Far too many business owners remain stuck in the tried-and-true ways of doing things. While there is an element of truth behind doing what you know already works, there is also a strong need for innovation.
Innovation is what helps businesses to expand and prosper. It’s at the root of new product creation. It’s behind some of the more profitable operational changes in some businesses. It can also be a great way to broaden income streams coming into the business overall.
Aside from all this, the massive growth in online shopping and e-commerce sites has seen many businesses become truly global. In order to keep up with the competition and maintain an edge in any marketplace, innovation must become a key element to strategic planning.
Of course, there are times when even the best ideas won’t fly. Being innovative is a great start, but those new ideas also must provide a level of value that customers really want.
The key to success is inspiring innovation, whether that be in the running of a comparison site or any other kind of business.Inspiring your employees, and therefore your business, can be hard work. So, how do we do it?
Five tips for inspiring innovation
Ask your customersOne of the best possible sources of innovative new ideas comes directly from your customers. Actually ask them what challenges they need to overcome and how your business can help them do this. Finding ways to solve a customer’s issues can lead to new product creation or new services being offered.
Combine existing offeringsThink about a clever way to combine two existing products or services to create a new package. It’s very possible to create a new package that is more valuable than the individual items you used to put the package together in the first place.
Re-use existing ideasMost new inventions and ideas aren’t actually new. Instead, they’re typically a combination of ideas for repurposing existing products or ideas so they become practical for a new market.
Encourage brainstorming sessionsSet up meetings with other key members of the business to brainstorm ideas and concepts. No idea is ever considered silly in these meetings. This is simply because the seed of an idea has the power to grow into a substantial strategy once its been discussed and the details have been worked out.
Add unusual servicesOffering more than one product or service that isn’t ordinarily available in your industry can be a great way to encourage more sales and higher revenues. For example, right across Australia many petrol service stations now also offer coffee over the counter. Some incorporate completely separate franchises that operate within the station as well, such as Subway franchises.
Give your business a competitive edge
Innovation doesn’t need to be difficult, but you really do need to think about how your new ideas can affect your business overall. After all, trying to increase business by simply reducing your prices isn’t a new idea. Its not even a good idea for many businesses, simply because there will always be someone out there who’s capable of providing the same product or service at a much cheaper price than you can.
Instead, work on ways to increase the amount of value you can offer your customers. This is what will get them coming back to you time and again.