creative synergy

The Power of Creative Synergy

“Synergy.  It’s one of the most overused terms in business, but it’s at the heart of every successful endeavor, and as I look back on the career I’ve jump-started at the Trump Organization, I realize it’s at the heart of everything I’ve done as well,” Ivanka Trump begins in the final chapter of The Trump Card.   Ivanka continues, “So indulge me over these final few pages while I wear out the term a little bit more and offer a prime example of the synergy at play in my own career.”

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Synergy is defined as a mutually advantageous conjunction of distinct elements.  It could also be described as creating a win-win situation.  Sounds cliché, but it is an essential element to reaching epic levels of success.  It is rare any person or business reaches massive heights without the use of synergy.  You may not have the Trump last name going for you, but with a couple of businesses and an open mind, you can find the same synergy.

Begin with your passion.

Past generations have worked their whole lives so they can fund their passion.  The 20-somethings today are doing the exact opposite.  The first business is usually our passion; our second business is a means to pay for that passion. The emerging trend of young entrepreneurs, that I too followed, is to establish our first business in our passion; then utilize a side business for additional income and funding.

Documentary photography is my passion but there isn’t significant money to be made in that arena, particularly starting out.  Rather than settle with undesirable conditions, our generation of business owners have taken action.  Instead of resorting to the life of a poor artist, I am building businesses in my twenties.  These businesses will allow me to become financially free by 30 and spend the rest of my life making photographs.  Every successful business emerges from a passion.  You must be passionate!  Passion cultivates the persistence and positive mental attitude to always look for solutions.

Don’t focus on just one business.

We have multiple talents!  Cultivate these talents.  Build, grow, dream, and create businesses and endeavors based in your talents and strengths.  Barter with other entrepreneurs in areas you are weak.  If web design is the bane of your existence, like it is for me, then barter with a graphic design firm.  This increases your alliances as well as your people capital.  Which, by far, is the most precious resource as an aspiring business builder.

Make money off of your by-products.

This idea first occurred to me while reading ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

“When you make something, you always make something else.  You can’t just make one thing.  Everything has a by-product.  Observant and creative business minds spot these by-products and see opportunities.”

“Henry Ford learned a process for turning wood scraps from the production of Model T’s into charcoal briquettes.  He built a charcoal plant and Ford Charcoal was created (later renamed Kingsford Charcoal).  Today, Kingsford is still the leading manufacturer of charcoal in America.”

What if you could apply the same principle and build an empire out of your companies’ trash?

Always keep your options open.

Multiple streams of income are essential.  When one business isn’t doing well, there are so many benefits to having other entities.  You have a financial safety net.  The ability to shift your focus from one business to another provides a fresh outlook.  The skills cultivated in one trade will polish those in another trade.

Creatively synergize your businesses!

With the ability to reach millions of people through social media, now, more than ever, we can synergize our passion on a global scale.  Always look for ways one entity can benefit or aid another.  People capital is the most valuable resource when synergizing businesses.  What starts out as one entity can grow into an empire as long as you are growing.  Get out of your box and align with those who will create synergy for you and your businesses.

Ivanka Trump concludes her autobiography with these words, “Call it what you will-but I call it synergy.  Everything I’ve done has led directly to what I’m doing, just as everything I’m doing is tied in to what I might do next.  It’s all of a piece, and it’s the same way with my father and brothers-my mother, too, now that she’s off doing her own thing.  After all, we don’t work in a vacuum.  And we don’t live in one, either, which is why I often think the best approach to life and career is to reach for everything that makes sense and hold on to what works.  As guiding principles do, you could do worse.”

Maria Joyner is a business owner, documentary photographer, social media strategist, and recruiter for a Trump organization.  Follow her on Twitter @mariajoyner.