Two Pillars for Your Small Business

There is a great debate going on! Let me introduce you to the debaters. There’s Academic Alfred on the one hand, a struggling business man with a college degree, the basis on which he established his small business. He’s adamant that creativity is “too out there” and any major focus on it will derail his business.Vigorously opposing him is Creative Cindy. Not only is she in what may be described as a creative industry, she’s built her business creatively. She holds fast to her position that “all of those by-the-book rules” will kill her business if she begins applying them in any major way.What is academic? What is creative? Is there a relationship between the two in business?There seems to be a concept that creativity means non-academic, non-structured, non-systematic, in other words “free form” as was the term used when I asked my trusted fan base. In other words, footloose and fancy free. Academic connotes too structured, too “text bookie” too well, academic.I don’t question these positions and I offer no competing definitions. I will just share what they mean to me and hope that my perspective helps you to create the lifestyle that you want along with whatever else you create.I am creativeI can take three metres of fabric and create an original outfit and sew it all by my little self. The idea for the outfit may have been driven by the fabric itself, a notion I got while waiting for the traffic lights to change or I could have deliberately decided that I want an outfit in this colour, from this texture of fabric to wear on no particular occasion.If you read anything I write you will realize that I can take any of the complex academic subjects which I have studied and write about them in the most amazing ways that combine your need for information and entertainment with my creative ways of structuring, packaging and presenting it to you.Those are just two of the areas in which my creativity cannot be contained. Sometimes my creativity is used for the pure pleasure of the output or to challenge me to grow and to expand and remain relevant in the areas I use creativity to make money.To me creative means being original in thought, outlook, perspective, etc and willing to use your imagination and intuition instead of being led primarily by the external influences which you face on a daily basis. It requires you to have a strong sense of who you are and the intestinal fortitude to dance to the beat of your own drums, however out of step you may appear to the rest of the world.I am academicIf we understand academic in its strictest and original sense in which it relates to the expansion of the mind, I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and I am on a never-ending quest to expand my mind.You see, knowledge feeds my creativity and not just academic knowledge (this time in the sense of what is learnt in schools and education institution) but also knowledge of the world around me. In this way my creative right brain has the tools it needs to produce numerous ideas and at a phenomenal rate. Moreover, it’s this same knowledge in my left brain that acts as a gatekeeper to some of my right brain ideas and calls upon it to “wheel and come again” on the usefulness of some of these ideas.Creativity also comes from action. It’s very difficult to take action when you’re paralysed by fear or overwhelmed by uncertainty and self-doubt. It’s my vast reservoir of both academic and non-academic knowledge that mostly informs me of which actions to take that propels the flow of my creative juices which in turn allows me to see new ideas, new possibilities and exciting solutions to existing problems.I am all businessYes, like most entrepreneurs, I want to make money from my passion and this brings out yet another side of me. Now I’m structured, systematic, focused, creative and yes academic! How many times have I seen entrepreneurs create products and services with no idea if there is a market for them and then complain that people don’t know what’s good for them? Too many.Whatever is your creative output, if you want to make money from it, there is the business of being in business. This is where you decide on and implement a structure for your business. This is where you implement the systems that take your products and services to the client in the most efficient and cost-effective way. This is where you collect and manage the money which you make, remembering that wealth is not about how much you make but how much you keep of what you make.You don’t have to know how to do any of this yourself, you just need to know that if you’re serious about monetizing your passion, there is the business aspect that you cannot ignore. If your mind is expanded, you will see several ways to do this and you will be creative in your implementation.So as an entrepreneur who create to make a living, being exclusively creative will not cut it. There must be a balance between what you create how much you know and the systems and structures which allow you to make money from your creations, so that you can create even more.Do not hide behind being creative or insist on being mono-talented as a means of not implementing those systems or acquiring the knowledge that will manage and grow your business. Find creative ways to learn what you need to know, always understanding that having a small business is not an excuse for you to be small-minded.I’m also innovativeThat’s why my business is built on distinction, excellence and service! Of course, driven by the academic and creativity.