“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
Mark Twain

Ask a successful person why he is successful, and you could get any number of answers. Some attribute their success to little more than luck. Others might believe that they owe their achievements to their fine education. Still others feel that they owe their good fortune to a helpful mentor or a loved one who encouraged them along the way.

All of these things can contribute to success. But there's one thing that virtually all successful people possess, and that's imagination.

Imagination is not given nearly as much credit as it deserves. In fact, it has often been actively discouraged. Inventors who eventually achieved great success have, in many cases, been ridiculed for their “outlandish” ideas. Kids who doodle or write poetry during class are frequently called out and punished. Admittedly, they should be paying attention, but getting in trouble for expressing themselves can thwart their creativity.

Imagination and Entreprenurism

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
George Bernard Shaw

To the entrepreneurial spirit, it may be hard to fathom that not everyone has ever considered working for himself. But for some, getting a “normal” job is just a fact of life. It's what their parents did, and their parents' parents, and their parents before them. They never even consider striking out on their own.

To simply have the desire to become an entrepreneur requires a certain amount of imagination. You must be able to imagine that it is possible to be your own boss, work your own schedule and set your own rules. And for the idea of entrepreneurism to be more than a fleeting thought, you must be able to imagine that it could work for you.

You also need imagination to come up with an idea for your business. For some, the idea comes first, while others just want the freedom and income potential that entrepreneurism offers and think of a way to obtain it later. Either way, you've got to come up with something that serves a viable target market, and that you will enjoy doing.

Imagination is a trait that most entrepreneurs have plenty of. Some would-be entrepreneurs, however, don't follow their dreams because they fear that they don't have enough of it. They would do well to reconsider that notion. If they had no imagination, they would be following the same path as everyone else!

Imagination in the Day-to-Day Running of Your Business

Unless you have investors with deep pockets backing you, or you're independently wealthy, starting a business requires some degree of frugality. And finding ways to get going and keep going with limited capital is the ultimate exercise in creativity. Even if your business is doing well, imagination can help you increase profits and be more productive.

When you're facing a problem such as high overhead costs, you might wish you could just pull out a book that detailed how other companies have handled such a problem. But even if there were such a book, it probably wouldn't be as helpful as you might think. It might be a good starting point, but each business is unique and requires its own unique solutions. If you put on your thinking cap, you can come up with the right solution for most of the problems you face.

If your employees are lacking motivation, a creative incentive program could help you get them back on track. If your marketing budget is shrinking, creativity can help you get more for less. Imagination can serve you well in every aspect of your business, even the most mundane.

Imagination and Innovation

It's easy to see why inventors, artists and other creative types need imagination. Without it, they can't make plans for their next big invention or paint a masterpiece. Previous works can provide inspiration, but if you want to create something fresh and new, you must dare to imagine.

In the corporate world, imagination might not seem like a top priority. And sadly, it frequently is not. Executives of well established companies sometimes have a tendency to leave well enough alone, relying on their company's good name and market share to keep it profitable. Sometimes, that even works for a while. But as competitors begin to roll out new and improved products, those that don't evolve are left in the dust.

This concept applies to the small business owner just as much as the large corporation. And in many ways, more so. It takes imagination to start a small business, and it takes imagination to keep it going.

In order for a small business to compete with bigger players that are well respected and have a large market share, it must offer something unique. If your competitors are obviously lacking in key areas such as customer service or keeping up with the latest technology, staying ahead of them will be pretty easy. Otherwise, you'll have to get creative.

But using your imagination doesn't mean you can't get input from other sources. It would be great to always be able to come up with winning ideas right off the top of our heads, but it doesn't always work that way. Market research can help you identify some of the things that your potential customers want and need. Or you could exchange ideas with a colleague. Fresh perspectives can help you get those creative juices flowing.

Putting Your Imagination to Use

“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.”
Charles F. Kettering

It makes sense that imagination can help us get a business off the ground, solve problems and stay ahead of the competition. But sometimes it seems that imagination is hard to come by. It happens to even the most creative individuals.

If you find yourself lacking creative energy, there are ways to give yourself a little nudge. Spending time with other imaginative people (fellow business owners, artists, or even your kids) can help bring out your own imagination. If burnout seems to be the problem, taking a break and doing something you enjoy can recharge your creative batteries. But whatever it takes, it's vital to keep your imagination alive and well.

To Your Success!
Jeremy Gislason
SureFireWealth INC

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Author's Bio: 

Jeremy Gislason is an entrepreneur, online business owner and marketer. He is also a philanthropist with over 12 years of offline and online business experience. Discover how to live a happier, healthier and wealthier life with the Mindmap to Riches series of self improvement books, audios and mindmaps at http://www.MindmaptoRiches.com