It’s no secret that the pandemic has forever changed the way homeowners small businesses they think about how they run their businesses and engage with their customers.
A recent Adobe survey of 3,500 small business owners in five global markets found that 87% of small business owners had to be creative in their businesses to survive the pandemic and 63% plan to stick with the changes they’ve made in the future.
With the effects of the pandemic still lingering, 74% of small business owners recognize that they are facing major obstacles to their creativity now. Since they’ve recently been called upon countless times to discover creative ways to boost or save their businesses, it’s no wonder they feel less creative and are looking for new inspiration.
Here are some ways small business owners can rekindle their creative energy to propel their businesses forward after a few years of uncertainty.
1. Adopt a digital mindset first
For many small businesses, moving from a physical to a virtual presence was a difficult transition to make in a short period of time. After nearly two years of embracing the digital world, 55% of small business owners say their online presence is now more critical to their business success than their physical location. Online sales are the new norm, and small business owners are at the forefront of redefining the digital marketplace.
The dream of “opening a store” seems very different to today’s small business owner when most storefronts are virtual, but businesses that are all online face many of the same difficulties when it comes to creativity. 82% of them know that creative design will help them stand out and drive business, but 45% say they don’t have the time, tools or skills to bring their ideas to life.
Products like the new Creative Cloud Express are designed with small business owners, solopreneurs and other hustlers in mind. The tool empowers entrepreneurs to create compelling and distinctive visual content, including graphics, flyers, menus, videos and animations with just a few taps, and the initial plan is free to access.
2. take a break
Sometimes the only way for small business owners to get their creativity flowing again is to take time out of their business. Time away can be like almost anything, even browsing social media.
In fact, 48% of small business owners find creative inspiration in what they see on social media, but many still find inspiration in more offline activities like reading (40%), outdoor activities (39%), exercise (36 %) or watching TV or movies (33%).
Creativity can come from anywhere, and by looking at what other businesses are doing on social media, small business owners are finding inspiration and ideas they can apply to their own businesses. In fact, 86% say they are inspired, not dismayed, when they see others in their industry doing well online.
3. Improve your social skills
As small business owners increasingly turn to social media for inspiration, they also know that keeping up with the myriad of platforms and algorithms requires their own job description.
59% of small business owners say improving their social media skills would be the most impactful thing they can do for their business, including 64% of Generation Z and Generation Y small business owners.
On average, small business owners who use digital marketing say they spend more than nine hours a week thinking creatively about their business, and it’s critical for them to make the most of this precious resource of time.
Sharp social media skills are essential, with bricks-and-mortar becoming less relevant and small business owners make the most of their time online. However, 42% still cite that the most time-consuming aspect of digital and social media is posting and managing their social media channels.
Once inspiration kicks in and they build or update their brand, tools like Creative Cloud Express make it easy for small business owners to create templates to reuse, so it’s easy to produce consistent content without having to recreate every project from scratch, saving you time and money, and making creating beautiful content intuitive, fun and easy.
4. Focus on customer engagement
Every small business owner, admitting it or not, dreams of going viral online. Seeing orders, likes and followers arrive after a post catches on fire is considered the “Holy Grail” for some. But by pouring a ton of creative energy into chasing a viral moment, the pressure can be very detrimental to the overall social strategy and can really backfire.
By thinking of social media as the new version of a brick-and-mortar store, small business owners are discovering that their customers can serve as a significant source of inspiration and creativity. Thirty-nine percent of small business owners say their customers provide the most inspiration for how they market their business, coming right after social media.
Interacting with customers and building community is the number one reason most small business owner sites go online, and 69% of them place more value on customer engagement when evaluating their online presence.
Inspiration can reach small business owners anywhere, but it can be difficult to harness, especially when they already feel drained or underresourced. It’s vital for small business owners to celebrate getting where they are under these incredible circumstances and take the next steps to rekindle their creative flame.
Matter translated from Fast Company.
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