There is no formula for success in small business because the business landscape is constantly fluctuating. To sustain success, businesses must adapt alongside this ever-changing state. While decisions can and should be informed by the latest industry and consumer trends, some of the best inspiration can come from places you may not consider. Here are some things within your everyday life to keep in mind when thinking about your next big business decision or campaign:

1. Family and friends 

Part of running a business is learning how to balance work and life. You must be able to separate the demands and stressors that come with being a business owner and allow yourself to engage in meaningful relationships with your family and friends. While work should not be at the forefront of these conversations, having them will provide knowledge and inspiration that can be useful later.

Start reflecting on your interactions, whether it be a family member detailing an unpleasant experience at the grocery store or a friend sharing excitement around a new social media platform they’ve recently joined. These stories provide real-world testimonials in a way that can’t be captured in a research firm’s latest industry or consumer insights report.

Listening to the experience of others can inform and inspire the ultimate idea. During quarantine, I spoke with friends who had grown tired of their daily routines and were reevaluating the career paths they had chosen. This introduced me to a culture shift that would soon be known as “The Great Resignation.” Although these conversations were genuine and separate from work, they allowed me to understand the trend of workers leaving the corporate world to become small business owners, which has been pivotal for The UPS Store franchise network.

2. Multimedia 

You would be surprised how everyday media consumption can inspire your next business move. Digesting media such as television, movies, books, and music can enhance your creativity.

I recommend entrepreneur-focused reality shows for aspiring business owners looking to increase their exposure to like-minded individuals and the creative process behind successful business models. Additionally, science fiction shows in which scripts are not confined to the barriers of reality can often inspire groundbreaking ideas in the business world.

In a world where burnout is more prevalent than ever, media consumption is a great way to find joy in your work. We should fully immerse ourselves in the mediums we enjoy without any pressure of doing it for business. Watching a favorite movie or reading a new book could lead to organic inspiration. The more content you consume, the more information your brain has to reference during creative brainstorms, business proposals, and campaign planning.

3. Change your environment

While routines create structure and comfort, they can lead to a lack of new experiences and complacency. If you repeat the same actions, visit the same places, and talk to the same people, the lack of variety will stifle your creativity. While unintentional, the repetition of experiences trains the brain to think about things in a closed-minded way.

Creating new experiences by changing your environment can inspire a different way of thinking. After spending nearly two years in quarantine, I made it a personal mission to seek out new experiences when the world opened back up. Whether you take a walk at a different time of day, designate a new coffee shop as your day’s remote workspace, branch out from your typical choice of restaurant, or take things a step further by traveling to new countries, the change in environment will have a profound impact. New settings will lead to new observations and introduce new perspectives, which will allow you to think about things differently.

Implementing these techniques will enable you to become an inspired and creative business thinker. The best part of this type of growth is that it’s made possible by simply experiencing life fully. Whether you’re engaging with family and friends, watching television, and reading books, or placing yourself in new environments, these activities do not require you to think about work but will undoubtedly elevate your work performance.