OK, I'm stealing a few great ideas for this one... but hear me out. Besides, my creative writing teacher in college told me that "good poets steal and bad poets borrow."
We all know (and hopefully love) Dave Matthews, but I never understood his philosophy on the relationship between creativity and entrepreneurship until recently. It was after I heard a talk by James Surowiecki about the importance of social media that this realization occurred. He mentioned the circular mill phenomenon among ants and related it to the blogosphere... brilliant.
Ants are not smart individually, but they can achieve great things when the whole colony works together. However, sometimes ants will wander and eventually get lost. If that happens, they're programmed to follow their instinct, which is to do exactly what the ant in front of them is doing. Eventually, all the ants end up marching in a circle, or "circular mill," until they die.
Dave Matthews alludes to this in his song, "Ants Marching," where he says, "No words exchanged, no time to exchange them / and all the little ants are marching / ... / they all do it the same / they all do it the same way," and eventually, "lights down, you up and die."
The metaphor is clear - don't be afraid to be creative and different because it will save you from marching nowhere. Sometimes you have to risk getting out of line or you'll become exhausted doing what everyone else is doing.
I would invite you to take a look at a few of your closest competitors. (If you're a local coffee shop, don't put Starbucks on the list - just the other local shops.) Then, decide who's leading the group - who is constantly coming up with the new ad campaigns, products, designs, or marketing techniques. If you can't pinpoint it, you might all be stuck in a circular mill..... so take a sharp turn to the right. It'll be fun, especially if you keep doing it, because you'll be able to look behind you and see the rest of the ants trying to keep up.