Ingenuity, The Entrepreneur’s Holy Grail

Ingenuity is one of the greatest assets you can have in business. It’s more important than money, connections, and education put together. Creative ideas and solutions are the Holy Grail of entrepreneurialism, and every great quest requires boatloads of the stuff in order to reach the destination.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines ingenuity as “inventive skill or imagination; cleverness.” It will get you out of a jam. It will help you develop a superstar company. It can make you very rich. (Do you see why I refer to it as a Holy Grail? Good. Just checking.)

Bootstraping entrepreneurs are masters of ingenuity; they’ve got it oozing out of every pore. Want some for yourself? Here’s how you can get it:

1. Launch a Business With Little or No Cash – Necessity is the mother of invention, or as Plato put it, “a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem.” A (temporary) lack of money forces you to come up with brilliant ideas to create, solve problems, market, and build.

Later, when you’re rolling it, you’ll look back on the lean times as the best time of your life. You’ll remember how you came up with freaking fantastic stuff, simply because you had to. And if you’re a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, you’ll do everything you can to keep that spirit going.

2. Minimize Use of Resources – If you only have so much of something and you know you’re going to need more, the only option is to use less. So how will you develop a product or service, staff and market your company, and respond to growth demands with less than other companies in your industry seem to need?

Ingenuity. You’ll figure it out because that’s how us entrepreneurs roll. Utilizing scant resources is your specialty. And if you have plenty of resources, ask yourself how you could get by with less. Chances are good your ideas will be better, smarter, and more cost efficient.

3. Remain Open to Possibilities – Every quest has twists and turns, unexpected obstacles and fiery dragons. If you adhere to a rigid map and timeline, you cut yourself off from alternate routes which may be faster, safer, and frankly, more fun.

We associate money with freedom, but ironically, having plenty of it can cut you off from other possibilities. Always ask yourself, “What would I do if I had no money or resources to pull this off?” Even if you really do have everything you need, the question inspires ingenuity.

No matter how successful you become, always remember where you came from. Like the great knights of Camelot – or Spamalot – you have a calling. Yours is a quest to build a rockin’ business that surpasses your goals.

Stay true to your Immutable Laws and the Holy Grail will always be at your fingertips. (Just don’t drink tequila from it. That’s tacky.)


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