5 Ways to Stay on the Creative Edge in Business
By Gary Douglas, Founder, Access Consciousness®
The creative edge is where you have a constant state of innovation and greater possibility every moment of every day in everything you do.
Over the past twenty-five years, I have used these four elements every day to stay on the creative edge and keep my business growing to what it is today – now a global company in over 173 countries.
- Create Your Business Every Day
Are you creating or recreating your business? To stay on the creative edge, you need to stay in create mode all the time. Your business is in trouble the moment you go ‘what did we do best last year?’ That’s an imminent sign of stress in the future, because you are looking for the most successful thing in the past. What you really want to do is ask, ‘what else can be done, what could be changed, and what would create something greater?’ You have to keep looking at what you haven’t yet chosen, that is actually possible.
If you look to the past reference of how you performed before, nothing in the future can match up or go beyond. When you decide you did your best or are the best, you are not looking for better; you are only looking to re-create what you had in the past. Is the world the same world as it was when you had that success? No. So it’s impossible to re-create it anyway.
Why would you try to re-create something rather than go beyond it? What if you could out-create every success your business has ever had? What would be possible then? When you are always looking at what you can create or out create, you’ll start being on the creative edge instead of looking for what problems you can solve.
- Know Exactly What It Costs to Run Your Business
If you don’t already know, figure out exactly what it costs to run your business – for rent, utilities, salaries, everything. Be brutally honest.
Generally speaking, in retail sales there’s about an 80% cost. For example, if you sell something for $40 then 80% of that money is gone before you get the profit. Having enough money to pay the bills is not the same as making a profit. Profit is income, minus what it costs you to live, and minus the costs of the business. Don’t discount the time you spend on your business, for example, making phone calls or doing the bookkeeping. Your time has to be worth something or you’re not seeing the real cost.
This exercise will bring you down from the fantasyland of business. Many people avoid doing this, and so they avoid the awareness of where they are failing and succeeding. That’s a mistake. If you knew where you were succeeding would you do more of it? If you knew where you were failing would you do less of it? Knowing exactly what it costs to run your business give you the foundation from which you can create something greater in the future.
If you’re not making all the money you desire, then it’s time to ask some questions. Start with, “What can you be or do different today to make money with my business right away?” that question that is designed to take you out of survival mode. Then you can start asking bigger questions like “what would it be like if I doubled my business for the next 6 months?” And see what you become aware of.
Business is not just about creating money today, it’s also creating the money you will need next week, next year, five years from now. So you’ve got to be prepared. Otherwise, when you get to the future you’ll have nothing. To stay on the creative edge you need to constantly be asking questions and looking at the future. I always ask people, what’s the future you’re not preparing for? What’s the future you need to prepare for? What’s the future you could deliver if you would deliver it different to today?
- Be Willing to Change Anything!
How many sacred cows is your business feeding? If you stopped feeding them and started asking questions about what else is possible, would you create a greater future? Unquestioned rules are the foundation of atrophy. Does your company culture lean toward continual change or is it moving slowly toward a dead end created by a love of comfort and unwillingness to change? What if nothing was set in stone… what could you create that you have never created before?
Look at every choice you make with your business and ask, “If I choose this, what will this create? In 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years? In 100 years?” When you recognize that your choices create, you may begin to choose from a different place in every situation. What if everything could be up for change? Would that expand your business?
- Never Give Up, Never Give In, Never Quit
What if you created possibilities with your business? The truth is that there are only possibilities available if we are willing to create something greater. Never give up. Never give in. Never quit. If you get stopped in one direction, don’t quit. Ask another question and find out what else you might be able to do that you haven’t considered. Keep asking questions. Keep looking for other possibilities. When you get that as a way of being and creating with your business, you will never see that something can stop you. The only thing that can stop you is you and your point of view.
- Don’t Fix It, Do What Works!
I see a lot of companies decide they have invested so much in old systems that they must keep trying to fix them, instead of changing and doing something new. At one point with Access Consciousness, we realized we did not have the online systems to cope with our global growth. We kept trying to fix what we had thinking we could manage. We spent $250,000 before we realized upgrading that system wasn’t going to work. We had to start again and take an entirely new approach. We now have a new system that works far greater and will be make it easier for us to keep expanding.
You have choice. You can waste energy and time trying to fix something that doesn’t work. But if you desire to create a future that is sustainable, that will grow; you have to do something different. From my point of view, if something isn’t working, destroy it utterly, move on and go find something that does.