Why creativity is essential to your survival as an entrepreneur

business creativity

Creativity and Ideas tend to get a bit of a bashing these days in the startup world. This tweet I received the other day expresses the sentiment well.

“Susan: Ideas are a dime a dozen. Finding a great co-founder and building a great team is 10x more important than the Idea.”

While I agree that a great team is important, what tends to be forgotten is that a great team are people who have expertise in particular areas as well as the creativity to apply their expertise in new and innovative ways. Great entrepreneurs are truly creative people. They are able to manipulate the elements of business to create new solutions to business problems in the same way that a composer manipulates the elements of music to write a great song.

So, over the next month, I will focus on writing about creativity here at Ready Set Startup because I believe creativity is an essential part of the entrepreneur’s toolkit.

Here’s four reasons why it’s worth valuing and working on your business creativity:

If you truly want to build a great business, you need to apply creativity to it.

Creativity is one of several factors that distinguish a small business from a startup. Take the field of graphic design for example. A graphic designer who starts advertising their services and working for clients is a small business, even if she is brilliant and even if she grows her business  to employ many other designers. Apply business creativity to the field of graphic design and you have a startup like 99designs.

As an entrepreneur, you are paid to solve problems and you need business creativity to find and develop solutions that no one else has thought of yet.

For example, you arrive in a new city and don’t know anyone. How are you going to find sympathetic souls? Or you want to start a business, learn more and meet other aspiring entrepreneurs and potential co-founders. Where do you go?

Now the solution is obvious – you go to Meetup.com. But in 2002, the solution wasn’t so obvious and it took considerable business creativity to develop it.

A little creativity will keep you sane and might just save your butt in the crazy life of a startup founder.

You need business creativity to come up with an idea in the first place, but don’t check it at the door when you start implementing. You’re going to need it!

What do you do when your product isn’t selling? Create a new marketing campaign? Pivot? Both those things require creativity.

What do you do when you are running out of cash? Coming up with a workable financial solution that allows your startup to stay alive and keep focused  requires business creativity.

How do you work out how to keep your life partner happy as well as spend time on your startup? You guessed it! Use a little creativity.

The more you can develop your creative edge, the more of a competitive advantage you give yourself.

Most entrepreneurs are creative types to some degree (whether they see themselves that way or not). However the thing that will set you apart is your ability to come up with creative & practical solutions and your ability to implement them. The more you hone both those skills, the more likely you are to, firstly, come up with a good business idea and secondly, do the hard yards needed to implement it.

So find a way to build your business creativity muscle everyday.


  1. […] compelling argument about the need to hone individual, intellectual creativity, which you can read here. Neil Perkin writes a compelling argument about the need to hone collective, cultural agility, […]

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