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Creative Business Questions Can Get You Passed A Tight Budget

Jul 16, 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.

The obstacle for many people is getting their business marketed on a tight budget. Being creative can help you get through on a tight budget and by answering some of these creative questions you can learn how to do it.

Ask yourself:

1) How can I

Another creative question starter:

2) Who could assist me with This is a great question. Who could assist me with

How about:

3) Who might exchange for ?

What about this one:

4) Could I do this cheaper? or How would I be able to do this faster? or Could I do it with less effort? or Is there a way to do this for free? That question will really get your creative juices going.

Try and answer this question:

5) How could I substitute 'XYZ' for 'ABC'? How could I substitute 'X' for 'Y'? Or whatever you want to do. What could I substitute for 'XYZ'?

Here's another one that I love. This really puts you in the shoes of unique and different people.

6) If I was so-and-so, how would I 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.

I can confidently say that these questions, as well as others, have allowed my creativity to grow and have opened all kinds of opportunities up to me. The success of my career can be credited to my creative thinking.

Let me give you a small example about how I used this creative way of questioning.

As soon as I graduated University I decided that I wanted to become a professional speaker instead of working within a corporation. My focus was college and high school students, which I still do talks for on occasion, to teach them the importance of creativity. Creativity had helped me rise from being a University failure in my first year to graduating with straight A's, and being names Most outstanding Male. The transformation that occurred between my first and fourth year I owe to learning the skill of creative thinking.

The problem was I didn't know the first thing about being a professional speaker or building a profitable speaking business.

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

I remember going to one of the local chapter meetings and there was one guy there that was doing very well in his speaking career and I asked him, "What do I need to do to get to your level?" And he said, "Well Stu, it's very simple. I'm going to give you three things to do. When you've done all three, then come back to me and I'll give you some more." 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."

So I shelled out the $200 to join the CAPS organization. It was a squeeze for me. In fact, I specifically remember asking if I could put it on payments, which I did. I joined the CAPS organization.

The second thing he said I had to do was, "Get out to the CAPS National Conference." As much as I wanted to go, it was on the other side of Canada, which meant more costs on top of the relatively expensive conference fee. At this point everything was expensive for me as I had no money. To get there I would have to pay for my flight, accommodations and everything else.

It was at this point that I knew I had to start asking myself some creative questions. I knew I didn't have much, but I began looking at what I did have, or could do that perhaps someone else might be interested in.

One thing I that I had at that point was time itself. Because I had just started my speaking business I wasn't speaking very often, so I knew I had some time I could offer.

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 my creative thinking. The largest chapter of CAPS in my province consisted of about 75 people. I went to one of their meetings and asked if I could have 30 seconds in front of them.

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, "With experiencing the national conference, how many of you with your hands up belief that it would be beneficial for somebody with zero experience to go to?" Everyone who had been kept their hands up.

"Great, I am someone who needs to get out to the CAPS national conference because I have zero speaking experience!"

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."

I could see some of them in the audience were just licking their chops thinking, "Oh my goodness. This is awesome. I'm going to get cheap labor."

I finished up by saying, "Whatever you don't like doing I will do, in exchange for an financial contribution of your choice. Everything I make from this campaign will go directly towards getting me out to the CAPS national conference."

As I was finishing up a gentleman in the back of the room stood up. I thought he had a question but instead he said, "Stu, I will take care of your seminar entrance fee." Half of my costs, just like that, were basically taken care of.

Once that gentleman was finished telling me about what he was willing to contribute another gentleman stood up. He said, "Stu, I will take care of getting you out to the seminar." Bang, Bang. In a matter of minutes 85% of my expenses were taken care of.

My friends, it's all about being creative.

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!

Keep your eye out for more!
About the Author
How would you like all your online marketing 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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