91 Ways How To Get Out Of The Box

Published by Mike Michalowicz (Google+)


Are you stuck in a rut?  Thinking in circles?   If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you need to be able to get out-of-the-box.  And you need to do it fast.   Good news!  There is a solution.  The TPE community shares, 91 tips on how to get your brain innovating again:

1. Think Homeschooling

How To Get Out Of The Box: When I was growing up, I was sure homeschoolers were freaks and weirdos. Now, after homeschooling for 15+ years I travel around the country speaking about homeschooling and have just written a book. Homeschooling is not what I thought it would be. When I get into a business rut, I remember this paradigm. When I remember how much better education is when you have ALL the resources available, it encourages me to try to see what I’m missing in my business. What angle, what resource, what idea could really make things better? Making a habit of out-of-the-box thinking can prepare you to see things in a whole new light.

Thanks To: Alison Moore Smith of Pix2Brix

2. Get Visual Or Get Out!

How To Get Out Of The Box: When I’m struggling with a concept and feel really stuck, I break out the magazines, glue and scissors. I hold a topic in my mind and flip through the magazines ripping out anything that catches my eye. It could be words, pictures, colors, anything. I do this for at least half and hour, and then I cut them cleaner, sort them out on a big piece of paper, and glue them into a collage.
I find the ideas that jump out at me and the way I organize them will give me shinier and newer concepts to work with. I often hang the collage in my office to look at while I’m working on the project.
Getting visual, I like it.

Thanks To: Kim Leatherdale of Happy Couple Expert

3. Listen To Others

How To Get Out Of The Box: Sometimes being too close to your product makes it difficult to see it in a different way. Therefore, it’s important to listen to what others are saying, because they may have a new or different point of view or angle that hadn’t occurred to you.

Thanks To: Katie Danziger of nomie baby

4. Wreck The Routine!

How To Get Out Of The Box: If you find yourself stuck in a cycle, immediately change your routine. Sit at someone else’s desk if you work in an office. Sit outside if you work at home. Move away from the routine to restart your creativity. I like to go for a drive – I go out at lunch every day to force myself to “wreck the routine”. It is too easy to get caught up doing the routine things – when what you should be doing is thinking outside the box on how to grow your business. Get up and move yourself to move your business. Keep moving until you no longer have a routine and then enjoy the business growth and new ideas you will be ready to implement!

Thanks To: Janet Powers of Diva Toolbox

5. Unlocking Your Mind

How To Get Out Of The Box: Change your perspective + process your knowledge & experience = making the ordinary…extraordinary & the unusual…commonplace.

Look at the same thing as everyone else and think something different.

Thanks To: Richard Eley of The Lamplighter Life Coach, Inc

6. Get In The Gap

How To Get Out Of The Box: Ever notice how often your best ideas come to you when you’re totally relaxed, or doing something mellow, like taking a shower, taking a walk, listening to music, sleeping or just vegging? There’s a reason for that. It’s called stillness. We are each creative geniuses. And our creative genius is activated with quiet minds, not busy ones. I have my greatest ideas and most easily discover solutions to problems when I practice a simple meditation called The Gap. It’s actually a form of Trancendental Meditation, where you train your brain to transcend thought. And in that spaciousness or stillness, there is room for creative genius, for outside the box ideation and brilliance. Take time daily, especially when confronted with a unique dilemma, to sit still and quiet the mind. Twenty minutes of getting in the Gap, or the Off position, also activates the immune system, regulates circulation and respiration and is more rejuvenating than 8 hours of R.E.M sleep. Simply sit still, and permit your thoughts to float away like small helium filled balloons. And just keep doing it. You’ll have plenty of thoughts. Simply continue to release them all. And keep a note pad handy. You’ll be surprised at the strokes of genius that present themselves when you create the space for them.

Thanks To: Chris Dorris of Dorris Performance Psychology

7. Stockpile Ideas For The Lean Times

How To Get Out Of The Box: When I get stuck in a rut I look for inspiration from individuals outside my field and also refer to my trusty “Not-Now-List”. Many of my top ideas come when I am too overwhelmed to act on them. When things get slow I look to my list of ideas that I forgot I thought of long ago. Sometimes I even surpise myslef and think “I thought of that?!”. Doing this keeps me fresh and always looking to expand who I serve and keeps my approaches unique!

Thanks To: Sara Lise Raff of Arts Ed Consultant

8. Change Your View!

How To Get Out Of The Box: To get of your own box is always a challenge when we surround ourselves with the same people, the same 4 walls (our office), the same friends, the same TV shows, the same inspirational messages, etc. So in order to get of our own way, I highly recommend getting out of the office. Go to a new place, a fresh place for example: a coffee shop, a park bench, the woods, the ocean, some place that is grounding to you, bring a notebook and a pen and write, brainstorm, write or draw a picture or a mind map of what it is you want to do or change. Write, write, write! You’ll be pleasently surprised!

Thanks To: Lorin Beller Blake of Big Fish Nation/Lorin Beller & Co.

9. Don’t Be A Copycat!

How To Get Out Of The Box: In order to think out of the box, you need to break out of the mentality that “what worked for that company has to work for mine.” I tell my clients that they need to be unique and connect with their target audience in order to get the best ROI. When a client of mine wanted to get their foot in the door of a company, I had them get a three-D chocolate foot and send that with a catchy tag line. You want WOW! You want impact! You only get one first impression. You need to make it count!

Thanks To: Lisa Chalker of Family Affair Distributing Inc.

10. To Get Out Of The Box You Must Throw Pasta Against The Wall Of Ideas!

How To Get Out Of The Box: What I do with clients to discover a new way of doing or thinking is to throw every idea that pops into our head no matter how crazy! Then we look at what we have done before and X that out so we dont repeat what we know is doable already. Next we try every idea out as to what is needed to accomplish, what would be done differently and what would the results be if we did it this way. Usually there is winner in the bunch and the client walks away with a new idea to approach a challenge or issue.

Thanks To: BarBara Whorley of Spotted Zebra Coaching

11. Let Your Subconscious Mind Help You!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Night-time dreams are a wonderful way to let your subconscious mind give you ideas that your brain can’t quite grasp. I “dreamed up” the title to a book I was writing on visualization. Had made lists and lists of potential titles and nothing “clicked,” so before going to sleep I asked my subconscious mind to give me a dream with the title. Wrote the request in my dream notebook. I awoke with the words, “The Law of Attraction and Other Secrets of Visualization” in my mind. That’s the title of the book which sold out of its first printing in less than a year! Keep a dream journal and ask your subconscious mind for help.

Thanks To: Laurel Clark of School of Metaphysics

12. A Change Of Scenery Might Help You Get Out Of The Box!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Thinking outside the box means to think differently, creatively, or from a new perspective. Sometimes in order to think outside the box, you need to move outside of your normal environment. It’s hard at times to come up with new ideas or generate new business when you aren’t willing to get out of your physical comfort zone. Try working in a partner’s office, at a local coffee shop, or even outdoors. You may need a break from regular habits and routines in order to move into new and more profitable territory. Look, listen and observe while in different surroundings. You never know what might get your creative juices flowing!

Thanks To: Angie Meeks of Cherry Heels

13. To Think Outside The Box, Step Outside The Box.

How To Get Out Of The Box: As an entrepreneur we tend to live and breath our enterprises 24×7. And often times, stewing in our own ideas hinders our ability to see other perspectives or think outside the box. Take some time each day (30 minutes to an hour) doing something that is not work related. Go for a run, have drinks with non-business friends, play with your kids, try out a new recipe… Experiencing a new and different activity will help expand your perspective and cleanse your mind.

Thanks To: Sophia Chiang of Qlubb

14. Four Keys To Creativity

How To Get Out Of The Box: If you’re stuck…

Pick up a book, take a class, listen to a CD, but learn something new. Doesn’t matter what it is, or whether it’s connected to your field. Look for the unexpected connections.

Experiment and make mistakes. Explore. Try something unexpected.

Take breaks. Stop and reflect on what you’re doing. The eureka moment comes when least expected.

Be patient. Getting out of the box takes time!

Thanks To: Stephen Balzac of 7 Steps Ahead

15. Be An Outsider To Become An Insider

How To Get Out Of The Box: Don’t fit in stand out! If everyone is talking about numbers and results focus on people and ideas AND then link your outsider ideas to the insider status quo. If you’re looking for a job don’t go looking for jobs with other job hunters but be different and be the person without a gig networking with the people who are gainfully employed. Be the odd one out in the office and be the one who gets noticed and then give the boss the payoff why it means dollars and cents to be different.

Thanks To: David Couper of Transitions Coaching

16. Feeling Boxed In? Break Out And Revive Your Business!

How To Get Out Of The Box: When you’re stuck in a rut, it’s time to expand your parameters. Thinking “outside the box” can be tough, but get creative and flush out the “business as usual” standards. Who says you can’t try new things? Let go of all those presumptions and get back to basics.
Now you’re ready to let the ideas flow. No idea is inconsequential. Write everything down, then weed through ideas to find the ones that make the most sense for your business. The best ideas are simple, unique and sometimes FREE. Go forth and be inspired.

Thanks To: Cortney Gibson of Gibson Newborn Services

17. Start Every Day As If It Were The Last Day Before Vacation

How To Get Out Of The Box: Think about the last time you packed up the car and headed for your favorite travel destination. The day before you left you had to organize your clothes and possibly those of others to fit neatly in a cramped space. You had to make a list and stock up on food and items you’d need while away. You had to pay your bills and take care of things that would happen in your absence such as canceling the mail or newspaper delivery. Think of what you’d accomplish if you experienced everyday with the same strategy, vigor and follow through as the day before you left for vacation.

Thanks To: Mary Lee Gannon of StartingOverNow.com

18. What You Don’t See Is Just As Important As What You Do!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Do something daring! The challenge with my wearable is that you can’t actually see it, but you definitely notice the slimming results. At one point, it became mundane to don a mannequin with a simple reshaping corset – sometimes this even turned potential clients off. While it became very disheartening, I had to come up with a ‘catchy’ way to display my shape wear to get out of a rut. Then at a bridal show I dressed a mannequin very ornately and placed the garment on the OUTSIDE of her bridal wear. Not only did that start conversations – it started an entire list of new clients!

Thanks To: Yolanda Stephen of No Ordinary Rose

19. Laugh Until It Hurts!

How To Get Out Of The Box: I find that my partner and I come up with our best ideas when we are brainstorming without limits. All ideas are tossed out and explored regardless of how crazy the idea might sound initially. At some point in the process we eventually break into laughter because one of the ideas is so off the wall that we can’t help ourselves. We soon discover that the idea that triggered the laugh attack was the catalyst for the next best great idea. Not only that, laughter has great health benefits too!

Thanks To: Katherine Walker of Telion Solutions

20. Stand On The Box

How To Get Out Of The Box: Don’t just think out of the box. Stand on the box.

Imagine yourself standing on that darn box because you have the smarts, intuition and creativity to command your organization to the next level. Imagine yourself surveying the future from the height of that box. Take a long, long distance view. What do you see? What do you hope people will be saying about your organization? In 10 years? In 50?

Now step down from the box, walk over to your desk, sit down, (or stand for those of us ancy entrepreneurs with standup desks), and get to work on your top 1-2 priorities that will bring that decade vision into reality.

It’s not out of the box, it’s on the box. Command your vision. Start thinking bigger. Look for and reach out to the horizon of your success.

Thanks To: Pamela Hawley of UniversalGiving

21. Use Your Passion To Take You Out Of The Box

How To Get Out Of The Box: When you see the economy or your business in choppy waters or even if things are humming along, but not really on fire, that’s the time to light your creative fire and step outside the box. Rather than sitting back, playing it safe, or just getting by, use these times to re-invent yourself. Find what turns you on and you’ll often find it’s what turns your customers on. If your creative juice are flowing, you’ll intuitively re-connect with the fun and exhuberance that is at the heart of any entrepreneurial venture. And consequently, nine times out of ten you will naturally be inspired to come up with fresh new creative ideas.

Thanks To: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks

22. Visit Your Dream

How To Get Out Of The Box: Step out of your box by going inside your dream. When your creativity is blocking your path to success, find your dream. Write down your dream and keep a copy with you at all times. This will allow you to always visit and visualize where you need to be.

Thanks To: Derrick Hayes of WOE Enterprises

23. Step Outside Yourself First

How To Get Out Of The Box: The best way to escape in-the-box, stale thinking is to step outside yourself first. Take a day or maybe even a couple of hours and volunteer your time to a local, worthy organization. The art of giving yourself and your time away unselfishly stirs up ingenuity in fresh, new ways.

Thanks To: Michelle Hill of Winning Proof

24. Winners Never Get Into The Box, They Move Too Fast.

How To Get Out Of The Box: Winners are risk takers,take chances, never take NO for an answer,ASK people for what they need and want, take AIM, take ACTION and MOVE fast So really there is no box that fits them as they are bigger than any box out there.

It is totally up to YOU, you create success so you have to see yourself achieving those goals, forget what you have done in the past as in today’s world its probably not working, be innovative, think of all possibilities and do not be scared to try them, if they don’t work try another one. Don’t let anyone stop you or put you in the Box.

Thanks To: Robbie Motter of Robbie Motter dbaContacts Unlimited

25. Case Studies

How To Get Out Of The Box: Whenever I get stuck in a rut, I stop and take a look at what others are doing. Not necessarily others in my industry either. I do marketing and communications. I look at how other entrepreneurs market themselves or reach the goals I am trying to reach. Then I turn that strategy into a tactic that will work for me and implement it.

I make it a point to feature case studies on my blog from companies doing things that we can all do. Check out some tips at www.consultmyagent.com/blog.

Thanks To: Angie Robert of ConsultMyAgent.com

26. Think Backwards

How To Get Out Of The Box: Begin with the end in mind. Determine what you want, then brainstorm as many solutions by working backwards.

Thanks To: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS

27. Successful Entrepreneurs Don’t Stay In The Box

How To Get Out Of The Box: If you want to learn to think outside the box, you must begin to examine your belief systems. Think of yourself as a plant and the pot you are in as your belief systems. In order to grow larger you must move to a bigger pot.

Thanks To: Wendy Franklin Muhammad of The Authentic You, LLC

28. Your Greatest Gift- A Good Friend

How To Get Out Of The Box: The best way to get out of a box or a rut or a funk in business or otherwise is to have a good friend or network of friends. Having someone who “Gets” you and understands business can be the best sounding board. You never know what can evolve from a casual conversation about your latest “block” or where you want to take your business.

A good friend can be the greatest gift that a person in business can give themselves. Too many times the nature of relationship marketing is undervalued. We’re in a fast-food society where people want results NOW. When relationships are allowed to grow in business, wonderful things can happen.

Thanks To: Maggie Ruch of Advanced Virtual Assistant Services

29. Just Climb Out -

How To Get Out Of The Box: Those of us that are driven to succeed and most TP entrepreneurs are…we tend to get stuck in a rut. We tend to do the same thing, look for the same avenues and wonder why we are not going anywhere.

Here is what has helped me…
1. Keep an open mind
2. Find a mentor that will be honest
3. Continue to learn about your industry
4. Be willing to learn, grow and change
5. Just climb out – travel, go somewhere new – often times a change of scenery will spark new ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Stepping out and trying new things can always be a bit scary but like they always say… “You never know what will happen until you TRY!”

Thanks To: Cheryl Hill of SimplyWorkingFromHome

30. Make The Problem

How To Get Out Of The Box: Ask several adults how one gets to heaven, and the answers will sound similar–some variation on the Golden Rule. Ask a child, though, and the answers might be: “Go to Hell and take a left!” To return to the child-like state of creativity, explore several fanciful What-If questions (“What if elephants could fly?”). List ten consequences of each. (“We’d need a whole new system of air traffic control.”) Then use the What-if question in relation to a problem you or your organization is facing. List possible consequences and choose the most viable.

Thanks To: Marlene Caroselli of Principled Persuasion

31. Industry Swapping

How To Get Out Of The Box: Sometimes when I get in a rut, I look at case studies or read articles to see what marketing communications professionals have done for an industry completed unrelated to mine. It doesn’t matter if it’s applicable to my industry or not; usually it’s enough to spark the idea.

Thanks To: Lee Goldston of Lee Goldston

32. A Child’s Viewpoint

How To Get Out Of The Box: To think outside the box I use a fairly simple technique. I think like a child. I get a big box of crayons and a poster board and draw the problem out in stick figures and word balloons. The psychological changes caused by holding the crayons, the smell and drawing things out rather than looking at numbers or talking helps to reframe the situation.

By looking at it as a child’s puzzle, our minds open up and present us with some very different perspectives and answers.

Crayons are lots of fun too!! and your kids will love helping you draw it out. You get the double bonus of spending time with your kids and helping solve a problem.

Thanks To: Scott Lovingood of The Wealth Squad Inc

33. Stick With Your Gut!

How To Get Out Of The Box: When creating, take some time for silence and listen to your gut. Gut=intuition. It works to feel the “rightness” of heading outside the box! The excitment, glee and joy soon kick in.

Thanks To: Alice Aspen March of The Attention Factor

34. Break The Routine

How To Get Out Of The Box: When you need to think outside the box, you need to literally get out of the box! Go somewhere outside your comfort zone. Disconnect from your routine. Rearrange your life and make yourself uncomfortable. Believe it or not, you’ll start getting a new perspective. You’ll see things from a different direction. Stir it up!

Thanks To: Louis Rosas-Guyon of LouRG.com

35. Going Looney Tunes For Creative Solutions

How To Get Out Of The Box: When I have challenges in business that require innovative thinking, I pop in a video of cartoons that I love (Wiley E. Coyote & Bugs Bunny come to mind) and let my mind wander in the realms of anti-gravity displays and physics defying stunts. By allowing myself the luxury of time in this risk-free imaginary worlds (since you never die no matter how far you fall!), I find my brain starts to see potentials in a new way. If I don’t get inspiration through visual media, I have several favorite science-fiction tales that I read to stir the problem-solving soup.

Thanks To: Janine Bolon of SmartCents, Inc.

36. Think In Someone Else’s Box – Learn To Listen

How To Get Out Of The Box: I accustom myself to listen to others’ ideas, especially when they have succeeded with them. Searching blogs and social media sites and reading about the buzz in your market is a great way to pick up on ideas that are being spoken about. Don’t be afraid to act on new ideas.

For example, when the “Going Green” hype started, I decided that our cell phone business will join as well. Now we recycle cell phones for our customers and save them money. Brings back many repeat and happy buyers.

Thanks To: Shai Atanelov of Unlocked Cell Phones

37. Don’t Jump!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Patience, patience, patience! I get a lot of ideas and want to jump right on executing them so I can move on to the next thing. But, if I hold my horses and wait, even long after I think I should be acting, all the pieces seem to come together and present me with the very best solution — at the right time. It’s a God thing!

Thanks To: Alice Shapiro of Poet’s Tongue

38. Change Your Environment

How To Get Out Of The Box: Stop everything and get a new perspective. Watch an old sit-com that makes you laugh. Sit on the patio and observe the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Spend an hour with a little child. Flip through your favorite magazine. Once you short-circuit the repetition of your every day processes, even with only a small event, the creativity and ingenuity return.

Thanks To: Dale Little of Business Strategist

39. I Get Whacked

How To Get Out Of The Box: I pull out my trusty copy of the bookA Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative.

Thanks To: Harry Liebman of CandyTorahs.com

40. Talk To A Janitor

How To Get Out Of The Box: The best ideas to think “outside the box” is talk to someone outside of your box. I read the story years ago about a hotel that was putting in a maintenance elevator and all of the engineers and company people were discussing the costs of tearing down the ceiling and walls next to the current elevators, potentially costing millions of dollars to install it. The janitor walked by and asked what the problem was and someone told him. After thinking a moment he said to the crowd of experts “You could put one at the end of the hallway because there’s nothing outside to stop you!” Find someone that is completely different than you in demographics, industry, etc, out of YOUR box, to see your problem in a whole new light.

Thanks To: Kevin Cullis of MacGetIT

41. Brainstorm

How To Get Out Of The Box: Try fast and furious brainstorming session with friends or colleagues – any idea is fair game. Let it spin to the wildest possibilities – some of which may not actually be so wild after all. It’s fun and energizing and fearless, which gooses your courage and lets you look through other eyes.

Thanks To: Barbara Hranilovich of Hranilovich Illustration

42. Think Now!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Everyone knows to “Think Big” but how many “Think Now”? Visualize that you have already fully accomplished your major objective. If you are already a $100M business, that implies there is a certain board of directors, a certain executive team, a certain set of clients, and certain banking relationships…the vision is a system of relationships, so keep that thought in mind. Now, assume this is already the case…all is already accomplished, yet look around…the world will look wrong…you will say, “Wait a second…there is a gap between reality and vision!” Stay present to that gap…your limiting thoughts that “I am just a small entrepreneur” will melt away.

Thanks To: Marcos Polanco of Clearshore Management Services

43. Turn Off The Outside Chatter

How To Get Out Of The Box: Meditate. Listen to yourself. Stop doing what everyone else says you should be doing. Ask ‘Why not?’

Thanks To: Zele Avradopoulos of ZOrganize

44. Stay Outside!

How To Get Out Of The Box: I’ve found that the easiest way to think outside the box is to stay outside. It’s that simple. Always start with unusual, untried or unorthodox ideas rather than keeping yourself boxed into the mundane and mediocre, which is why you’re always struggling to get outside. You can begin by defying logic today!

Thanks To: Susan Hawkins of My Wedding Favors

45. The Power Of Your Network

How To Get Out Of The Box: If you feel you are stuck in a rut, look to see if you are spending enough time with the people in your network who challenge and inspire you.rnrnThe right network of people who can and will push you to be more tomorrow than you were yesterday will help you get out of any rut.rnrnThe thing to remember is that you must also be the catalyst that helps others. If you just expect you network to be there for you,… while you are always “too busy” to help others…. your networking efforts will fail.

Thanks To: Thom Singer of Author / Professional Speaker

46. Age Ain’t Nuttin’ But A Number Baby!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Sometimes I get a moment’s pause when I look at pix of other TPE’s. Lots of you in your 20′s, 30′s, 40′s and here I am at 50+. WHOA! How can I compete? Statistics say…. blah, blah–HOLD IT! I am not a stat! While I may have shoes older than some of these folks, I also have a lifetime of education, experience, and a whole other career from which to draw what I need to make this entrepreneurial thing work! Hum, think outside the box–maybe I am at an ADVANTAGE starting later!?! Maybe it’s never to late to start. Just maybe you are the perfect age to turn your bliss into a successful business? Put that box in the recycling pile and go for it!

Thanks To: Sandy Wheeler of Sandy Wheeler Travel Specialties

47. The Voices In Your Head :)

How To Get Out Of The Box: I listen to the crazy, big ideas that pop into my head and I always believe they could happen if I want them to. Then I take ACTION right away. I don’t take days to think about it or write it down to remember to do it later. If you are going to be outside the box you have to move and make quick decisions on the fly.

Thanks To: Sonya VandeKerkhof of Conscious Budget & Debt Reduction, Inc.

48. Take A Walk On The Wild Side

How To Get Out Of The Box: Get your body out of your normal business environment in order to get your mind out of the box–and preferably get it as far from civilization as possible. Take a walk in the woods, paddle on a river, ride a mountain bike or climb up a rock face. Then let your mind wander, free from its usual surroundings and routine, and see where it takes you.

Thanks To: Anna DeBattiste of Tango Training LLC

49. Use The Pencil Grasshopper!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Whenever I get in a “creativity” rut or need to shift my perspective in trying to solve a problem, I use The Pencil creativity exercise. This exercise helps you think of out-of-the-ordinary uses for an ordinary item. Take a pencil in your hand and try to find 100 USES for the pencil. #1-write with it….now you only need to find 99 OTHER uses…GO!

Thanks To: DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design LLC

50. I’m Curious… How Are You Able To Survive In Such A Little Box?

How To Get Out Of The Box: 1. Ask yourself “What would be different a year from now if you could climb out of the box”?

2. Write a list of three things you must do this year to survive. Writing creates the clarity & purpose necessary to fuel your ascent. The sooner you write, the sooner you will have the tools necessary to climb out.

3. Sometimes you need a push. Create a board of “personal advisors” who are willing to impel you. Remember, even baby birds sometimes need a gentle shove from a loved one.

4. Identify your hurdles, and visualize yourself removing them. For every problem, there is a solution. Don’t let something small stand in the way of your success.

5. Timing is everything, don’t try and scramble out of the box in the midst of a raging storm. Watch the weather report, and time your exit.

Thanks To: Cindy Hartigan of Spectra Learning Group

51. Ask The Masses!!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Tip for thinking outside the box: I post a question on Twitter or Facebook. When ask the masses about a problem I that has me stumped, I inevitably get a wide variety of answers that will always lead me in a new and positive direction!

Thanks To: Dawn Veselka of Out of the Blue Delivered

52. Uncertainty Leads To Opportunity Not Failure

How To Get Out Of The Box: Doing nothing is doing something. You may be nervous about making a decision but doing nothing does not bring changes. Uncertainty leads to new opportunities not failure. Look at every new situation that way and find profitable solutions!

Thanks To: Beth Silver of Doubet Consulting

53. Take A Hike, Mike!

How To Get Out Of The Box: As you can see from my photo I pretty much live outside the box. But it wasn’t always that way. I used to work in a cube farm. Talk about being in the box, yikes! Now when I need to free up my thinking I step outside for a walk. (I used to run, but hey, that was a few miles ago!) Walking, running, biking calms the breath, which quiets the mind. When my mind gives me a rest I can more easily drift down to that level of deep inner inspiration. As it turns out the box I am trying to get out of is my own limited and sometimes fretful mind. There is a reason the word ‘inspiration’ means both ‘breath’ and ‘fresh thought’. Try it!

Thanks To: Amanda Lorenzo of Runt Farm

54. Get A Higher Perspective

How To Get Out Of The Box: To see your world differently you must look at it from a new vantage point. Imagine yourself independent and above it all looking down observing the normal processes you go through. Once truly detached, you will be able to notice things that were once obscure. For me, this is thinking outside of the box!

Thanks To: Roger Lollar of Execulon, Inc

55. Take A Walk

How To Get Out Of The Box: Take a walk, look around and consider using elements in your surroundings as catalysts in an out of the box idea. Look at natural and man made items; billboards, bus sides, cereal boxes, postage stamps, amusement rides, the colors in a crayon box, individual words on the cover of a gossip rag, and more to spark an idea. Anything is possible but you have to get out of the box to think out of the box.

Thanks To: Kristi Hughes of Manavista PR

56. Clean House!

How To Get Out Of The Box: When things get stale and you’re stuck in that complacent rut, look at your product or service from a different perspective–put yourself in the client or customer’s shoes. More importantly, get someone else’s perspective (someone you respect, of course). Enhance what works, ditch what doesn’t. Clean house!

Thanks To: Rosa Cays of DETAILED Editing Services

57. Get Out Of The Box!

How To Get Out Of The Box: I find vacation to be the best inspiration. New environment, away from the “day to day” activities of running a business. I always return refreshed with lots of new ideas.

Thanks To: Tracy Coe of Hazelnut Kids – Natural Toys

58. Wallpaper Or Wrapping Paper?

How To Get Out Of The Box: Working from the assumption that there is a box: When you think about your box do you see the wallpaper or the wrapping paper? Wallpaper and you’re inside the box. Wrapping paper and you’re outside the box and also enjoying the ribbon. So I think of the pretty present I would like to see.

Of course, if you see wallpaper, who says you can’t cut windows and doors into the walls and interact with the outside. Sometimes being in the box is good! I’d rather be inside than outside during a plane ride and I can still look out through the windows.

Thanks To: Monica Tombers of Just So!

59. Play Hooky In A Structured Way

How To Get Out Of The Box: Thinking outside of the box requires you to look at the world differently. It’s easier than you think: just do something you normally don’t do. Try golf, meditate, do yoga, taste ethnic food, go bowling – anything other than your normal routine. Be sure to schedule it on your calendar, preferably during work hours so you really feel that you are doing something different. Just by putting yourself outside of your normal environment, you will be surprised at how quickly you see things you don’t normally see.

Thanks To: Raj Khera of MailerMialer

60. Diversify Your Counsel

How To Get Out Of The Box: Create a diverse group of people – men & women, all ages, all ethnicities, all educational backgrounds, all types of careers. Having a fresh pair of eyes on your business and a different perspective can make a world of difference. Like minded support is great, but your most brilliant innovations may come from the person you least expect. Diversify your counsel and hear them out!

Thanks To: Lisa Bell of Life With Inspiration

61. Don’t Orchestrate It. Let Inspiration Come To You.

How To Get Out Of The Box: Okay, I admit that sometimes I look at other creative industries when I’m stuck and need to get outside the box. But mostly I find that inspiration comes to me at unpredictable times, when I’m not particularly seeking it. My advice is to relax and be open and attentive to what’s going on around you. You’d be surprised what can spark outside the box creativity.

Thanks To: Larry Bauer of Bauer Asssociates: Marketing for a New Age

62. Schedule Time To Think Outside The Box

How To Get Out Of The Box: I schedule a certain amount of time each week for my creative thinking to think outside the box. If you don’t have a time scheduled to dedicate to this, your business will have trouble succeeding.

Thanks To: Candi Wingate of Nannies4hire.com

63. What Box? It Doesn’t Exist.

How To Get Out Of The Box: Forget everything you ever heard. Toss it all out. Now, start with a clean mental slate. Ask yourself the same two-word question you’ve heard a zillion times. WHAT IF? This time, answer it! What if you really could do this? What if whatever you were told was wrong? What if you could be the first to do this? What if it really is possible? What if you finally allowed yourself to look for a new way out of the same old problem? What if there wasn’t a box? What if…..? Now, you’re ready to for innovative thinking, or maybe some sponBRAINeous combustion!

Thanks To: Margo Berman of Creative Catalyst Unlock The Block

64. Look At What Everyone Else Is Doing

How To Get Out Of The Box: To get out of a funk or to spice up the offering, entrepreneurs need to look outside of the business at what others are doing and be open to new business ideas. First, check out the offerings by leaders in your industry. Consider how they are positioning or refreshing their offerings. Next, look outside of your industry at companies. This may be companies with similar customers, referral sources, or vendors or simply businesses that you follow and respect. Reflect upon how they are communicating with your audience. Each of these steps helps to open up opportunities to rethink the status quo and test out new ideas.

Thanks To: Michelle Bomberger of Equinox Business Law Group PLLC

65. Act Your Age! Not!

How To Get Out Of The Box: As CEO of a creativity shop, I know that being creative can be one of the hardest facets, but an absolute essential ingredient, for small business success. The secret is to be fearless in your originality by offering customers brand NEW experiences and untapped benefits. My mantra is, “Don’t compete, create!”

Tip: Set aside time to recapture your child-like innocence and imagination –and ask “What if?” Start with one known assumption for every feature or benefit of your product or service (i.e. size, color, texture, time, usage, who your customers are, et al) and make a list of alternatives for each. Be bold and brazen, and don’t be afraid to get inspiration or stimuli from unrelated industries or non-business entities.

Thanks To: Deborah Porter of Creativity Made Fresh

66. Get A Move On!

How To Get Out Of The Box: A great way to re-energize when you’re feeling stuck is to get out of your head and into your body. Do something physical that requires you to “be here now” – no distractions! Ride a horse, practice yoga or a martial art, play jump rope with the kids, put on some music and dance! If you find yourself laughing, so much the better. Release the stress of whatever has you stuck and open yourself up to being in the moment. You’ll return to the business at hand with a fresh perspective that will have those creative juices flowing again.

Thanks To: Kate Fessler of Inspiration4Success

67. Smash The Box And Resurrect A Monument

How To Get Out Of The Box: My personal motto is “I don’t think outside the box I smash it and resurrect monuments.” My best tip is a publicity stunt! Most companies shy away from them because the outcome is unpredictable, but every time, traffic slows down for my business the most outlandish and uncomfortable idea that comes to my mind is the one that I execute the next day.

Thanks To: Felecia Hatcher of Feverish Ice Cream Trucks

68. Jump Start Your Creativity

How To Get Out Of The Box: f you find yourself stuck in your businesses jump start your creativity by:

1.Use meditation, yoga, self hypnosis or some
other modality to tap into your creative
mind.
2.Do the opposite of what you have been doing.
3.Open yourself to the input of others.
4.Brainstorm on new ways to create value for
your market.
5.Be willing to get out of your own way.

Thanks To: Adalia John of Circle of Enlightenment

69. Dancing Toward Insight

How To Get Out Of The Box: Step 1 in the dance to insight, transformation & breakthroughs: understand how logic, thinking, & the connections in our thought process works. Our brains store information in infinite ways. When we learn something the connections in our brain reconfigure, & the universe is different forever. When we think about a problem, our brain looks for existing connections & we arrive at a solution based on our past. Thinking “outside the box” can be informed by the past, but can’t come from the past. Identify & let go of mental maps that hold you back. Then, create new maps. A coach or mentor can support you. Don’t try this while multi-tasking. Set aside time with no distractions. As you build your skills, it will take less time to produce useful insights. Insight without action is no insight at all.

Thanks To: Susan Bender Phelps of Odyssey Mentoring

70. Do Something For Your Business You’ve Never Done Before

How To Get Out Of The Box: We all seem to get into a “Comfort Zone” with doing the same things over and over again for our business. One way to get out of your usual way of thinking is to do something different that others do to market their business but you’re not doing! How about giving a talk to your local Chamber of Commerce? Write an article for a local newspaper or learn to Twitter and do other social networking? It’s challenging. Ultimately though, it helps you to think about different things which you may not have even thought you could do but can bring you much success!

Thanks To: Janet O’Connor of O’Connor Creative

71. A New Perspective Can Spark New Ideas

How To Get Out Of The Box: An effective way to generate new ideas is to look at processes in industries that are completely different from yours. For example, you may be used to running your business in the traditional corporate manner, but by taking a look at how things are done in creative industries, such as music or graphic design, you may gain a new perspective that can spark ideas you can apply at your company.

Thanks To: Raia King of Raia King: Marketing, PR & Writing

72. Want To Start A Business…don’t Until You’re Sure You’re Ready

How To Get Out Of The Box: Before you go there do a skills assessment. Too many times people with corporate experience think they know it all but running and growing a small business is very different from the corporate experience. In that assessment you might also consider what you like to do and what you don’t like to do. Start talking to small business owners and see what keeps them up at night. What would they have done differently? How much capital does it take. Really think it through before you cash out that 401K and find a mentor that is willing to guide you through the process.

Thanks To: Joy Johnson of GrowthMindset

73. Challenge Your Comfort Zone

How To Get Out Of The Box: I never did believe there was only one way to solve a problem. Except driving a car, I have tried to take paths less used. I have been willing to see a bigger picture and risk getting out of my comfort zone. I love to challenge myself with research that would prove or disprove my idea or action. Creative thinking unleashes new potential and confidence, I made and ran a TV ad campaign at the risk of insanity but never had more fun!

Thanks To: Carolyn Bartz of SECRETS OF CAT ATTITUDE REVEALED

74. Meditate Your Way Out Of The Box

How To Get Out Of The Box: Nothing is worse for an entrepreneur then when they hit that wall and the ideas stop flowing. To reconnect to your creative side and start thinking out of the box try this: Meditate! Now for all you “non-touchy feely” types you might be somewhat resistant to this idea. But if you try it you will quickly learn that by taking time to connect with your creative side you are opening yourself up to the powerful energy that can fuel great innovation. And that innovation can open the flood gates to greater wealth. Try it and see; you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks To: Maureen Campaiola of DARE To Be Phenomenal

75. Be Different – Win Big

How To Get Out Of The Box: People often say you have to go with the norm. In fact, so many people just follow others and do the same thing. This only leads to a repeat of the same process, and if the process failed the first time, it will fail again and again.

Why do that. Think differently. Instead of being a follower, be a leader. Do the exact opposite of what others do and you will find your life will have more meaning. When you accomplish a goal, you will know it was because of your own desires, skills, and talents that got you there, not by following someone else.

Thanks To: Harry Husted of ESL-Training

76. Kids Say The Darnest Things!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Ask a kid! Even if the kid is only 5 years old they probably use about 10 times as much imagination and out-of-the box thinking than any of us adult “problem solvers.” I’m not saying bring him to the board meeting but listen to what he has to say. The intention here is not to necessarily follow his advice but rather to start activating your own imagination and sense of possibility.

Thanks To: Kirsten Mahoney of Insight Out Life Coaching

77. Stop Asking Everyone For Advice!

How To Get Out Of The Box: Entrepreneurs often get stuck in a box when they’re drowning in a sea of external feedback and advice. If that’s the case for you, stop asking for other peoples’ input on your business, and start listening to your gut again! As important as outside feedback can be, it’s just as important (if not more so) to listen to what your own intuition is telling you about the course of your business.

Thanks To: Frank Carnevale of Fourward LLC

78. Visualize It!

How To Get Out Of The Box: When I need to think about something from a different direction, my favorite way is to draw it out, especially with someone else around to help bounce ideas back-and-forth. If you’re in the same room, you can use a whiteboard. If you’re not, or if you cannot get together at the same time to brainstorm, use one of the great online (and usually free!) mind mapping tools (search for online mindmapping at Google).

Thanks To: Matt Mansfield of Leverage The Web

79. Look For Problems To Solve

How To Get Out Of The Box: The strategy I use to think “out-side the box” is to always look for problems and think of solutions for those problems. A solution to a problem can be as simple as creating something that will make ones daily work easier or creating a more affordable way of doing something.

Thanks To: Misty Lackie of Go Smart Solutions, LLC

80. Erase That Box Away

How To Get Out Of The Box: Some people are more visual and need to see that box ‘destroyed.’ So when I get ‘stuck in a box,’ I draw a box on a chalk board and then I erase it. Voila! It’s gone. It gets me thinking outside the box.

Thanks To: Lesley Rackowski of Pillowcasegram & Other Things

81. What If There Were No Box

How To Get Out Of The Box: Most folks are scared to “think out of the box” because of the idea of failure. Heck. Forget that. You can’t lose what you don’t have so go for it, try it, think creative and new and how you can be a —yes Purple Cow (thank you Seth Godin)….Just make sure what is new and different equates to what people want or your out-of-the-box will be a losing proposition

Thanks To: Adrian Miller of Adrian Miller Sales Training

82. One Word: Down Dog

How To Get Out Of The Box: Get away from your desk–outdoors if possible–down dog it. On hands and knees, set your knees directly below your hips, hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lift the sit bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins. With a long exhale, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees (don’t lock them!) Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang. Stay there 1-3 minutes concentrating on your breath.

Thanks To: Lynn Hasselberger of myEARTH360.com

83. Don’t Discount Direct Marketing By Mail

How To Get Out Of The Box: You can do all kinds of internet marketing until you are blue in the face, and it can be very effective. But, don’t discount direct marketing, especially if you have a specific type of customer. There are many people that don’t have time to spend a lot of time on the computer, but we all go through the mail.

Thanks To: Michael Jordan of BullyStickDirect.com

84. Mind Map Your Way To A New Path

How To Get Out Of The Box: Regardless of whether you use a piece of notebook paper (toilet paper?!) and a pencil; a piece of Levenger mindmapping paper and wonderful color pencils or pens; or Mindjet’s Mind Manager software…capitalize on the fact that your brain doesn’t organize in a linear fashion. Mindmapping has gotten me out of many thinking ruts.

Thanks To: Meggin McIntosh of Emphasis on Excellence, Inc.

85. Get Yourself Out Of The “box” To Think Out Of The Box!

How To Get Out Of The Box: When you get stuck and it seems like you are running on a treadmill, and your ideas seem to keep running in the same circle like little hamsters, it helps to change your environment. Get out of the office! Stop forcing ideas, and stop feeling guilty about “walking away” for a while. Go for a walk, go for a drive, go to a different coffee shop, do some random “life browsing”, but get out of your physical “box”.

Thanks To: Laura Beken of HandBookLive, Inc

86. Listen To Music You Have Not Heard In Years

How To Get Out Of The Box: If you find that you are getting stuck in a rut and have lost your creativity, pull out the old 8-Track, vinyl, cassette, etc. you have kept (but not listened to in a long time.) Go into a room you do not normally work in and play the music. Enjoy it! Let it take you back to the time. The new scenery and music will be rejuvenating and inspirational.

Note: If you are good at decluttering and don’t have old music, go out to http://www.pandora.com or http://www.blip.fm and play the songs there.

Thanks To: Stephanie Calahan of Calahan Solutions, Inc.

87. Thinking Outside The Web

How To Get Out Of The Box: Sometimes as entrepreneurs get stuck in the rut of free and low-cost advertising online. We plod away with the same ads on the same websites and wonder why our audience doesn’t grow.

Once in a while we need to break out of the norm and find a way to advertise offline. Swap an ad with a magazine for instance or run an inexpensive ad in your local paper. Put some new life into your marketing efforts and draw in a whole new crowd!

Thanks To: Jill Hart of Christian Work at Home Moms

88. Brain Squits

How To Get Out Of The Box: Simply braindumping to a business partner or significant other all silly, simple and crazy ideas for the situation you are looking to find that out of the box solution for. Getting all of the crap and thoughts out of your head and verbalising with someone else gets your thinking on track and promotes conversation on the great ideas vs the other stuff that the three sheets is good for.

Thanks To: Chris Moore of HelpItCrashedAgain.com

89. Connect. Collaborate. Capitalize.

How To Get Out Of The Box: Thinking outside the box is more about stepping back and reframing from your current position and thought patterns. Think what could be and suspend all doubt. Lead with “What if”… Then assemble a team of respected colleagues – include professionals from outside of your industry – and pose the question or challenge and brainstorm for answers. Note: when brainstorming, suspend all judgement and allow free thinking; be sure to have someone designated as facilitator. Narrow to short list and well…take a short walk or a shower… let your subconsconscious do some of the heavy lifting for a while. Just when you’re not thinking about, the creative , nearly perfect, outside the box idea will surface.

Thanks To: Janet Wise of The Collaborative Factor

90. Engage Experts In Other Countries Who’ve Adapted Already

How To Get Out Of The Box: Mobile marketing is a very mature marketing tool in Europe and Asia so engage experts from those regions. It’s been amazing how open companies are in foreign countries to share their experiences and successes. Engage outsiders because most are willing to share valuable information.

Thanks To: Casey McConnell of Qittle

91. Find A Fresh Pair Of Eyes

How To Get Out Of The Box: I like to find someone who knows very little about what I do or how I work and have them look over my websites. I may not like all of the feedback that I get, but at least it gets me thinking about how others see my business. Too often we talk to the same people over and over or the people who only give us positive reinforcement. While there is certainly a place for that, it is just as useful to find people who will be critical and force us to be more creative.

Thanks To: Tricia Meyer of MeyerTech, LLC

Compiled by Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Category: Managing Focus, Marketing Like Mad
Tags: , , , .
  • Pingback: Toilet Paper Entrepreneur: 91 ways to get out of the box « MacGetIT.com: Entrepreneur/Startup using a Mac

  • http://www.irunabiz.com Jeff

    Refuse to accept the existence of a box in the first place.

  • Pingback: Quoted in the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur | The Business Sensei

  • Mike Michalowicz

    @Jeff – Totally agree!

    - Mike

  • http://twitter.com/beckybooks Becky

    Great post- very insightful! Thinking out of the box is something that I am that I have always struggled with- it is just really difficult for me get out of life’s little ruts and move forward. However I do have to say that I have been getting better at over coming this issue- Libby Gill’s latest book, “YOU UNSTUCK: Mastering The New Rules of Risk-Taking in Work & Life,” has been a true inspiration to me and has taught me ways that I can get myself out of life’s ruts and progress. I would just like to say thanks for the great post. I will be saving this site so that I can have it to look back on and study.

  • http://www.wtf.com Mujeeb

    Thinking out of these 91 messages is itself an opposite way to thinking out of box.

    • http://www.ToiletPaperEntrepreneur.com Mike Michalowicz

      @Mujeeb – Thanks!

  • Pingback: How to Get Out of a Creative Rut - CityMax Small Business Website Builder Blog | CityMax Small Business Website Builder Blog

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wilbert-Coco-Capuno/1773148434 Wilbert Coco Capuno

    Amazing! wohooooo! I love it!

    • Anonymous

      :>)

  • Curtis007

    would a trip far, far away to a distant paradice a world away far from the reach of our parell norm here be a good path to stole down to follow towards enlightment, spirituality, inner purpous, and self empowerment. I was thinking that a journey like this would give me a great chance to catalyse all of these things braking down by own mentle barriers, stop being so hard on myself and chill out after anxity and depress and start to not be my won worest enemy and do something for myself brake free escape from reality be myself and on this journey of self discovery i will become step by step inch by inch a better person a greater man a harder worker and a better person for everyone a vibrant postive and strong MAN OF THE WORLD.

    Embarking on this kind of quesk into the obiss im a bit of a risk taker a modern day columbos i dont know whether or not i’ll find my heven on earth tropical iseland paridice or god knows what but what i do know for a fact is that everything is just what i make it i create and i invent the whole world around me no matter what nor who nor how any niggles or narks upset me or agitate me the only thing that matters is what i choose to do about and how i choose to react, i think a human grows & develop becomes he is able to dig deep down inside and find that kind of self persession and self ownership that one great thing that can only be given but never taken impartality – a word i made up! i think ill go down this path and as with in relation all of these things i can rule the world around not the world around me rule me its simple just dont make it any harder then it has to be the future is what you make it and with this kind of information i will be able to get my dream business up and running off the ground and going place so when push comes to shove no matter what im faced with the world will be my outster and everything in it and ill be hovering above it on cloud nine celbrating all my christmases coming at once. i have faith, hope, curiousity and as well as optimism to what i will be able to take from this trip maybe this kind of exsperiance will open my eyes and allow me to see the world in a more productive light but hopes up im only 18 so im not going to let anything stand in my way im ambitious, creative, determind and as a business man I WILL if its the last thing i ever do I WILL become a secess gradually and eventually one step at a time. thanks for reading i hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it, thank you for your time & patiance. Truly tanks