How Playful Is Your Business? The Art Of Playful Business.

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I’d like you to cast your mind back to the playground. Remember what it was like? The joy of discovery, the fun of testing your limits and the freedom of trying out new things. Play is open and free. There is no beginning or end. There are no tests to take and no boxes to tick. Most of all it’s fun, intoxicating and exciting.

The process is the magic

When you play, you take a risk; you are never sure if it will work out or not. It’s joyful and very often painful. How many trips did you make to the ER as a kid. Those scars became war wounds to show off to your friends! The process is the magic.

Starting a business is the same; it’s another game. There are infinite opportunities, infinite ways to fail and infinite ways to succeed.

Building, like play, is revolutionary. You break and remake the world each time. It’s risky. It hurts. And there are no cushions.

When building a company it’s far too easy to become blinkered. Stuck in your own way of doing it right. Instead of being open, you focus inwards and dig in. Your vision has blinded you. It’s your inspiration as well as your curse.

Tunnel vision cuts you off from your creativity. It cuts you off from your customers. It takes them out of the process. It breaks teams and it fractures trust. And it smashes great ideas into smithereens.

Be playful

My advice: Be playful. Share the magic of the process. Start talking to your users from day one. Do it now. Take a risk. Tell the truth and put your hads up if things go wrong. You want to be noticed right? You want people to pick you? You want to play with the cool folks now. Go back to the playground!

Don’t talk tech

Have conversations. Think about the best discussions you’ve ever had and set them as examples for your business. Make sure you bring your business and marketing activities together strategically. Don’t have them look like vegetable soup. Have a plan. Execute this plan daily and review it regularly.

So how playful is your business?

When you’ve built a community that cares about you; you’re onto something special. And you can’t do that by being tunnelled visioned. Don’t go back to blinkered. Make sure to play wrong and invite me to participate. I’ll see you there!

– This post first appeared on Medium.com as my response to the CounterPlay Conference.

Image by Jenny Downing