Creativity is critical to entrepreneurship—yet it is very easy for business leaders to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of running their business. While the day-to-day important, we must not forget about why we started our businesses and what inspires us to do what we do every day. As we know, however, waiting for inspiration to strike can be an up-hill battle. At those moments when your mind is drawing a blank, it is time to be proactive and take things into your own hands! Inspiration waits for nobody, so get a head start by trying out these tried and true strategies for getting those creative juices flowing!

brain gearsGo with what you know—Sometimes it is best to defer to the classics—those tasks or strategies you know are time-tested and proven to work. Instead of just re-hashing those tactics again, use them as a jumping off point. Have your tried and true methods be the foundation and use them in new and interesting ways. If you do this, you’ll find that creating something new and different wasn’t actually that difficult after all.

Look to other thought leaders—Customers may love all your products and services, but they also love other people and organizations similar to your business. Turn to professional networks and like-minded businesses (also known as ‘the competition’) to see what unique offerings they are providing customers. You’ll be intrigued and inspired upon seeing their approach to the same problems your business tackles, and it will give you the inspiration you need to take your client projects to the next level. Likewise, look outside your industry as well. Taking projects and services out of context and seeing how they work across other industries might reveal new perspectives and approaches not thought of before.innovation-300x300

Get uncomfortable—While “winning” is great, it isn’t always the best catalyst for creativity and inspiration. If you are stuck on a project, for example, force yourself to be uncomfortable. Play devil’s advocate with yourself and your team to push yourself outside your comfort zone. For example, pretend you don’t have access to a critical component of a project or service. What do you do? How will you respond? Thinking of scenarios out of context is one proven strategy to get those creative juices flowing. When you’re in an uncomfortable situation that is the time when you are forced to do something new.

We know that inspiration can be hard to find but with the right “can-do” attitude, willingness to push yourself, looking beyond what’s right in front of you, and utilizing to the right resources, inspiration reveals its beautiful self. In a lot of ways, finding inspiration is about getting out of your own way and honoring the environment, people, and ideas around you. It may be difficult to employ these strategies in the beginning but without a little challenge, there is no progress.