Curiosity is the core of any successful small business. The drive to look for new solutions or to simply find out how something works, or why things are the way they are, and can take your company to heights previously unknown. Fortunately, curiosity isn’t something you have to be born with.

Here are 4 ways you can spark that fire:

1. Ask Questions
The heart of any curious person burns with questions. They want to know the who, what, where, and why, of things. If you want to spark your curiosity, ask questions. And don’t stop when you find an answer – explain why the answer is the way it is, and whether or not there are other options. Explore everything related to the question.

It’s also free. Trying to find out why certain best practices are the way they are may not just lead to a greater understanding of your field, but they can generate insight. This insight can lead down other paths that other entrepreneurs may miss entirely.

2. Expand Your Horizons
People are often limited by their contexts. This controls what they can think about and what paths they can see as beneficial. Some companies focus on hiring people from diverse backgrounds to make sure they get maximum value off brainstorming sessions. Immense value can be gleaned from people who have different lines of thinking.

You can do that for yourself by expanding your mental horizons. Travel is a great way to break through those barriers, as experiencing different cultures forces your mind to think differently. Do something new every day. Break the patterns your brain falls into.

3. Learn More Being curious about things is great.
Being curious about things you don’t know about but other people do is still fine, but it’s not an efficient way of doing things. You want your curiosity to lead to as many new things as possible, and the best way to do that is to simply learn more.

Read as much as you can about your industry. Pursue things that interest you to their natural conclusion. It doesn’t even need to be directly related to your work. Even browsing the shelves at your local library light the way to interesting topics. The more you know, the more chances there are for your curiosity and inspiration to spark.

4. Re-Examine Your Plans and Strategies
What keeps many small business owners from being curious can come down to how hard they adhere to their plans. This isn’t inherently a bad thing. Plans keep you grounded and focused, but like many things, it’s possible to take a good idea too far.

When you’re reviewing your plans and strategies, take a moment to question why they are the way they are. Plans are generated using knowledge you had at the time. That knowledge likely has grown and changed since then. Re-examining your plans can spark something in your mind because you know more. This can result in keeping your curiosity alive and stronger plans overall.

5. Embrace What You Don’t Know
Learning, as a whole, isn’t fun. Knowing things is often fun and productive. This has led many small business owners to focus entirely on things they know because it’s a positive experience. If you want your curious spark to stay alive, you must embrace the unknown.

Pay attention to questions and mysteries that you don’t know have a real answer. Exploring the unknown forces your mind to work with as few known quantities as possible. This results in more creative thinking and more curious behaviour, because you can’t rely on things you already know. You’re forced to find things outside the box.

Curiosity can be the difference between merely matching the competition and surpassing them. It’s important to remember that being curious doesn’t mean ignoring best practices, it just means you shouldn’t be married to them. Explore the world and expand your horizons. You’re not going to catch up by doing what everyone else is already doing. Do something new. Be curious.

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