It’s no secret that the pandemic has forever changed the way small business owners will think about how they run their businesses and engage with their customers. A recent survey from Adobe of 3,500 small business owners in five global markets found that an overwhelming 87% of small business owners had to get creative with their business to survive the pandemic, and 63% plan to keep the changes they made moving forward.
With effects of the pandemic still continuing to linger, 74% of small business owners acknowledge that they are facing major hindrances to their creativity right now. Since they’ve recently been called on countless times to come up with creative ways to pivot or save their business, it’s no wonder that they feel less creative and are looking for new inspiration.
Here are some ways small business owners can reignite their creative energy to boost their business after a few years of uncertainty.
- Adopt a digital-first mindset.
For many small businesses, the move from a physical presence to virtual only was a tough transition to make in a short amount of time.After close to two years of going digital-first, 55% of small business owners say their online presence is now more critical for the success of their business than their brick-and-mortar location.Online sales are the new normal, and small business owners are at the forefront of redefining the digital marketplace. The dream of “opening up shop” looks very different for today’s small business owner when most storefronts are virtual, but businesses that are all online face many of the same struggles when it comes to creativity.82% of them know that a creative design will help them stand out and drive business, but 45% cite that they don’t have either the time, tools or skills to bring their ideas to life.Products like the new Creative Cloud Express are designed with small business owners, solopreneurs, and side-hustlers in mind. The tool gives entrepreneurs the power to create compelling and distinctive visual content including graphics, flyers, menus, videos, and animations in just a few taps, and the starter plan is free to access.
- Take a break.
Sometimes the only way for small business owners to get the creative juices flowing again is to take some time away from their business.
Time away could look like almost anything, even scrolling through social media. In fact, 48% of small business owners find creative inspiration from what they see on social media, but many still find inspiration in more offline activities like reading (40%), the great outdoors (39%), exercising (36%) or watching TV or movies (33%).
Creativity can come from anywhere, and by looking at what other businesses are doing on social media, small business owners are finding inspiration and ideas that they can apply to their own businesses. In fact, 86% say they get inspired, not discouraged, when they see others in their industry doing well online.
- Improve social skills.
As small business owners increasingly turn to social media to find their inspiration, they also know that keeping up with the myriad of platforms and algorithms comes with its own job description. 59% of small business owners say that improving their social media skills would be the most impactful thing they can do for their business, including 64% of Gen Z and Millennial small business owners.On average, small business owners who use digital marketing say they spend more than nine hours a week thinking creatively about their business, and it’s critical for them to use that precious time resource to its fullest. Sharp social media skills are a must-have with brick and mortar becoming less relevant, and small business owners get a lot out of their time spent online. However, 42% still cite that the most time-consuming aspect of digital and social media is posting and managing their social media channels.
Once inspiration has taken hold and they’ve built out or refreshed their branding, tools like Creative Cloud Express make it easy for small business owners to create templates to reuse so it’s easy to produce consistent content without having to recreate every project from scratch, saving time and money, and making designing beautiful content intuitive, fun and easy.
- Focus on customer engagement.
Every small business owner, whether they’ll admit it or not, has had dreams of going viral online. Seeing orders, likes, and followers pour in after a post happens to catch fire is considered the “holy grail” for some. But by pouring a ton of creative energy into chasing a viral moment, the pressure can be really detrimental to the overall social strategy, and it can actually backfire.By thinking about social media as the new version of a brick-and-mortar store, small business owners are actually finding that their customers can serve as a significant source of inspiration and creativity. Thirty nine percent of small business owners say that their customers provide the most inspiration for how they market their business, coming in just after social media.Interacting with customers and building a community is the key reason most small business owners site for heading online, and 69% of them value customer engagement most when evaluating their online presence.Inspiration can strike anywhere for small business owners, but it can be tough to harness, especially when they already feel tapped out or strapped for resources. It’s vital for small business owners to celebrate that they’ve made it to where they are given these incredible circumstances and take the next steps to relight their creative flame.
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud Express here.