Been putting everything you have into your startup business, but still struggling to get anything back from it? Been working seven days a week to get it off and running but still feel that it’s slower in the market compared to its rivals? Can’t think of anything else but its success, but can’t think of anything else to do to change its fortunes?

Well maybe it’s time to start thinking creatively — maybe it’s time to broaden your thinking to novel proportions! Here are a few tips to help your small business reach it’s goals and be on its way from start-up to market leader.

Firstly, set yourself strict boundaries and deadlines in order to both keep whatever it is that you offer consistent and to focus your ideas on how you can better them. Too much freedom can be a hindrance as freedom is associated with spare time — and this isn’t spare time, this is work.

Set parameters to focus your ideas; then think about said ideas until you physically can’t think about them any longer. Being strict on yourself when it comes to finding an idea will help you focus on coming across the ones that are right for you.

But once you do have that all-important idea, loosen up on the strictness and don’t lose that creative edge that has already gotten you so far. Now you have a goldmine of an idea, think about it, think about, think about it. And even more importantly: think around it.

If you do, however, find yourself hindered by a loss of creativity as the business side of proceedings takes over, think about ways to work around it. Bold choices that disrupt the status quo and push everything and everybody out of their comfort zones are more likely to induce creativity.

However, it’s not all about the products that are on offer to customers, it’s what they offer back: cold, hard cash (or whatever it is they pay with). Businesses obviously live and die by their income and revenue. If you find yourself in a consistent rut in regards to money, no matter what you are doing, find a way of maximising profit that you may not have come across before.

A perfect example is the 1031 exchange — a legal swap of one business or investment asset for another with no tax. Obviously, this is a very specific type of affair, but the premise is one that can be used as inspiration: finding any way to cut down on outgoings, even if it means doing extensive research in how to work around certain procedures.

You must remember to keep everything above board however, as illegal movement in your bank account will not only kill your business and your reputation as a business owner, but will more than likely land you in jail.

And finally, don’t focus on the end goal too much. Think about maximising today. Focusing on winning can mean you lose everything. Stop it. Focus on losing, for a while at least. And if you have failed, and you know you’ve failed, don’t be afraid to give up the ghost and start again. That’s thinking out of the box too, you know!