Inspiration is all around us. From online films, quotes, and books to billboards, bumper stickers, and t-shirts, inspiration is hidden right before our eyes, everywhere. Inspiration is essential fuel for any entrepreneur. However, have you contemplated the importance of inspiring others outside your customer base? I bet you are super inspirational when you communicate with your customers through social media, but how do you operate on a day-to-day basis with your collaborators, agencies, vendors, virtual assistants, and even yourself?
Surprisingly, I was at my most inspired when I worked in the corporate world! Honestly, I invested a lot of time ensuring I inspired those who worked with me, as I knew it was imperative to receiving their best quality work and maintaining high levels of motivation. This is something I lost sight of when I became an entrepreneur. Fortunately, I recognized this and once I invested time to inspire those around me, I immediately saw the impact as inspiration is essential for driving your business growth.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs complain about receiving unsatisfactory work from designers (i.e. example websites, design work, etc.). What I learned from my corporate experience is that you are equally responsible for the output of any creative component, as it’s difficult for someone to produce poor work if they are truly inspired. So if creative or design work isn’t meeting the mark, you may want to look in the mirror to see if you are actually providing adequate inspiration to your team.
Obviously there is no magic formula for being inspirational or fostering inspiration in organizations. It is difficult; however, I have learned 3 key pointers that I would like to share with you, as they have helped me navigate those sometimes inevitably uninspired moments:
Invest time and energy into briefing:
You may do everything yourself in your business, but you still need a brief, as the results will pay off ten fold! A good brief helps clarify your objectives and visualize what great looks like. This does not have to be difficult, but a few well thought through sentences can make a world of difference. When briefing others, for example a website designer, think about how you can bring out the best in your creative. If they sent you a template, are you investing time thinking about quality input? Are you taking time to have an in person or virtual face-to-face briefing? Do you invest time sending them visuals to bring to life your ideas in a way that is both engaging and exciting?
Inspiration is at the heart of any brief. Ask yourself, if you received your brief, would you be inspired? One of my favorite briefings was for a communication campaign for a global toilet cleaner… I briefed the agency in the public restroom of a major international airport! They were totally grossed out, but produced amazing work after the briefing, as the briefing was unique and helped to trigger their creativity. How can you engage creativity to inspire those you brief?
Always deliver quality feedback to inspire:
As entrepreneurs, we have high standards and that’s important. Your business is your baby and part of you. When we ask others to work on or for our business, it’s often difficult to not be hyper critical or disappointed with the first round of results. However, could you imagine working on someone’s website for hours and then receiving a few lines of feedback via email? Imagine how that would make creative minds feel. When delivering feedback in the porporate world, I was taught to always put myself in the other person’s shoes. Therefore, if I need to provide feedback on a lot of changes I do so in person. This is far more effective for me; however, you may be better at communicating in writing. The key is to ensure that no matter how tough the feedback is, the end result should be an inspired creative ready to tackle the challenge.
Another technique I learned in the corporate world was called “Famous Faces.” Simply put, you choose a famous person who is inspiring for you and deliver feedback as if you were them! How would Oprah deliver the website changes for example? How would Nelson Mandela feedback on your new logo design that’s not working for you?
Everyone needs a little inspiration!
In order to be inspiring you must be inspired! I learned recently that you cannot give from an empty cup…despite my attempts to struggle through a creative blockage! Maybe you refuel by reading or doing physical exercise? Whatever refuels your creativity, as an entrepreneur it’s great to find your source of inspiration and regularly tap into it to help your business thrive. When I’m struggling with thinking through a business challenge, I sometimes use the “Corporate Takeover” game! I think of a company that inspires me and ask myself how they would address the challenge. For example, if Apple owned InsieMama, how would they deliver my online courses? This helps me look at the issue from a different perspective and inspires me to to think differently.
Inspiration comes in many forms and looks different to different people. However, the key is ensuring you invest energy in inspiring now only your customers, but also those you work with, including yourself! If you need some marketing inspiration, check out www.insiemama.com for my online resources and customized marketing plans. Happy inspiring, entrepreneurs!
Danielle Tenconi founded InsieMama to bring world-class marketing skills, learned over 15 years building brands in the corporate world, to help grow small business. She motivates clients to continually raise themselves, and their businesses, to a higher standard of performance through targeted marketing consultancy tools, processes and sessions. Danielle is a Military spouse with two small boys and has lived all across the world. She brings this Global experience to her clients through best-practice marketing. When she is not building small business or spending time with family, she is an avid runner.