Do Small Business Owners Have To Do It All?
I’ve started reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. To be fair, I am not that far in so it may well be I will be ‘schooled ‘ in the next chapter. Ms Gilbert describes ‘ideas’ as though they float around looking for a person who might be just that bit open to receiving them. Ideas have a ‘you are mine, and I am yours’ expiry date and if under appreciated will simply move on. I found this concept quite compelling, whimsical and evocative and wondered how this might apply to Small business.
Lazy and Uninspiring?
When I first started out in Small Business, I believed that to have a really good idea I also had to be inspired. Or, to be inspiring, I had to have a really good idea.
I believed I was responsible for having to bring both these elements to the table at the same time. It felt a lot of pressure and frankly quite exhausting. At times I wondered if I was simply uninspiring or lazy with no good ideas and should ditch being a Small Business owner because it seemed I was going to be really bad at it.
I know. Not great for your confidence.
I now know believing we need to take responsibility for both ideas and inspiration all by ourselves is a dis-service to our Small Business and our clients. Here’s why.
When Ordinary becomes Extraordinary.
Some ideas are not in the least inspiring or creative to the person who has them. They are simply a logical and learned response to a problem that is arrived at through specific training and many applications. I sound like Spock, but you get the point, the idea is just a plausible solution that in some instances take no effort because we know our stuff. To others unfamiliar with our every day our idea could be inspiring.
Inspiration is achieved by the sharing of ordinary concepts from one party to another (you and your client) and simply because the idea is new and unique to the client it is inspirational.
So what am I trying to say? I’m not sure yet to be honest, but it is something to do with never underestimating the value of our learnt response or our casual daily thought bubbles to those around you who are looking for solutions to their problems. They simply haven’t come across your idea yet, but they are open and waiting for the possibility that it will inspire them.
Someone said to me once that I ‘would not value (what I do or know) that which others find inspirational’.
To others, your routine thinking could be a revelation. The missing flash of information that breathes life and momentum into a vexing dilemma or otherwise stagnated project. Your mundane ‘idea’ could actually foster their inspiration, but that is all their doing and not your responsibility.
In this context (which really does have me breathing out a big long sigh) I am no longer responsible for both the idea and the inspiration I just have to bring one bit and between the two of us we generate. Phew, what a relief!
Where is my responsibility?
It is the responsibility of the Small Business owner to bring our best idea/product/solution and posit how it might be transformational to our clients. Anything that happens after that is largely out of our control. Our enthusiastic presentation and explanation of what we do best and how it could be a solution is the only part that we must perfect. The creative transformation of that into it’s value to the client is actually a part of their inspirational process, not ours. Yes, we have to do our very best to get our ideas out there and into the minds of our market, but that is where our responsibility ends.
Ideas as carriages on a train.
This is where I liken ideas to carriages on a train. In and of themselves they are fairly useless unless they have an engine to move them. That is where the inspiration comes in. Ideas have to create a solution for someone else who is inspired by them. That is their only value. That ‘value’ ignites the engine and links the carriages together.
The engine is the collaboration of our already learnt and practised thinking and the great and boundless mystery of the marketplace and it’s embrace of our idea. It is in collaboration that ideas become inspiration. It is the frisson between you and your client that a mundane idea can blossom into a truly magnificent concept that inspires all.
It’s not all on you.
So it doesn’t have to be all on you. And you don’t have to take rejection personally. If your idea didn’t land it may not have anything to do with you, your idea simply didn’t meet the ‘you are mine’ criterion mentioned by Ms Gilbert.
Bring your ideas, your solutions and present them with conviction. Do it often and at some point, their value to the right people will create a burning fire of inspiration. So shed the burden that is all on you and just keep solution making….
You are going to inspire.
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