July 30, 2021 | Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

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Business School 101 for Physical Therapy: Harness a Creative Space

The Business School 101 for Physical Therapy series is designed for outpatient therapy business owners and leaders. Over the next several weeks, we will explore concepts and strategies within business operations, marketing, finance, customer knowledge, and more. Of course, it is not meant to replace a traditional MBA, but we hope it will provide helpful insights, tips, or refreshers for growth-minded business novices and veterans alike.

Many people in the business world think creativity is reserved for the arts. But the truth is, it’s essential for any healthy, thriving business.

In particular, it’s a critical ingredient when it comes to the planning process, be it for a marketing campaign, staffing affairs, new care opportunities — you name it. Creativity is the X factor that gives you the edge, allowing you to view situations from additional vantage points, think more strategically, and discover new opportunities when you’re brainstorming new plan ideas.

That’s why creativity and planning should go hand in hand for physical therapy business owners.

But many of us don’t provide ourselves the opportunity to tap into enough creativity during the planning process — an oversight sure to limit its potential. In order to best draft, organize, and implement new planning concepts rapidly, one should have ample access to planning space that provides a setting in which creativity can be easily harnessed. There’s a reason companies like Google and Apple spend so much money creating workspaces that foster creative thinking.

Don’t have a corner office or boardroom with panoramic views? No problem. Try these tips for turning any space into a creative one for you and your team.

Tip 1: Invest in a Whiteboard

Getting ideas out of your head and into a visual realm where they can be evaluated is key. Investing in a good (and large) whiteboard is a great first step toward getting ideas out in the open. The mobility of a whiteboard is also nice, so you can change locations if needed. But if you plan on creating a dedicated creative space, you might consider more permanent whiteboard paint for one of the walls.

Tip 2: Use Windows as Your Canvas

Don’t have the space or cash for a big whiteboard? Buy a pack of wet-erase markers and mark up your windows. Get your ideas out any way you can, then worry about capturing them on paper or electronically. Windows are an often-underutilized planning canvas that you’re sure to already have.

Tip 3: Add Color

There’s a ton of science around colors’ effect on our brains. And plain white walls probably aren’t doing a lot to stimulate your team’s creative headspace. So, consider adding some color to your space, be it through wall paint or furniture. The colors don’t have to be wild and loud. If fact, you don’t want to go so bright that it’s distracting; sometimes less is more. You can use bold colors or ones that instill a sense of zen and calm. Experiment to see what works best for the team.

Tip 4: Get Out of the Office/Home

The office is often not the most creative of spaces for me, and I take a field trip any time rapid creativity is a must. A trip to the local library, going on a run, or even working out of my garage has, at times, been all the change needed in order to get my planning juices flowing.

Tip 5: Create/Use a Sanctuary

Over time, you may find that certain spaces (or activities) have become a sanctuary in which creativity flows naturally. Take note of these subconscious cues and take the path of least resistance by frequenting those places and activities where creativity and concentration require less effort. Note that after a while, your sanctuary may lose its luster. So don’t be afraid to change it up occasionally. Sometimes the stimulus of a new space, even in the same vicinity, is enough to reinvigorate creativity.

These tips are just a few things to consider when looking for or developing your own creative space. Don’t underestimate the power that creativity can bring to your business. Whenever you are planning out big projects or making decisions with many inputs, make sure you and your team have capitalized on creative space.

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