Apple. McDonald’s. Starbucks. Uber.
We’re sure you know all these brands. But have you ever thought about how each of these major companies became household names? There’s a one-word answer for that:
As the world moved changed, each of these businesses adapted to it. Apple never made just computers. McDonald’s never sold just hamburgers. Starbucks…well, you get the point.
The best entrepreneurs are those whose companies are driven by the fuel of creativity. In turn, this gives you three distinct advantages over your competition: a competitive edge, survival skills, and innovative leadership.
Not only will creativity help your business, but it’ll also help your college application stand out from hundreds or thousands of others!
THAT COMPETITIVE EDGE
There may be a million babysitters in your community. How do you stand out from the crowd? Why will parents hire you instead of your next-door neighbor?
This is where creativity comes in.
Imagine how potential customers see the candidates. As a parent looking for a babysitter, one high schooler might not seem all that different than another. A successful young entrepreneur such as yourself will need to get noticed amongst a sea of potential babysitters.
When you get those creative juices flowing, you’ll start to notice things about yourself that other babysitters don’t have. A few suggestions:
- You are in all A.P. classes and can tutor your charges after school
- You enjoy using your athletic skills to get your charges moving and playing
- You have a car and can do light errands on your way to the parents’ houses
- You own a billion board games and can bring some over to keep the kids occupied all evening long
- You’re an excellent baker and love to let kids decorate their own cupcakes with tools you provide
And so on.
Notice none of these traits have anything to do with how much you charge. That’s because the creativity you provide – the thing that highlights your product or service out of all the others in your field – is enough to grab people’s attention. Once you show them how much you have to offer, they may be willing to pay a little extra. Remember: you aren’t only providing a product or service. Don’t undersell yourself or undercharge for your time and services. You’re providing happiness and peace of mind.
CREATIVITY = SURVIVAL
When the pandemic hit in 2020 and the world went into lockdown, many businesses were forced to close. Why? A lack of creativity prevented them from pivoting into something new. The businesses that thrived were the ones able to make the most out of an unprecedented situation. And they did so with creativity.
Let’s look at babysitting again. On the surface, it may seem like there’s no way to creatively pivot in-person babysitting during a lockdown. You probably wouldn’t have wanted to go into someone’s house, and the parents probably didn’t want people coming in. What’s a creative young entrepreneur to do?
As always, young entrepreneurs are problem solvers.
The problem: Cannot babysit in person.
The deeper problem: Parents are working from home and need their kids out of the way.
Possible solutions: Put together a “Fun Kit!’ for your charges and deliver them to the parents’ front doors.
Cost of a “Fun Kit!”: Crayons = $3; coloring printouts = FREE; stickers = $5; puzzles for small children = $10. Total cost = $18. You charge = $22 for the kit and delivery. Profit = $4, PLUS the parents will remember that you went the extra mile in a time of need.
Want to take it further? Offer an hour on a video call with the kids while they color and do puzzles.
Since you are already a young entrepreneur, we know you probably have a million ideas for starting a business. That kind of creativity will guarantee your success!
Let’s look at, oh, say, Apple. There are many very good reasons why Apple is pretty much the king of the tech market. And one of those very good reasons is innovation. Apple never stopped at creating one thing and selling it until the end of time. Instead, they stay ahead of the competition through constant innovation.
Think of innovation as creativity + growth.
How can you grow your company in a way that makes sense? If you babysit, will you expand to pet care? Tutoring?
We guarantee your competition isn’t sitting back and letting their initial success drive the car. YOU are the driver in your company. YOU control where you go and how you get there. YOU are the one with your foot on the gas pedal.
TIPS FOR STAYING CREATIVE
Creativity is crucial for any young entrepreneur who wants to get ahead and stay ahead. But it’s also work and can be mentally draining and even physically exhausting. Here are some ways to keep those juices flowing when things get stagnant.
- Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm
- There are no bad ideas
- Write them ALL down
- Let your ideas marinate for a few days
- Go back and re-read what you wrote
- What stands out to you?
- Try “yes, and…”
- What’s your idea?
- “Yes, I’m a babysitter”
- “…AND I can also…”
- Pay attention
- What complaints do you hear most often around you?
- What problem bothers you the most?
- Who needs help?
- How can you be useful?
- Be open-minded
- Don’t talk yourself out of ideas
- Take chances
- See failure as teaching moments
- Take your ideas to their natural conclusions
- Recharge and reset
- Eat right
- Get plenty of sleep
- Move around
- Turn off your brain once in a while
- Read this blog post!
Young entrepreneurs are some of the most creative people on the planet. We know this, and we reward it! But creativity isn’t just for art or music. It’s also a crucial business skill that you need to nurture and develop. Because when it comes time for your enterprise to sink or swim, creativity will be the rocket engine that propels you past the others.
Are you a Florida-based young entrepreneur looking for a college scholarship? Click here to learn more about how the Kantner Foundation can help you!