Where Business Owners Get Their Inspiration

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Do you wonder where successful business owners and entrepreneurs get their good ideas from? It's all a matter of where to find enough inspiration to thrive.

Several years ago I read an article in which many of the most successful people in the country and from varied sectors of life were asked what inspired their most creative thinking. The group included business leaders, writers, legal professionals, politicians, and many others. I was fascinated by the blend of responses. Some said it was in the serenity of nature, for others it included the relaxation brought on by having a drink, for some inspiration came while reading a book, or during a quiet time of reflection, for others a sexual experience heightened their senses resulting in inspiration. There were not one or two sources of inspiration, but as many different ways. It was a fascinating article and pointed out that most of us experience inspiration in routine ways. A key is to identify what arouses inspiration, and do this activity on a regular and continuous basis around whatever important issues we face.

Planning for growing your business is more about inspiration, than perspiration. Implementing a well-developed business development plan is hard work, but the work begins with inspiration.

I had an extraordinary personal experience in the insurance restoration industry. Over nearly a decade of time my company achieved an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 46%. Much of this growth was propelled by the 27 major insurance carrier preferred contractor programs that my company was on, as well as key government contracts we earned. I have been asked many times how my company achieved so much. Each time at some point in the conversation I stated my belief about business success – you have to be smart enough to see an opportunity, and courageous enough to reach out and seize it!

My wife and I ran our business together. We are one of the rare couples who spend all of their time together, and that works well for us. We each bring professional skills and experience from various sources in life, and this made for an effective working team. I have told Jackie often how much I enjoy working with her. I can’t imagine going through so many profound and powerful experiences in a day, and then trying to describe them to her over the dinner table. We experienced each one together!

We love talking about business, and about our business. Inspirational planning became a cornerstone of our business growth, and much of our inspiration occurred in a particular place. I am convinced that more often than not business leaders find their best inspiration in dialogue with at least one other person, and in a setting that allows them to relax and let inspiration surface like bubbles in a glass. That was true of us, and it occurred during dinners at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. Anyone who knows Jack & Jackie knows about Jorge’s.

There are lessons to learn from our personal experience. Since most individuals are not naturally creative they gain insight, understanding, and innovation from inspirational conversations and collaboration. It is in the give and take between two or more people who are energized by the subject that leads to the best thinking and most creative outcomes.

Jackie and I found that dinner time at our favorite restaurant eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas provided the time and place for such innovative thinking, and planning. Our best business decisions were shaped during these times. One evening the owner approached us and treated us to a complementary round of margaritas. He said he wanted to express his appreciation for our regular patronage. I explained that we came to his restaurant whenever we had a particularly hard day and needed to decompress, or whenever we had something really good to celebrate. “We are here 4 or 5 times a week,” I said. We all laughed. While the number of visits per week may have been an exaggeration, we were there often and it was typically the place of inspiration and innovation. We owe much of our best planning to dinners at Jorge’s.

So the obvious question is, where do you get your inspiration that fuels and directs your business growth, and who participates in sharpening those seed thoughts into full blown plans for innovation? You likely don’t have to think hard to answer because the setting is familiar to you. You know you have done your best work in that place, doing that activity, or being with that person.

Do you take those ideas and wrap strategies and tactics around them in order to accomplish them? Do you show courage in your decision-making reaching out to seize opportunities? Who participates in those times of insight and innovation? What can you do to do this activity more often and with greater deliberateness?

Growing your business should not be by accident. Don’t leave it to chance. Rather, effective business development is planned, deliberate, and continuous. But it all begins with inspiration, and is followed by courage!

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