We’re spending our July focusing on the idea of being open as business owners and planners—open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, new people and new routines. As planners with more than enough to worry about, though, we didn’t want to being open to feel like yet another bullet-point on that neverending to-do list of yours. So, we wanted to spend today breaking down three simple things open-minded business owners practice. Keep them in the back of your mind and access them every now and then if you’re feeling like you need a little extra inspiration, space and creativity in your life.
Disrupting the Status Quo
One of the best things you can do as an open-minded business owner is to strategically shake things up every now and then. Whether that means allowing that intern to contribute to your design brainstorm session, or trying out a super chic new tablescape idea at your client’s wine country wedding, when we’re willing to try something new we’re often rewarded by discovering things that can be super beneficial to our business and our workflow. Maybe that intern is destined to join your design team after all and you had no idea he or she possessed such a killer eye for aesthetics—or maybe a pic of that edgy tablescape becomes Pinterest-famous. Getting out of our comfort zone when it comes to our design, allowing our team members to contribute to their fullest ability, and tackling old problems a new way are some of the best things we can do to remain open as business owners.
As business owners and leaders, we want to be a pillar of strength for our team and our clients—and oftentimes forgiveness and strength are seen as two opposing ideas. But, practicing forgiveness in our professional lives is just as important as practicing it in our personal lives. This doesn’t mean allowing that caterer who’s shown up late to three weddings to cater a fourth–but it does mean keeping an open mind when it comes to human error and understandable mistakes those around us might make. You certainly don’t want to give terrible vendors a fourth and fifth chance at the risk of ruining your clients’ events or giving your business a bad name—but you do want to forgive that employee who may have made an error on a seating chart after a week of dealing with flu-ridden children, for example.
As planners and event designers, most of us tend to be naturally creative people—but we’ve learned to filter that creativity over the years. Think about the way you brainstormed or the ideas you allowed yourself to share as a child, compared to the way you brainstorm or the ideas you allow yourself to share now, as an adult. The world has a way of teaching us to filter our ideas and, over time, we’re trained to only show others what we think are our absolute best thoughts and ideas. While there’s something to be said for strategy behind creativity, too much strategy or over thinking before sharing can be stifling to the creative process. Open brainstorming sessions and free-writes (a practice where you sit down and write anything and everything that comes to mind for 3-5 minutes, without allowing your pen to stop once) are a great way to get those creative juices flowing, free of the worry of judgment or criticism—and, oftentimes, our best and most unique ideas come from these unfiltered brainstorming practices.
Overall, being open as a business owner is all about willingness—willingness to try new things, willingness to forgive when circumstances warrant it, and willingness to share even our most half-baked and vulnerable ideas with those around us. When we’re willing to do those three simple things, we become stronger, more effective, more open business owners, leaders, planners and designers.