Staying inspired is key to being a successful business owner. Without inspiration, you could find it hard to come up with new ideas and solutions – which could cause you to slowly lose the love and motivation for your business.
Every business owner goes through periods in which they may feel uninspired. Certain problems may have you stumped and you may not be able to see a clear way around them. Alternatively, you may not have any business goals and may be wondering where to take your business next.
Instead of waiting for inspiration to come to you, it could be time to start actively looking for inspiration. This could help you to take your business to the next stage and could help you to regain your motivation. Below are just a few different ways to find inspiration in business.
Learn from your idles.
First, consider the people who you look up to. This could be a fellow entrepreneur such as Elon Musk or Bill Gates. It could be an athlete like Christiano Ronaldo or Venus Williams. It could be a successful entertainer that you respect such as Beyonce or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or it could be someone closer such as a family member, friend, or mentor that has been an inspiration to you.
Think about their approach to overcoming problems and generating ideas. If it’s a famous figure you may be able to find inspiring interviews and articles. If it’s someone you know who is still alive, don’t be afraid to ask them for advice.
Consider your competitors.
Sometimes you can learn a lot from looking at what your competitors are doing. This could involve looking on their website or social media to see what they are up to, talking to their customers, paying someone to do some competitor research (such as mystery shopping) or even using their service yourself.
There could be ideas that are worth imitating yourself (obviously with your own personal twist). You may also be able to learn from your competitors’ mistakes as to what not to do, or you may be able to find ways of setting yourself apart. Competitor research is something that should be ongoing – never take your eyes off the competition.
Listen to your customers.
It’s important to take notice of your customers’ behavior. What products/services are they gravitating to? What types of questions do they commonly ask? You should also pay attention to customer feedback such as online reviews. What do your customers love about your service? And what are some of the common complaints?
By listening to your customers, you may be inspired to make changes that allow you to more easily meet their demands. This could allow you to attract more new customers as well as making existing customers happier. As with competitor research, make sure that you’re also constantly doing consumer research.
Give your employees a voice.
You can also seek inspiration from the people working for you – your employees. You may be able to do this by watching your employees, however, in many cases, you’ll get more inspiration from talking with them. This involves giving your employees the freedom to contribute ideas to your business. You could do this by hosting meetings or by asking for private feedback.
Employees may be able to suggest better ways of organizing your business from within. They may even have skills and experience that you lack (for instance, a younger employee may have better ideas as to how to market on social media than an older employee). While it is still their duty to serve you, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still look up to them in certain situations. Try to maintain continuous employee feedback.
Read books and blogs.
There are many books dedicated to business advice. Such books could be dedicated to niche subjects such as leadership or marketing, or they could provide more general business motivation. Reading these books could inspire you to take your business forward.
There are also many blogs out there dedicated to business advice (such as this one). This could similarly be general advice or more niche advice. Consider reading more blogs to stay inspired. You could even check out a few vlogs (video blogs – basically videos dedicated to advice).
When seeking inspiration from books or blogs, make sure that they are credible sources. An old book or an old blog may have outdated information that may not be useful. It could also be worth reading reviews of books or checking what people have commented on blog posts to see if the advice is respected by readers.
Attend courses and seminars.
Courses and seminars can be opportunities to learn from experts. This could be an online course or a webinar that you can attend online. Alternatively, it could be a course or event that is attended in person. Consider which you’re most likely to engage with and which is more easy to fit in with your lifestyle.
Some of the things you learn may not be very useful. However, there could be new pieces of information that truly inspire you to make changes or solve problems within your business.
As with books and blogs, make sure that you’re seeking advice from credible sources. It could be worth reading reviews of courses or looking into biographies of people leading seminars before signing up.
The most successful business owners often outsource the expert advice of consultants. This could include financial advisors, IT consultants, or marketing consultants. Such experts can take a look at your business and suggest ideas for how you may be able to improve – as well as possibly giving you some of the resources to make these changes.
When hiring consultants, always do your research to ensure that they are esteemed within their field. A trusted consultant should ideally have lots of reviews. Be wary of the fact that you’ll often pay more for the most highly respected consultants.
Get out of the office.
Sometimes a change of environment is all you need to find inspiration. Certain familiar places can make us adopt certain routines and certain mindsets that can make it hard to think out of the box.
Consider working from a coffee shop, taking a walk in a local park or hitting the gym for an hour. You could find that the new environment helps you to come up with new ideas by putting you in a different mental state. You could also invite your employees to do the same to help them find motivation.
Take a break.
This is related to the idea of getting out of the office. When your brain isn’t in ‘work mode’, you may find it easier to come up with different ideas. This is because we’re programmed to adopt certain routines and structure when doing certain tasks.
Many entrepreneurs find inspiration while on their lunch break or even on a day off. If you’re trying to come up with ideas and have a looming deadline ahead, consider whether you may actually benefit from taking a short twenty minute break – even if you’ve had lunch already. If you’re struggling to solve long-term problems, consider whether it’s time to take a vacation. Getting away from work for a few days could help you to gain more perspective and find inspiration as to what to do next with your business.