5 Unique Places to Look for Business Answers

November 27, 2015

A business solution is not a spare key; one will not find a business answer hidden under a rock by the side of the front door when they need it. After all, business solutions and answers are not solid items; there are fragments of a business visions floating everywhere; in the determination of every member of the team, on the lips of their best loved customers, and naturally a business’s solutions will become the envy of their competitors. Of course, retrieving these pieces of answers is no easy task, and the circumstances may be rife with difficulty. However, if you find yourself in a pickle over marketing, product design, money, or anything else, there are fairly reliable places to look for an answer. Here are five you might consider:


History


If the return of speakeasy-esque cocktail bars, wood paneling and brass farm-chic rustic restaurants, and even the prevalence of the neon crop-top with skater skirts have indicated anything about where current culture gets its cues, most entrepreneurs looking for a new business venture or aesthetic can stand a trip back in history for inspiration.


Aesthetically, every past historical era has its own richness that can help give an entrepreneur or designer a direction and an atmosphere for their new idea – but in practice – looking to the past can help problem solvers address an age-old problem, or bring a simple solution back from the dead and into a new age splendor. Learn from Ghandi when he said “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”


Your competitors


When it comes to tweaking a lot of the technical or logistical aspects of running a business, like pricing, demand, market share, and needs, there’s no better way to get a handle on the market than by diving into your market. By scoping out your competitors, you can get an idea of how to price your product or service, modify existing features, as well as get inspiration for unique features that nobody else has tapped into. After all, you won’t be able to differentiate yourself without knowing what others are offering.


Your data


Data analytics are a miraculous development in modern business. Who knew that simply looking to the right numbers could help direct you to better product development, more effective marketing efforts, and even find market fit?


By being smart about the data you sift through, you can find out how many potential customers you have, what they’re interested in (landing pages), how they’re finding out about your business (social traffic), and to whom your product or service will have the best appeal (audience demographics). With this valuable information and a willingness to experiment, experiment, experiment – and document your findings, you won’t need much else in order to find your best business.


Your accountant


While balancing books, taxes, and keeping track of expenses might not be traditionally associated with creative businesses, one could make the argument that it’s limitations like these that can be ultimately conducive, not prohibitive, to creative ideas. After all, when you have all the resources of the world, you have nothing but the floating wisps of possibility. But when you’re limited to a budget, a legal system, and a data set, you should consider these as guides to your next big business move.


Will you follow the natural course? Can you veer off the beaten path, get a little creative, and burn a little faster through your burn rate for the chance of a bigger payoff? How many wild decisions can you make in this controlled environment – and how many decisions will you make?


Your biggest visual influences


Nothing kickstarts inspiration quite like being surrounded by items of your particular taste. You may guide your aesthetic direction towards the earthy, or mysterious atmosphere of a redwood forest under a blanket of fog, or the clean, architectural lines and negative space of a Guggenheim structure. You might get lost in the elegant magical realism of a Cocteau film, or the colorful, childlike spontaneity of Jacques Tati.


We are all directed by our personal influences, and the things we create are loose cousins of the things we love. While we know all of this instinctively, it’s easy to get swayed by limitation and the aesthetic choices of the people around us (or by ourselves). Your product might come out looking stylistically disparate, or pieced together out of compromise because of different tastes. At the end of the day, however, a CEO will be forced to recognize when something looks off, make the tough decisions, and keep their vision of the business clean and unobstructed.


In these situations, when thinking about what your company product, space, or atmosphere should look like, or which direction it should take now, it helps to put yourself in the cradle of your own personal aesthetic influence. You will have the ultimate responsibility of everything to do with your business, so educate yourself backward with what has already been done, sideways with what is happening in your space now, and bring your product or service forward and into the future with your own personal vision as your guide.

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