“I told you that would never work……..”! Innovative thinking to bring in profit.
Here is a quote from Richard Branson’s business journey that I think applies well to innovation in smaller businesses:
‘Be creative. Innovate consistently on the little things that the big companies ignore. Little things often make big differences in business.’
It’s a challenging and changing world – if you don’t change, your business might get left behind.
Most businesses whatever size cannot survive and grow just on their history or reputation. Look at Tesco and look at Waitrose! The competition can be creeping up without even being noticed.
Apart from anything else being creative is just more interesting – businesses can loose their freshness and passion by being stuck in a rut – and this comes over to customers and potential customers.
We have seen and heard these barriers to fresh thinking and the asset this can be
- Complacency and comfort zone
Fear – of changing a formula that has become a “tradition” or set in stone – and this can happen pretty quickly even in one man bands!
Complacency and comfort zone thinking – It’s going OK and there aren’t any competitors to the kind of services we offer. There is always competition whether it is direct in the same business sector or potential customers distracted by other things.
Insanity – just keep doing the same thing, working harder and hoping that we get different answers to challenges to profit. For most of us there are 24 hours in the day! Stop and think and get another viewpoint you can trust.
Once you have begun wanting creativity here is something else Richard Branson says:
‘Don’t hesitate to seek external help or advice where need be. Sometimes, it takes an external, emotionally unattached individual to detect your business flaws and render unbiased advice.’
Some simple steps to start innovation moving
- Listen to your customers – talk to them about all kinds of aspects of their business, listen to how they express problems/ hassles/ frustrations. Listen as if you are not trying to sell what you already do for them.
- Consider working in new ways or with new people.
- Watch competitors and think about what you can improve or reshape or offer in a different way from them.
- Think about the customers you do want – and being creative about how you would get them to look at your business service.
- Take time and opportunity to think differently – it does take time but if you are sliding towards insanity, financial loss or breakdown then this has to be worth considering!
- Read a magazine about something you don’t know anything about and play with how what’s in it may apply to your business.
Get some objective views on your ideas – talk to The Real Business Club.
Consider the risks – of not changing. – risks both business and personal.
Don’t be afraid – do the thinking on paper before risking any money!
Keep core values and USPs of skills, knowledge or reputational elements – but adapt services round them in response to the market, technology or customer thoughts.
Practically innovation can be incremental or disruptive and dramatic.
“Incremental” is through tips included here – changing elements of the service or changing how it is delivered.
“Disruptive” is through significant novelty – a totally new service or product that has not existed before.
Realistically most of us are going to be incrementally innovating – but some businesses never move! And we don’t think that is an option these days! Holding your place in the market and expecting loyalty is not so easy these days.
If you want that external objective support then contact The Real Business Club and let’s talk
We have a track record of innovation – starting from the word “go” it’s in our DNA. We do this through the things we have said here and a conversation at most partners meetings. Our innovation has come through tools that Isabel has developed since her MBA where she specialised in Innovation and change.
These growth and coaching tools are available to YOUR BUSINESS! Call us and let’s have a conversation. Of course if you want to catch our eye then here are some suggestions.
- Come to our 5th Birthday networking and have a chat
- Call us at the number to the top right of your screen
- Hire a hot air balloon and fly down the M4 trailing a notice to us.
Our genuine experience and integration of tools and methods helps us with businesses that want to explore how they adapt/ change/ improve/ re position services or products.
The Branson quotes are taken from a very short and punchy web page – well worth a look: