Have you paid a visit to Planet SARK lately?

No, that’s not a weird, random sci-fi reference, although those of you who’ve met me know that I’m guilty of those from time to time. Planet SARK is a place of growth, renewal, creativity, exhuberance and yes, at times, just plain silliness.

On Planet SARK, there is a magic cottage of creativity where the great and mighty SARK herself goes to bask. A small toolshed that has been remade into a home, an office and yes, a source of inspiration. It is a place free of stress, where dreams grow wild and free, unfettered by the rules of this insignificant thing we call reality.

Unfettered by reality. Know what we used to call people who dared to throw aside the yoke of reality and bravely wander out into a creative new world? Nut jobs. Loonies. Psychopaths.

Daydreamers. Scandalous.

Friday is swiftly coming to a close, with the weekend to follow, so I’m not going to harp on the awesomeness of rejecting this reality. Instead, I’m going to task all you savvy printing and marketing and dreaming people with a mission this weekend.

When you get home tonight, I want you to find your cottage of creativity. It doesn’t have to be an actual cottage, as SARK’s is. Maybe it’s an office. A room. A quiet corner. A spot under a shady tree where you grab your notebook or colored pencils and while away a quiet summer’s afternoon.

Find a spot where you can let reality stop dragging you down and see how far your creativity can soar.

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Thanks to Kathryn over at Research Rockstar I’ve linked up to a lot of great blogs centered around marketing and promoting your business over the past couple of weeks, and as a result I’ve stumble across tons of gems of wisdom I’m dying to share with all of you! I came across one particular gem of wisdom based on a cartoon by Tom Fishburne the other day, however, that absolutely, unquestioningly demanded acknowledgement. It was titled “After the Brainstorm”, and it was all about what really happens when you get a great idea.

Or rather, what doesn’t happen, because real life puts on the breaks. With that in mind, here’s a look at how your company can take its marketing plans from inspiration, to innovation, to implementation.

Inspiration

Are you doomed to be just another gray sock?

This is, unquestionably, the most high-pressure issue when it comes to marketing in today’s high tech society. Why? Because if you’re marketing exactly the same way everyone else is, you’re going to be a gray sock tossed in with a whole bunch of other gray socks swishing and swirling in the media. Sure, someone might eventually step in and sort through all those socks to figure out you’re a different shape and fabric entirely, but by that point most people will have given up and moved on to the next load.

And like laundry, cookie cutter marketing campaigns multiply in dark places.

Inspiration is the first step in making your company stand out in a crowd, and it’s the one most people put the most emphasis on. Fortunately, when you’re surrounded by brainiacs who know the industry inside and out, inspiration is pretty easy to come by. That takes us to the next step…

Innovation

Inspiration is good, but what good is a good idea if you can’t figure out how to make it work for your business? That’s where innovation comes in. You’re excited, you’ve got these great marketing strategies laid out in front of you, you’re the man with the plan who knows where he’s going. Now you have to put that inspiration to work and figure out how you’re going to get there.

That’s where the hard part beings…

Implementation

After 3 days of meetings, brainstorms and agonizing moments of brilliance, you’re ready. The plan is set, you have your list, it’s time to take those intense hours you spent isolated away from the grind of day-to-day living and put them to work for your company. Then, suddenly, something goes horribly, horribly wrong. You spend entire days away from the implementation of your marketing plans, tied up in meetings and the day-to-day operations of your company. The next thing you know, the months have passed you by and you’re still just another sock in the basket. That brilliant moment of inspiration didn’t do you a bit of good.

The hardest part of any business innovation is taking it from concept to reality. It’s easy to get busy being busy and let these new, non-vital operations take a back seat. The question is, what can you do about it? More importantly, what can you do to stop it?

1)      Set aside an hour each day to work on your marketing plans. Lock your office door, turn off your phone, ignore your email, and work on what’s in front of you. Just that hour a day will go a long way toward taking your innovation from inspiration to implementation.

2)      Prioritize. Ever feel like you’re drowning under your to-do list? That’s because it’s really, really easy to start getting tangled up in the little details and lose sight of the big picture. When you write out your to-do list each morning, make sure you remember to prioritize.

3)      Delegate. If you’re the only one responsible for implementation and you get tied up, what do you think is going to happen? Yep. Those great ideas of yours are going to slip right through the cracks. Pull in your team and dole out those tasks accordingly.

Yes, it’s hard work, but anything worth having usually is. Just imagine how great it’s going to be when those great ideas of your hit the presses and business is rolling in faster than you know what to do with it!

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