativity isn’t always about being artistic. If you can only draw a stick figure, you’re still creative! Your small business will thank you.

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Small business legal issues: Tips from entrepreneurs

By Samantha Garner | April 7, 2018

entrepreneur phone call

When we spoke with Canadian entrepreneurs, the topic of legalities, applications, documents and filing were a major area of concern. Small business owners told us stories of getting hit with fines and lump sums of taxes due that they didn’t see coming. Whether you’re unaware or forgetful of legal issues, you won’t get away with it for long. Here is some advice from other entrepreneurs about staying on top of all legalities.

  • Don’t forget to check your renewal dates, and mark them in your calendar so you don’t forget. Don’t get hit with late fees and fines.
  • Don’t think that getting a business number is enough. Almost all businesses require some form of license or permit. Check out which ones you need, and then double- and triple-check.
  • Don’t assume you’re covered. You may want to set aside some money in case there’s something you missed. These large lump sums that come out of nowhere can really dent your company’s cash flow.
  • Don’t think that you can navigate legalities alone. It never hurts to have an experienced professional take a look over which licenses, permits, contracts and policies you have in place in order to make sure that you’re covered.
  • Don’t think that the rules don’t apply to you or your business. You can’t hide – they will find you. Remaining compliant will remove stress and help your business run smoother.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute. The application and assessment processes can sometimes take a long time, and how annoying would it be to postpone opening day over a pending license or permit?
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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | March 30, 2018

small-business-planningIf you’re enjoying a long weekend this weekend, we hope it’s a relaxing one. In any case, why not take a break to enjoy some of these small business articles we enjoyed this week?

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2018 tax tips for Canadian entrepreneurs

By Samantha Garner | March 24, 2018

small business owner

It’s tax time yet again. Are you prepared? Here are some tax-related blog posts that will hopefully help you get through tax season organized and feeling prepared.

And check out BDO Canada’s list of Important Tax Dates and Deadlines for 2018.

Happy filing!

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