by Lizl Naude, founder of Lilly Loompa
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results,” someone once said. We are all familiar with the phrase “Out of the box thinking”. According to Wikipedia it is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking.
A few months ago, I wanted to land the business of a particular client. I did my research and visited one of their shops, which is a particular hotspot for tourists…and tourists are my main target market. The next day I emailed the buyer my business profile and left it there.
A few days later I called her to introduce myself and asked if she had read my email. She responded very diplomatically that she is inundated with requests and emails and she hasn’t really had time to read mine. She is understandably busy and I felt like I was losing her interest. I had to think out-of-the-box and I had to do it quickly. At the time I was due to take part in a big trade show the week after. I quickly told her about it and invited her to come and visit me at the show. In fact, I told her to not even read my email, but to come and view my products instead. It was a bold move, and a little cheeky. I gave her the address and the details and we said our goodbyes.
On the third day of the show, two ladies came to my stand and had a look at my products. The one introduced herself…as the same buyer I spoke to a few days earlier! She actually came! I was pleasantly surprised as I almost forgot and I didn’t expect her to accept my invitation! We chatted and she really seemed interested. In fact, she almost immediately agreed to place an order! I handed her a sample of my Toona Can product and she and her assistant buyer left. I am pleased to say, that I landed their business and am now a registered supplier with this company!
In my experience, the most potent killer of creative thinking is fear! It can absolutely choke creativity and I have had to learn to be bold.
Out-of-the-box thinking is a skill that can be learned. I have written down a few thoughts and tips I have learned along the way:
- Whatever you do, don’t ever get in the box!!
- The box is a safe place, but it’s a dark place
- Getting in a box can and will suffocate you…no air circulation. This is symbolic of stagnant and routinely thought patterns
- Being an entrepreneur challenges you to climb out-of-the-box always. The world is full of examples of many successful entrepreneurs who made it to the top by using unconventional methods.
- Be bold – in fact challenge yourself to ask/do the impossible
- Reason is the enemy of creative thinking. Your mind will always try to talk you out of doing things differently.
- Routine chokes creative thinking.
- Once you have decided to leave the box, it lures you back with promises of security and stability. Sometimes we are tempted to go back to the safety of a high paying salary, but at the expense of being unhappy.
- Try to live a debt-free lifestyle so you have more freedom to live your dream and live outside the box!
I have been nurturing my business for over 20 months now. There are days that my plate is so full, that I feel fatigue and uninspired. But no matter how I feel, I have decided to live outside the box! I challenge you to do the same!
Lizl Naude is the founder of Lilly Loompa in South Africa, a company that creates beautiful and usable products made with recycled material. Lilly Loompa's “Rubbish Range” is the result of Lizl's craving to deliver pieces that are completely "green". Lizl is a self-taught designer and initially started designing and making furniture because she couldn’t afford to buy new pieces to furnish her home. She started to scout and source for budget material and quickly realised that most people discard of very usable materials. The company manufactures a variety of products, from storage holders, lamps, to dinner table accessories, among others. All materials are carefully sourced from waste and sustainably reimagined as beautiful, yet purposeful products. Eco-friendly, handcrafted and 100% South African, each Lilly Loompa piece, once trash, is now a meaningful piece of treasure.
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