by Elmarie Bouwer (Entrepreneurial Business School)

You’ve been doing all the right things and have covered all the basics that are supposed to guarantee business success.  You made certain at the outset that all your important business ducks like market  research and a cash flow forecast are in a row and that your budget tows the line.

After a while though, you constantly phone your partner in a sweaty panic and suffer from seemingly stress related illnesses…still too few sales. Sometimes, no sales at all! You quickly realise … long enough no sales…no business.

You whittle your nails to the bone and the zoo at home thinks you’ve turned into a monster from Mars. Finally you groan in desperation “Now what? How do I fix this?”

The question has barely left your lips before the cold fact hits you… you have nothing unique to offer your customers!  You’ve given the guys & gals with the wallets  little or no reason to come to you rather than go to the competitor next-door who, by the way, is in the same business and is diverting most, if not all, the paying traffic to him with his unique offerings!

So you go back to the drawing board and consult the gurus. They tell you in umpteen ways what you’ve just realised anyway. That you need a product or service that will set you apart from the competition. An offering so irresistible that it will make paying customers only too happy to surrender their hard-earned cash to you in return for it. A competitive edge or unique selling point (USP) the gurus call it.

You toss… you turn… you sweat – but try as you might, that pioneering idea keeps eluding you. That one breath-taking thought that will catapult you ahead of the competition in your niche…

Exhausted, you realise that you are not going anywhere without that USP. And what’s more, to come up with that much desired edge, strategic thinking is required. That in turn calls for creativity. Dumbstruck, you sit down as understanding dawns…

…creativity underlies all successful business actions and you realise that all truly cutting edge products & services only surface where the twin horses of imagination and creativity run wild. Creative thinking is the basis. From there, winning products & services strategy naturally flow.

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Look out for our series of articles on the creative process, starting with a hard look at just what creativity really is, who fits the term “creative” and going on to some exercises that’s been designed to kick the creative apparatus into motion and finally ending with how to keep the muse going. See you there!

© Elmarie Bouwer

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