Roundpeg wasn’t always an internet marketing firm. We started our existence as a strategic planning company. With this direction, many of the articles and blog posts I wrote in the early days focused on creative thinking, brainstorming, and planning.

I was reading some of those articles recently. As I read,  I realized that much of what I had written for an audience comprised of corporate executives trying to shake up a stodgy culture would be relevant for small business owners looking to shake up their marketing. Here are links to a some of my favorites posts on creative thinking in business, with a few new thoughts.

February, 2008 – Fuel Your Creative Engine  Creativity is a natural ability, but it needs help. Just like your body needs food to fuel your activities, your creativity needs fuel, too. Take the time to Listen More and Talk Less. Spend time with interesting people, ask your customers questions, really listen to the answers, meet new people.

Don’t be afraid to visit Alien Cultures. Meet with business owners who run companies entirely different from yours and look at how they solve operational issues. Look at how they advertise their products and services and don’t be afraid to copy an idea or two.

May, 2009 – The Roundpeg Creative Process – Ever wonder why the company is called Roundpeg? It’s partially because I spent years in corporate, feeling like a square peg in a round hole, and this is where I fit! The rest of the answer is that creative planning is a round process. The five steps outlined in this post start with broad inspiration and work through refining ideas until you have something you an execute and measure.

A good marketing campaign should be developed the same way. Doing the homework upfront to gain a solid understanding of the target audience lays a solid foundation for a lively brainstorm session. Many of the ideas tossed around are unrealistic, but from the very crazy often comes something really fun, and on target. And just as in strategic planning, every marketing campaign should include time to review, reevaluate and start again.

May, 2009 – Turn Off Auto Pilot, Turn On Creative Thinking  Habits are easy, and they help us get through the day. Do them too often, however, and you end up in a rut. Let the ruts get too deep and it is hard to find a new solution to a problem or challenge. Sometimes drastic measures are needed to break out of the rut. This was a theme Allison explored recently in her blog post Blow up Your Blogging Rut. 

The bottom line? All work and no play makes a business owner a very dull person.