As we to enter a new year, you might feel renewed, refreshed and ready to hit the ground running! Maybe you’re chock full of inspiration, new ideas and resolutions to make this year great. Or, like some of us, you might feel a little burned out from holiday festivities, end of year deadlines and cold winter days. Your creativity might feel a bit spent, and well, “blah”. January and February can be notoriously difficult months to get your mind churning out amazing ideas.
Sometimes it’s hard to find your muse, especially when we’re surrounded, and even bombarded by constant new technology, new ideas and bigger, better ways to do things. Has it all been done before? Is there anything new and truly creative you and your team can do to reach your customers?
It’s time to get those creative juices flowing! Start the New Year off right with inspiration and motivation. It’s time to spark those bright ideas and engage your team in some fun, new ways to kick things off. So where can YOU find a little inspiration to bring on a brainstorm in your forecast?
1. READ those newsletters!
Chances are, like most creatives, you probably subscribe to several newsletters and emails that fill your inbox every morning. Instead of automatically deleting them, take some time to read through them. Many of those newsletters are full of inspiration and content you might find helpful.
At this time of year, your affinity groups, vendors, partners and peers are offering great B2B tips and marketing inspiration. Everyone’s hoping to start the year off right by reinforcing their connections and providing robust, interesting content to their readers. Take advantage by giving your favorite newsletters and blogs more than just a cursory glance.
Think your current subscriptions just aren’t cutting it? There are many newsletters out there with creative inspiration and content. Look at your favorite blogs, organizations and businesses you “like” on Facebook, or ask your fellow team members what’s in their inbox.
2. Connect with Your Customers!
Customers are a great source of inspiration and innovation. After all, whose needs are we trying to meet anyway?! Talk to your target market, your top customers, and really connect with them. Find out what they’re looking for and what they love about you.
Use your CRM to guide you—are there certain segments of your customers you’re particularly interested in getting to know? Your most recent customers? Your longest-term supporters? Those who were referred by someone else?
If you’re fully using your CRM to segment and identify your customers creatively, chances are you’ll be able to find some new commonalities and ties that can up your marketing and change your game. In fact, examining your customer base and talking to your customers about their needs can change your whole marketing strategy.
3. Don’t Get Lost in the Details
Nothing can squelch creativity and drag you down like sorting through endless amounts of data. For some people it’s interesting and even…*gasp* fun! But for most creative types, slogging through data is a surefire way to put you to sleep and kill your creativity.
Use your tools on hand to take care of the boring stuff. Having all of the programs you use integrated into one easy place can really help. Using a CRM that works across platforms and devices ensures you aren’t searching your phone for an answer when you should be on your computer. It saves you time and energy…energy you can use to make, do, think, innovate and create!
Set up reminders on your calendar, and take advantage of “helping tools” to get you organized and keep your mind off the minutia. Take a little time after each project or activity to put it to bed, by logging the data and adding the info to your CRM. Recording one or two quick snippets of data is much less stifling than letting it pile-up to hours of data entry.
4. Get Creative Team Inspiration Online
There are so many great creative resources and websites you can find online. Literally—hundreds of sites you can find to give you ideas, design inspiration, color schemes, fonts, art and more.
Sites like Slack, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and yes, even Facebook can seem like big wastes of time, but social media and “groupthink” sites can also lead to connection, engagement and growth. Allow your team to seek inspiration where they need to, as long as their work stays fresh and productivity is high, social media can actually be a boost to your company.
5. Listen & Learn
Once we earn that diploma, many people assume we can check learning off our to-do list. Creative-thinkers know this is not so, and in fact the opposite is true. We must be constantly learning and trying new things. After graduation the entire world becomes our classroom!
Find inspiration through TED talks, Podcasts, YouTube and other sources where you can listen to great speakers and motivational gurus. There are so many resources out there to help you build your business, boost your creativity, learn from your frustration, and embrace your inner superhero, that there’s no time to waste.
Even picking up a good ol’ fashioned book now and again can help boost your creativity and inspire you. Ideas can come from the sources you least expect, so open yourself up to the possibilities wherever you go, and whatever you’re watching, reading or listening to.
When it comes to being creative, make this your best, most innovative year. Stretch your limits, and seek inspiration all around you. Share with your team, communicate with your customers and get inspired!
About our sponsor
Insightly was designed as a simple to use yet powerful Web-based CRM system for small businesses. With integrations to widely used applications such as Google Apps, Office 365, Mail Chimp, and Dropbox, Insightly CRM keeps you connected to the right information at the right time—including contacts, sales information, project activities, and more. Because we handle all of the technical issues like server upgrades and security fixes, you can focus on growing sales, not maintaining an IT support staff. Insightly CRM helps you concentrate on what matters most, running your business.