Albert Einstein once announced “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”! From Super Bowl commercials to the latest technological products, we live in a world mad for creativity.
Creativity can help your business thrive in times of uncertainty and intense competition. We interviewed Entrepreneur and community leader Jane Skeeter to get her insight on running a successful business that thrives on creativity.
Jane Skeeter is CEO and Founder of UltraGlas, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of designed architectural and high-performance glass and glass tile. A successful entrepreneur for over three decades, Jane has won many awards including The San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s “Women in Business CEO of the Year” and “Business Woman of the Decade.”
How would you define Entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is a way Entrepreneurs think. I see need. People need a product or service. How do I make that the greatest it can be? Where can it go? How can it evolve? How can you make it scalable? Would there be a market for it? And is it good for society? Will it be beneficial? Will it be seen positively? Will it make the world a better place?
And there are different types of Entrepreneurs. Some will just think of ways to get rich quick. That’s not my paradigm. You have to love it.
What are some ways you would advise people to develop themselves professionally and personally to prepare for the challenges of Entrepreneurship?
Believe in yourself and believe that anything is possible. Adversity is how you meet it and deal with it. Things are not a failure. If I try something and it doesn’t work out or I have less than optimum results, it’s not a failure. I tried it, I learned from it and maybe there’s some benefit I’ll reap down the road. Everything you do makes you who you are. Not to have to lick your wounds and put your tail between your legs. What else can I do? Think grandiose and then chew it into little segments one step at a time — have that plan. My goals are always so big and lofty and then I have mini-goals, too, which helps.
If you were to give advice about standing out amongst your competition, what would that be?
I always put myself in another person’s shoes and think, ‘if I were them, what would I be doing differently?’ How can you set yourself apart from your competition? For me, social networking is key. You have a whole new tool, but how do you use it? How do you push it further. You’ve got visuas, you can create a buzz about a business. We get to work on other people’s businesses, so you don’t get stagnant and stale all the time. So it’s a little bit vicarious, we enjoy the fruits of our labor through other people. Many people get to benefit by it.
In terms of our competition, what sets us apart is we pay a lot of attention to detail. It has to be beautiful. We have real competitive advantages. We pay attention to our environment and our sustainable practices. It’s very important for me. Maintaining our planet for generations to come.
Einstein has a quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” are there any activities you partake in to bring out your creativity?
Any kind of physical activity, the more intense, the better. I’m an endorphin junkie. That’s what makes me high, and enables me to think more creatively.
Was there a specific point that you decided you wanted launch a company that thrives on creativity?
I believe that if you do something you are passionate about, make a business that is special, that appeals to people’s emotional and artistic value, chance’s of success are higher.
You have a glass dress in your office that you’ve worn before, where did the idea of creating a glass dress come from?
I was a clothing designer, that’s how I made my business. I made custom designs for individuals. And then when I got interested in glass 40 years ago, to combine both of my loves and my passions would be awesome. And then I heard the glass art society having a glass fashion show. So it was a great opportunity for me and I knew that I would want to do it and I had created the design in my head.
You are active in the community, and very generous with your time helping organizations, how has this helped you thrive in business?
I’ve spent a lot of time in my businesses already and I need to grow and feel like I’m paying back. I do it not for the connections, not for the payback, but because I believe in what I’m doing. The payback to me is the satisfaction that I get of expanding my world. Fulfillment of knowing that I get to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
What were or are the challenges of being a women business owner? If any?
There are challenges just being a business owner. I’d say that many of the challenges of being a woman in business were more significant earlier on, especially in a “man’s business,” which I am still in. Manufacturing, construction, it’s very much a man’s world. I was the only woman in a job site. I got my contractor’s license in the mid-80s. There were no women, and I did my own installations.