The brain is like a muscle, if you don’t exercise it regularly to get it in shape. You can’t prepare for a marathon by sitting on the couch all day. Common barriers to creative thinking are habits, attitudes, daily routines, lack of confidence or the constant need for guidance from others. A good way to break or overcome those barriers is to be open minded, be receptive to new things, take new challenges, or by simply giving your brain the green light to think creatively. So take the time to think and get your brain stimulated. Change is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain and discover new ideas. A change of scenery can help you clear your mind off your daily issues and give you some clarity to start thinking creatively, you can go to a garden, beach or anywhere you like and take the time to exercise your brain. A change of people will also help you, by meeting new people and listening to them talking about their issues or frustrations, you can gain a better insight into their needs and aspirations, which is the basis of any successful business. A change of place will also definitely help you discover new ideas you have not seen or heard of before, you might see a new type of store in your trip to Tokyo that you think will work well in your city.
You don’t have to be a genius to come up with a business idea. It’s the exact opposite! It’s really simple to come up with business ideas all the time, however, the challenge lies in coming up with a business idea that works for you and suits your personality and needs. This is where most people get stuck, many people want to start their own and think about it all the time, the big question is, what business should I start? And it is not a small question, often, the kind of business you are in will dictate whether you will be successful or not. So, if you have some sort of framework or directions to get your mind focused on business ideas that will suit you and work with your own situation, then you’ve taken a big step toward becoming successful in business.
Whether you’re too busy with your daily routines to take the time to think and reflect on what you want, or feel that your brain is too pressured and lacking the ability to run wild with your imagination, worry not. This article has tips and advice that will help you get started with the creative process. The first step towards creative thinking is understating how the mind works and how to stimulate your brain. I will dig deep into this topic, because we might need several book to cover it, but I will briefly mention the key elements.
The brain has two main parts; the right and the left hemispheres, each of these have different functions and work differently. The right hemisphere is creative and artistic part, it’s the part that appreciates art, it uses shapes, colors and images to analyze and process information, and it’s also the part that controls creativity and the imagination. The left part is the logical part, it’s the part that performs mathematical calculations, looks for causes and effects, uses words to describe and define, and it’s also the part that controls speech, grammar and word order. For you to be successful in business, you have to have a balance on both sides. You have to be imaginative and creative to come up with business ideas and to come up with creative solutions for business problems. You also have to be logical to analyze and define business opportunities, calculate business risks and weigh your options to deal with the daily business issues.
There are essentially three levels to a business succession plan. The first level of a business succession plan is management. It is The third level of a business succession plan is transfer taxes. Estate taxes alone can claim up to 45% of the value of the business, frequently resulting in a business having to liquidate or take on debt to keep the business afloat. To avoid a forced liquidation or the need to incur debt to pay estate taxes, there are a number of lifetime gifting strategies that can be implemented by the business owner to minimize (or possibly eliminate) estate taxes. important to recognize that management and ownership are not the same. The day-to-day management of the business may be left to one child, while ownership of the business is left to all of the children (whether or not they are active in the business). It is also possible that management may be left in the hands of key employees rather than family members.
The second level of a business succession plan is ownership. Most business owners would prefer to leave their businesses to those children that are active in the business, but would still like to treat all of their children fairly (if not equally). Yet, many business owners lack sufficient non-business assets to allow them to leave their inactive children an equal share of their estate. Thus, a business succession plan must provide a means of transferring wealth to the children who are not interested in, or not qualified for, continuing the business. Business owners must also assess the most effective means of transferring ownership and the most appropriate time for the transfer to occur. One of the chief concerns facing family business owners is how to effect an orderly and affordable transfer of the business to the next generation and/or key employees. Failure to properly plan for a smooth transition can result in monetary losses and even loss of the business itself. This article will explain how to keep the family business in the family.
Whether management of the business will rest in the hands of the next generation, in the hands of key employees, or a combination of both, the business owner must learn to delegate and work on the business. It can take many years to train the successor management team so that the business owner can walk away from day-to-day operations. For many business owners, giving up such control can be difficult. All too often, business owners focus more on the ownership and transfer tax issues involved in a business succession plan and ignore the people issues. In the typical family business, the future leader is likely to be one of the business owner’s children. If so, steps must be taken to assure that the future leader has the support of the key employees and other family member owners. Generally, a gradual transfer of roles and responsibilities gives the successor time to grow into his/her new position and allows the business owner some time to get use to his/her diminishing role. Thus, lead-time is important for a smooth transition.
Many family businesses are dependent on one or two key employees who are critical to the success of the business. These key employees are often needed to manage the business (or assist in the management of the business) during the transition period. Therefore, the succession plan must address methods to guarantee that key employees remain with the business upon the death, disability or retirement of the business owner. Among the commonly used techniques used to assure that key employees remain with the business during the transition period are employment agreements, nonqualified deferred compensation agreements, stock option plans and change of control agreements
Small Business lending at a standstill, this recession doesn’t seem likely to end soon. The recovery will be slow and Americans will certainly not enjoy the prosperity of a few years ago for a long time to come. It’s not just economists who think this way. “Half the population in [a] new ABC News poll thinks both job security and retirement prospects in the years ahead will remain worse than their pre-recession levels.” (“Poll: Less Job Security is the ‘New Normal,’” ABC News The Polling Unit, June 15, 2009, analysis by Gary Langer) This confidence, or lack thereof, is an integral part of an economic cycle. The analysis goes on to say, “Those diminished expectations – plus the pain of the current downturn – are fueling retrenchments in consumer behavior that could fundamentally reshape the economy.”
Basically, consumers are hunkering down to limit spending, save money, conserve resources, and change the way they’ve been living. The major influence on the health of an economy is the psychological state of its consumers. When there exists a broad belief that spending beyond necessity is unwise, people will change their habits and as a result, some businesses will have to close their doors. The economy is molting into a new, leaner animal. Rather than react in desperation to avoid doom, firms should interact with the current situation with innovative and forward thinking actions.
No matter the economic slump, increasing profits is typically the number one goal of any business. To ensure profitability, a company must demonstrate a competitive advantage over others in its industry, either by cost leadership (same product as competitors, lower price), differentiation (same price, better services), or focusing on an exclusive segment of the market (niche). For long term maintenance of competitive advantage, a firm must ensure that its methods cannot be duplicated or imitated. This requires constant analysis and regular reinvention of competitive strategies.
A recession is the optimal time to reinvent competitive advantage because the pressure of a feeble economy will separate the strong businesses from the weak ones, with the weak falling out of the game entirely. Your business will be strong if you have a plan of action based upon a little industry research, an analysis of what you have and what you want, and continuous monitoring of the results of your plan. This kind of innovation is not only a necessity right now, but it is an opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency in the way you do business.
The three basic actions for growing a business in any economic climate are: improve efficiency (maintain output while reducing inputs, such as time and money); increase volume (produce more in order to spread fixed costs); reorganize the business (change goals, methods and/or philosophy). If you plan to implement one of these, you may as well plan to implement them all. By focusing on one of the above strategies, you will find a ripple effect that causes a need to address the others. This is a good thing.
Right now, growth may sound like an unattainable goal as businesses are grappling just to survive, but hey, “flat is the new up.” If a business can keep its doors open and lights on, then it’s doing better than many others. But lights and open doors don’t make sales, so making changes that attract business is in a sense, striving for growth. It won’t be this tough forever, but for now, putting some growth strategies into action may be what keeps your business alive, if not thriving.
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