Innovation is a word that we hear often in the
business world… but what does it really mean?
Is it coming up with a new product/service to launch in the market? Or is it an innate creative urge to be different, unique and cutting-edge. Or does it simply mean ‘thinking outside the box’? It’s more likely a combination of all of these things — being unique/creative/different to ultimately enhance your business and what makes it stand out above the competition.
Carol Tice, writer and small business expert at Entrepreneur.com shares some tips to help inspire and promote innovation in your small business or start-up:
– Swim upstream: If everyone in the industry is doing things the same way, how can you capitalize on that and be different? Try to think of a way to offer something that stands out to a customer; find the unmet need and fill it!
– Face your fear of change: It can be a bit scary for a business owner to try something new, but consumers like experiencing new things; it’s fun for a person to try a new flavor of chips or the latest technology — as an entrepreneur, try to look past the fear of change (or failure) and embrace the future by trying something new
– Listen to customer: This sounds like a no-brainer (you may already be monitoring customer reactions through social media or feedback surveys), but if you’re stuck figuring out what to do next or how to stand out, ask your customers; create an e-mail survey or online poll to find out what specific needs a customer has or what type of product/service your company could offer to help solve that need
– Add unusual services: Similar to ‘swimming upstream’ a great way to drive innovation is to add an unusual service — something that is different than your competitors or perhaps even different in your industry
– Get behind your idea: Don’t hesitate to launch your idea and market it at full speed; you never know when your competitors may roll out a similar product/service, so it’s best to let your customer base know first, rather than waiting on a potentially monumental advance!
Innovation is a tricky thing to pinpoint. You may want to start by experimenting and thinking outside the box to help drive innovation on a daily basis. Ask your customers what they want or need. Encourage employees, friends and family to brainstorm about what needs there are in the market, or a service that would set your business apart from the competition. Work on that idea and market it full force to your customer base and see where the innovative process takes you and your business!
Read more about innovation and some examples of how to start thinking outside of the box (and surpass the competition!) online at: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/222881.
How do you promote innovation and inspiration in your small business? Share some tips on how you think outside the box and be unique in the marketplace!
Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!