What does it take to grow your creative business?
And what follows once you start that process?
And who else benefits or doesn’t as you grow yourself and your business grows?
Growing your own businesses starts having a seed of a vision to do something only you can bring into the world, mixed together with your own particular view of the world, built up over the years and a culmination of all your experiences to date.
These questions become particularly pertinent when you allow yourselves to re-remember you don’t and your businesses don’t just exist within the space between your ears i.e. your heads.
These thoughts need to become actions to grow your dream into a reality.
So where then do your businesses live once they are out of your heads and in the world?
They live in the communities we live and work in. Be they local, regional, nationally and more increasingly globally spaces thanks to social media etc.
So even if you stay sitting behind the door of your office, beavering away in your head and on your laptops simply stating ‘I don’t do community.’
The truth is you do and we do community, whether we like or not. But what does this mean when you are growing yourselves and your business? How do you/we do this in a way which sustains us and others?
Definitions of community are personal, public and variously wide ranging – the Oxford Dictionary’s version is;
“The people that live in one locality; a group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic,
or other characteristics in common; the public in general; society. Ecology – a group of interdependent animals & plants inhabiting the same region and interacting with each
other through food & relationship.”
Every community has its own unique set of ingredients which gives the flavour to experiences we have when we live, work or visit there.
Communities have a big place in my heart given over the last 20 years I have lived and worked in over 8 deprived inner London boroughs, regenerating Liverpool & Manchester with a stop off in rural Wiltshire to give me another angle on what living in community might mean. I have worked to get myself into the different mindsets and space of the people, organisations and businesses that make up these individual villages, market towns, London Boroughs and re-blossoming regional cities.
I am currently growing my 3rd business and this has really got me into the process of deeply questioning what I want to grow, how and why.
Like gardening people, business and places grow organically with that certain mixture of elements required for them to bloom.
I am more and more drawn to metaphor of how we grow the people, businesses and places in our communities being similar to that of gardening; having recently successfully co-founded Greening Brownfield, an award winning community garden space in Poplar, East London, UK ,
The essential ingredients in the mix
Plenty of light – both our own ability to be light and let our lights shine. And access to sustainable forms of energy to light our offices etc.
Plenty of water – fresh, clean and available to all
Plenty of non-polluted air i.e. the right mixture to grow healthy people
Plenty of healthy earth upon and within which to grow healthy roots/foundations
Plenty of plant food without use of chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants (see air)
Plenty of time to nurture, enjoy the fruits of your labour and share the harvest
Plenty of attention to cut away the dead wood, weed away any sources of potential threat
Seeing it written down makes is seem obvious, and of course it is. Yet how we do & be this on a day to day basis is another thing.
And in the context of setting up and running your business these questions of what and how you will grow the seeds of your mission is more imperative day by day.
“When we place our own individual needs ahead of the broader community we lose our perspective and become ethnocentric. The result is the Three Musketeers mantra in reserve: “All for one and none for all.” Avoiding this deadly pattern requires that we prioritize community as a whole, rather than just ourselves. In doing so we all end up better off.”
Bob Doppelt, The Power of Sustainable Thinking
So how can you grow and sustain your own business yet at the same time grow your own and others communities locally and globally?
Some inspiring examples I have either been part of co-creating or discovering of late are listed below;
Open To Create…
Growing people and communities
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