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How Right-Brain Thinking Could Save Your Startup in Times of Crisis

Edward Chang

Edward Chang

Founder at ChangEdwards.com
Edward Chang is an entrepreneur and founder of ChangEdwards.com. Edward is a frequent guest speaker for the Entrepreneurial Podcast Network, eHealth Network and more. Edward also consults for large corporations like LinkedIn’s Advisory Cloud Network and Uwavee.
Edward Chang

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There is no denying that our country is currently in a time of crisis. The spread of COVID-19 is causing the shutdown of non-essential businesses in almost every state. This has launched many company owners into full-on panic mode as they attempt to find a way to keep their business moving forward during this uncertain time. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, who likely cannot survive weeks or even months without bringing in any profit or business.

With approximately 400,000 startups established in the U.S. each year, these businesses are vital to the success of our economy and are not something that we can afford to lose.

While logical left-brain thinking is essential for entrepreneurs, it may not be as useful as creative right-brain thinking during times of crisis. Here is how right-brain thinking could help your startup maneuver through this global pandemic.


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Improves problem-solving skills

One of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can possess is the ability to successfully problem solve. Running your own business means you will encounter countless issues and obstacles; and while most of these are going to be fairly inconsequential problems, some will be bigger than others.

Logical and critical thinking is vital for solving straightforward business problems, but not all business problems are straightforward. Some are completely unexpected, which means that a logical line of thought will not get you very far. However, if you possess the ability to sidestep logic and access the creative right side of your brain, you’ll be able to come up with some creative solutions for your unusual problems.

This ability is now more important than ever before, because this pandemic is unlike anything most entrepreneurs have ever seen before. Unlike a standard recession, which sees jobs and businesses lost over the course of months or even years, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing millions of people to lose their jobs within the short span of a few weeks.

While there isn’t a secret way to provide the answers to every problem, there is a proven way to help get you into a creative problem-solving mindset. You can do this by practicing both divergent and convergent thinking exercises. This involves picking an object in the room before you, then spending a few minutes to write down as many uses for that item as possible. These uses should be fairly creative and “out there” ideas. Then, begin to carefully examine the list of possible uses to determine which ones are the most creative. Take a few of the most creative options and carefully consider which ones are feasible possibilities.

This exercise helps to get you out of the standard thinking loop while still keeping your decision-making rooted in rational thought.



Allows for out of the box thinking

There are certain business tactics that are used by nearly all entrepreneurs because they are proven to work. But when a crisis occurs, you may often find that the normal practices are no longer cutting it.

That’s when you need to be able to come up with possible solutions that are outside of the scope of normal business operations. This is the time to rely on your right-brain thinking to come up with strategies that may be unconventional, but will ultimately help your business get through whatever crisis you are facing.

For example, a left-brain approach would look for the simplest method of getting from point A to point B. But by thinking this way, you wear blinders and ignore the many other paths that may be feasible.

Instead, you’ll want to unlock your right-brain by spending a few minutes coming up with a list of as many questions as possible regarding the certain situation or problem you are facing.

Once you have at least a dozen questions, carefully look them over and try to identify any that provoke a new point of view you had not previously considered. With any luck, this may unlock your ability to see a potential creative solution that you had previously overlooked.

For example, let’s say your business is facing a lack of engagement on Facebook posts. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why aren’t customers liking these posts?
  • What is my average number of likes per post?
  • What are some of my competitor’s Facebook pages doing compared to mine?

This might lead you to consider implementing something creative, like a promotional contest to boost interactions with your followers. Had you sat down and thought solely of “how can I get more people to like this one post,” you may not have come up with creative solutions.

Helps you better understand the actions of your customers or clients

With any startup, there is nothing more important than being able to provide your customers or clients with what they want.

Right-brain thinking is able to help with this because the vast majority of consumers nowadays base about 80 percent of their decisions on emotions rather than logic.

For example, rather than buying a product because it has the best reviews, customers are starting to purchase products that they have a good feeling about, which could be based on nostalgia, transparency, or a dozen other factors. So, trying to develop a plan to address your customers’ needs based on logic isn’t going to get you very far.

Rather than developing a strategy to address your customers’ needs based on logic, try tapping into the creative side of your brain, instead. Ask how you can lean into things like nostalgia and transparency in order to make consumers feel an emotional connection with your company and its products.

Get creative and put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Try to come up with a list of the most common things that customers ask you about your products, services or company overall. Then, try to visualize why these questions are so important and what kind of assurances you would want to receive if you were a customer.


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Crisis promotes creativity

Another big reason why right-brain thinking can help to save your startup during times of crisis is that your ability to be creative actually improves during a crisis.

Now is the time to come up with contingency plans for your business by using the right side of your brain rather than relying on the logical side of your brain. You may be surprised by the solutions your imagination comes up with.

No one was prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak and how it would impact our businesses, not to mention livelihoods. However, if you take the time to be creative and consider possible situations for your business, you can brainstorm a contingency plan. That might include things like taking your entire business online or moving your entire team to remote positions for the immediate future.

Conclusion

There lies opportunity in crisis, and often that opportunity is unlocked through a shift in mindset. While logical, left-brain thinking is essential in entrepreneurship, your creative, right brain will allow you to unlock new ideas. Now is the time to explore it in order to help your startup thrive during troubled times.

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