How Creativity is Ruining Your Business

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What if I told you that creativity can destroy your business? You will probably disagree with me! And I understand…because Creativity has now become the new buzz word for every business and organization out there.

If your company is not at the forefront of creativity you are labelled as slow, behind or out of touch. The buzz is so intense that it has found its way into the minds of emerging entrepreneurs all over the world. But contrary to popular belief creativity ruins businesses

According to creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules and patterns in order to create meaningful new ideas/methods so as to be “original.” And here lies the problem…majority of new business are so engulfed with being original that they replace strong fundamental traditional ideas with unproven but original ideas. While there is nothing wrong with pushing traditional boundaries, what is wrong however is when those ideas are applied in the wrong area! I see this everyday with individuals working to develop the next greatest business idea or plan, instead of implementing basic fundamental ideas that have been proven to work overtime, they ignore it all and replace it with something ORIGINAL, something CREATIVE and 9 out of 10 times, the result is a creative and financial mess. Instead of reaching out to people that have experience in these areas they instead dwell in a state of creative isolation.

For example history has shown that houses with neutral colors (tans and beiges) tend to sell faster and higher. Thus if you are trying to sell your home would you risk painting it another color to challenge the norm or stick with the proven color? I would think the latter. The same thing goes with creating a website. Most successful blog sites have a white primary color because it is easier to read long articles on a light background. Again the decision can’t be clearer. Remember I am not saying to avoid being different, rather I am asking for you to ensure that your urge to be different does not outweigh logic!

When I was working on my websites I wanted it to be different and cutting edge, but more importantly I wanted it to be functional. So I studied highly successful websites and blog sites that closely resembled my vision. With their structures as a basis, I began working on my site to make it unique without ever losing sight of functionality. For majority of my clients that struggle with website design, my one consistent message has always been for them to find a website…not just any website but a highly successful site that they can study. And for them to evolve their design around those sites and then to add slight tweaks to make it original. This practice saves time and eliminates frustration, but most of all it creates a reference point and guide. Some of the sites I studied when working on my site included and to name a few. My site is way suckier than theirs, but contains fundamental similarities and at the end of the day looks different and original.

This concept I am sharing can be applied to many different aspects of business, such as book/article writing. Unless you have the killer imagination of a Stephen King or Journalistic expertise of Malcolm Gladwell…like me you probably struggle with writing a book. My advice is to study several books and find 2-3 that are close to what you envision for your book. This books would serve as an anchor for your final product. The 3 books that I studied when writing my first book where Hugh McLeod’s IGNORE EVERYBODY (best book ever) where I got the idea to add my sketches to my book, Charlie Murphy’s MAKING OF A STAND UP GUY where I got my idea to split my first chapter and Michael Gates Gill HOW STARBUCKS SAVED MY LIFE where I got the idea to add quotes to every chapter and of course where I got an idea for my book title. All 3 books combined created an original product. I could have spent years searching for that magical book that has never been done before, but instead I leveraged existing knowledge and got a product done without losing time or getting too frustrated!

So for your businesses look to seek out an establishment that is doing something similar to you, study what they do that is successful and don’t ignore them because of an urge to prove that you are creative and original. If you are looking to start a magazine, study other successful magazines and find out what they do that make they successful. If you are looking to start a restaurant or bar, study a restaurant or bar that closely reflects what you want your business to be like and seek mentor-ship if possible. Implement their basic fundamental structure and sprinkle a little bit of your own originality

In 2007, on a flight to Germany I randomly got selected for a business class upgrade. I was excited and ecstatic! I had never flown in business class before and had always wondered what it would feel like to fly in so much comfort. There was only one problem! The chair in business class confused me! I tampered furiously with the equipment around me but to no avail I could neither find the food-tray nor the television set. I could have easily asked the many people around me who had flown numerous times on the aircraft, I could have even clicked the resplendent call-attendant-in-need-of-help button! But I was determined to figure it out on my own, as if somehow I would discover a new and unique way to navigate the button controls. Fortunately after several attempts I found a parachute figured out how to open the food tray. Next I discovered the television monitor stored deep in my seats armrest. I had even discovered how to convert my seat from a chair to an almost flat bed…but in the middle of my seat to bed transformation the fasten seat belt sign came on. The plane was about to land! I had figured out everything in business class on my own, but the flight had ended before I could enjoy it.

Millions of business owners across the world are involved in a similar flight expending resources and capital to be different and by the time they figure things out their business journey has failed! Don’t let your search for creativity blind you from the obvious, instead let your search for success guide your business decisions.

Thanks again for reading and don’t forget to leave a comment below. Every comment will get a response.

OFILI is an award winning motivational speaker and life coach, who blogs about life, success and excellence. He is the author of the inspiring memoir HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE and has been featured in magazines and radio stations across the globe including CBS radio. Ofili is currently in Nigeria working on his second book KICK-ASS MARKETING how to knockout the competition without hurting your clients. To get a copy of Ofili’s latest book on success visit



Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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19 comments on “How Creativity is Ruining Your Business

  1. Very educative and interesting article. Thanks for d wonderful advice. The flight example shows d way many people n businesses think and act and end up wasting time; when they can easily ask, learn and move forward quickly with their vision. Great article!

  2. OlaBombShell on said:

    I really love your ability to use your life experiences to illustrate your thesis. (That’s just Golden) I’m expectant and very pleased whenever I read your new articles. Thanks for sharing & keep them coming!

  3. Oziegbe on said:

    another nice piece Ofili. Been in nigeria for some weeks now will be heading back to the states soon. Are you in Nig already? Cheers!!

  4. Augusta on said:

    From your catchy titles to the anecdotal support for your premises, you continue to amaze me. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait for the next installment.

  5. Rashidat on said:

    I really love this piece. It’s refreshingly different. If you are still around by 27th January, please create time to attend Merit Toastmasters meeting which starts 3.30p.m. Venue is GRANGE SCHOOL, Ikeja G.R.A, not far from the Lagos Country Club. I’ll like to show off a brilliant writer and Toastmaster!
    By the way, is there an error in this statement? – According to creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules and patterns in OTHER to create meaningful new ideas/methods so as to be “original.”

    Best Regards,

    • Rashidat,

      Thanks for the comments. I made the “other” to “order” correction. Regarding
      the Toastmasters meeting, I work on the Island so it would be difficult for
      me to get there at that time…but I will sha try =)

  6. Stevenkinne on said:

    Great article, Ofili! I’ve been trying to get a minute to read this ever since it came out, and am glad I finally did. Very very inspiring, thanks! Steve

  7. Another Aspiring Author on said:

    Hi Ofili,
    I just discovered your blog – its awesome! Thanks for all the helpful information.
    I was actually trying to comment on your post,
    for some reason, there’s no option to leave a reply in the comments section.
    So this actually has nothing to do with this post:
    You mentioned in that post that, you found an editor on I was wondering if you had any tips on what to consider in choosing an editor, or someone to design your book cover? Specifically things that you would recommend for a broke 1st-timer who is still in college – I know they aren’t all cut equal.

  8. Yona on said:

    L.O.V.E it!
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I read your book and still read it and offer it as gift to friends. I really like how you combined all three books.
    What attracted me was the tittle, and when I read it , I really enjoy the simplicity and the ease with which I could understand every point raised in each chapters. Maybe because I came across some of those ideas and opinion before, but the artistic way you approach each subjects made them more enjoyable and impact-full.
    Keep up the good job!

  9. Thanks Mr Ofili. Great advice u gave here, very insightful and on point. Sadly I missed ur book review holding today at shoprite surulere. An even I have dream to attend. Please where can I buy hard copy of ur books? Zionzukki.

  10. Pingback: How To Grow Your Influence | StunningWriter

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