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Creative Questions To Help Move Your Business Past a Tight Budget

Jul 17, 2008
Sometimes it is difficult to start, no one starts at the top. Almost all of us have to overcome one major obstacle in the beginning.

To get past the obstacle of having a tight budget to begin with you really have to learn how to market yourself creatively by asking yourself some simple creative questions.

Questions such as:

1) How can I

Start with another creative question like:

2) Who could help me with I love that one. Who could help me with

How about:

3) Who might exchange for ?

Here's another one:

4) How can I do this cheaper? or How could I do this faster? or How could I do this with less effort? or How could I do this without paying? That's a great creative question.

Try this one:

5) What can I substitute for 'X'? Could I substitute 'XYZ' for 'ABC'? Just think about whatever you could, or want to change.

This next one is a great one because it puts you in the shoes of other people, someone who is thinks completely different than you.

6) How would solve this problem?

A good example: How would my mentor solve this problem? How would my four year-old daughter solve this problem? It's a great question because it forces you to think from a different perspective.

These questions amongst others have opened up all kinds of opportunities for me, and they've been the oxygen - the lifeblood - of my career and the success that I'm experiencing.

I'll show you an example of how I used this method of creative questioning to help me.

Right out of University I decided to become a professional speaker, speaking to high school and college students - which I still do on occasion - speaking on the topic of creativity because that topic helped me go from a University failure all the way to the top of my class, straight A's, and named Most Outstanding Male of my graduating class. There was a big difference between what happened first year and my last year, and I attribute it all to learning the skill on the art of creative thinking, and I was very passionate about it.

Even though I had decided that this is what I wanted to do, I had no idea about becoming a professional speaker, or if I could turn it into a profitable business.

The first thing I did was join the local chapter of CAPS, The Canadian Association for Professional Speakers.

It was at one of the local meetings were I asked a gentleman, who was doing very well with his speaking career, "What did I have to do to get to where he was?" He replied by saying, "I'll give you three things to get started on. Once you finish those come back and I'll give you some more." He said it would be simple, so I said, "Okay."

"Number one," he began, "You should join CAPS. By surrounding yourself with like minded people in your industry it will help your business grow."

In order to join CAPS it cost $200, which at that time was a squeeze. Thinking back on it I remember paying for it on payments in order to be able to do it. I did number though, I joined CAPS.

Then he said, "Number two, you have to get out to the CAPS National Conference." And I thought, 'Man, how in the heck am I going to get out there?' It was on the complete opposite side of Canada. The seminar itself was relatively expensive. Anything for me, at that point, was expensive. I had no money. I had to pay for my flight and all that nonsense.

This is where I started asking myself some creative questions. I needed to find a solution. I started thinking about what I had, or could do, that someone else might want and need.

At this point I wasn't speaking very often because I had just started my speaking business. This allowed me to have time. Time to be able to do other things for someone else.

Then I started to say, "Okay, how could I use my time to benefit somebody else?" From that question I came up with a campaign, and I called it Help Stu Be Like You.

This is how I used that creative idea to my advantage. I went to the largest chapter of CAPS in my province, which consisted of about 75 people and asked for 30 seconds in front of the whole group.

This was something that nobody had ever asked for. While up there I said, "How many of you, at one point, started off as a speaker with no experience?" Of course everybody's hands went up in the air.

"Awesome," I said. "Keep your hand up if you have ever attended the CAPS national conference before." Seventy-five percent of the group kept their hands up.

I continued, "Of those who have been able to attend the conference, how many of you believe it would be beneficial for a new speaker, with no experience to be able to go?" Everyone kept their hands up.

I said, "Great. Because I am somebody with zero speaking experience that you just said needs to get out to that CAPS national conference."

I continued by saying, "But, here is where I run into difficulty. I don't have any money, just time. Here is the exchange I am willing to make and I hope you are to. 'Help Stu Be Like You' is a campaign that I have created." At this point I handed out a small flyer to everyone in the audience. It basically was a 8x6 black and white flyer that I had printed at home on 8-1/2 x 11 sheets and cut down the middle to save on costs.

I began to explain my campaign. "This is what I am willing to do. Anything that you as speakers don't like doing, don't have time to do, or just need an extra pair of hands to do, I will do it. Sales calls, creating sales letters, licking stamps, anything. I will even come to your house and cut your lawn or wipe your baby's bottom if that's what you want me to do. All I'm asking in return is a financial contribution of your choice."

Surveying the audience at this point, I could tell some people's minds were racing with all the odd jobs they could get me to do for cheap.

I said, "I am willing to do whatever you don't like doing in exchange for a financial contribution of your choice, all of which will go towards getting me out to the CAPS national conference."

I finished explaining my campaign and immediately a gentleman at the back of the room stood up. He said, "Stu, I will pay for your entrance fee to the seminar." Just like that, half of my costs were taken care of!

Immediately following that, another gentleman stood up and he said, "Stu, and I will pay for the cost to get you out there." Boom, boom. Eighty-five percent of all of my expenses were taken care of just like that.

That is what being creative can enable you to do.

By asking myself that one creative question, I was able to come up with a creative solution that solved my problem of not being able to get to the national conference. By the time the conference happened all kinds of people had heard about my story and even had a story published about me in the national publication.

Ideas will come to you when you explore the possibilities of creativity!

Until next time!
About the Author
How would you like all your business questions answered by someone who has worked with some of the biggest marketers online today? On top of written and video responses you also get frequent live help. All you have to do is ask for small business support!
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