One of the ways we accomplished that was to expect the unexpected. Just as the U.S. economy began to slide into a recession, our company was running out of space. The building where we had been located for more than a decade was too small. We needed something bigger.
Conventional wisdom said to stay put. The economy was bleak. It was no time to move. But we knew we had to, if we were going to grow.
We came across a former retail space in a small shopping plaza in the Belden Village district. At first, we thought what anyone would—who in their right mind would put an office and production facility right in the middle of a retail center?
The more we thought about it, however, the more we realized what a great idea it was. The location offered ample space for offices and a production facility. In the area most people would think of as a storefront, we envisioned a meeting place—a think tank and brainstorming area that could accommodate small, one-on-one meetings or large group conferences.
We leased the space, and today that vision is a reality. The first thing you see when you enter Creative Source isn’t a lobby; it’s a room we call the Idea Center. It has dividers, and tables, and chairs. There’s a video monitor and a white board, along with a place to make coffee or put out food.
It’s free to community organizations that need a place to meet. Professional groups have used it for seminars. We also take our clients there for conversations or to brainstorm.
The Idea Center has been a tremendous success for us. Yes, we’ve gained business because of it. More important, however, is that we’ve helped people, and made friends.
It’s also enabled us to give something back to the community. In recent years we’ve assisted several causes and organizations with service projects, and we’ve become active with local organizations like the chamber of commerce, Rotary club, and Toastmasters.
The point is, sometimes you can’t really stand out unless you know what’s out there to begin with. We had a need for more space. So did plenty of organizations in the community. By looking at things a little differently, we helped others even while we helped ourselves. By focusing our attention outside of the business, we improved things on the inside.
Remember the Billy Joel song, “Movin’ Out?” A few years ago we were doing just what the lyrics said—eking out a living and paying Uncle Sam with the overtime. We decided that if that was “moving up,” then we were moving out. So we did. And it’s made all the difference.
Stop by sometime for a cup of coffee, and maybe a dose of inspiration. See for yourself how the Idea Center has changed our business.
More important, ask yourself the question: What big idea could transform yours?
MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source,
a marketing solutions company in Canton, Ohio. Click here to visit them online.