It is in creativity that the solutions are found to the incessant issues that arise in the course of building a company. And creativity is all about attitude. To maintain the altitude that keeps a company going, you must work on attitude.

What follows are five steps for forging an attitude that invites creativity into your entrepreneurial pursuits.

1. Find the opportunities, don't wallow in the problems

Transforming problems into opportunities leads to solutions. The problem "We ran out of money " can be restated, for example, as a question that nudges you closer to a solution, such as: "In what ways can we convince a bank to lend us money?" Solutions are apt to arise more frequently when the right questions are posed.

2. Separate idea generation from idea evaluation

The more ideas you have the better. Set aside a time to generate ideas and a completely different time to evaluate each. Don't mix the two, or you may be killing the babies before you know what they might grow up to be... More

3. Change lenses

Now let's get to that evaluating. You must, like the photographer who takes 1,000 shots for the one ideal image for the book jacket or advertisement, compile a broad array of ideas. The more you have, the better your chances for finding just the right one for your company.

However, numbers aren't the whole story. Creativity also involves a practice called "forced association." When evaluating ideas, in other words, a simple technique is to listen to all of them, clear your mind, and then open a dictionary and pick a random word. Think about how that word or its attributes relate to your company's issue, and you will find yourself with a new perspective.

4. Avoid the trap of entrenched thinking

Humans operate 92% on autopilot, and only 8% consciously, even, sadly, those entrepreneurs among us. The challenge is to break from those entrenched patterns so that you don't, subconsciously (or even consciously), eliminate new options. You need to be aware that new patterns exist and that you must make an effort to embrace them.

5. Risk something big

Write a poem about your work. Or paint a picture. Or tell a story. The point is that what might be considered silliness when juxtaposed against the serious job of company building humor, physical activity, or the creative arts might actually work to loosen you up in times of stress.

There is a similarity, after all: it takes a lot of passion to act silly and to create a company. These days, top business schools are teaching the liberal arts, as well as painting, poetry, and improvisation, so that students can better express themselves and experience the differing perspectives that lead to creative thinking. Entrepreneurs would do well to do the same.