Passionate about innovation? Drive it in your business
“Innovation” is one of those business buzz-words that gets bandied around a lot – but what does innovation truly mean? To be innovative, you must be constantly renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things within your business. This could mean changing your business model and adapting to changes in the current marketplace to deliver more successful products and services; it could mean implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving your existing services. The nature of innovation may seem like common-sense, but being an innovator is easier said than done.
The word “innovation” gets used so much for one simple reason – it is extremely important. Being an innovator in business is the difference between being a follower and a market leader. In many cases, embracing innovation will lead to an increase in turnover, more effective competition, as well as that all important growth in profits.
So, how do you actually go about being innovative in business? The number one rule is not thinking of innovation as an add-on; it should form a central part of your business strategy so that innovation becomes part of every action within an organisation.
In large companies, innovation is often allocated time and budgets for specialist projects such as new product development or implementing extensive research & development strategies. For small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), however, it is not always possible to divert resources to full-time research and development. Does this mean that a smaller company cannot innovate? Absolutely not.
Smaller and medium-sized businesses have an advantage as they can often be more flexible than the big corporates, enabling them to embrace new ideas more readily.
How can your business be more innovative? Here are some actionable tips:
1. Look at your business plan. Is innovation at the heart of it? If not, do something about it. Thinking creatively and acting upon your ideas can help your business compete effectively in the marketplace.
2. You and your staff know your business better than anyone else. Tap into this knowledge – your people may have opinions on the direction your business as well as barriers that could prevent you moving forward. Your staff are often your most valuable asset when looking to innovate, so why not hold a workshop that is dedicated to out-of-the-box innovative business thinking.
3. Communicate with your customers and suppliers. With regular communication, you will be amazed at what ideas will crop up for improving processes, products and services both internally and externally.
4. Conduct an analysis of the market environment, your customer’s wants, and the needs of your competitors. Strong analysis will show areas where you can provide a point of difference and innovate.
5. Make sure you are using all of the resources available to you to drive innovation in your business. Innovating can be a catalyst for the growth and success of your business so leave no stone unturned when it comes to opportunities for innovation
Consumers often see innovation as something that adds value to a company or to its products. After all, would you choose to purchase a product from a company that provides the same product offering as everyone else in the marketplace? Used properly, innovation can be your key to gaining a competitive advantage, particularly in saturated or rapidly shifting markets.
We can implement a plan to drive innovation and help ensure your business makes a positive contribution to your bottom line. Get in touch today to find out how Ascend Twentyone can help your business.