By its definition “innovation” is something new, an introduction of change. As it applies to business it means changing a part of how you do your business, it might be in sales or operations, it could be changing how you manufacture your products.
It has been our experience as evidenced by our clients that no matter if you are hi-tech or low-tech, a small or medium sized business, you can effectively innovate your business and reap huge benefits.
Where would you start?
You first need to recognize that where you are and what you are doing needs to improve. We typically hear things like, “we need to improve sales”. As a generic statement, we all need to improve sales. But typically we actually need to change something in either what we sell or how we sell it. Maybe your product range is out dated, maybe your market has shifted. Innovation in this situation is about reacting and adapting to the market forces. You may innovate by introducing a new CRM system to your sales team. You might start having your sales team more effectively use mobile technology to maybe place orders while on the road.
Do you even have a strategy in your business? You need to first know where you are going before you know how to get there. You need to develop a plan, a roadmap, a clear vision of where you want to end up. The innovation in this for you and your business might be that you get some business advice to help your business put together a clear plan to go forward.
A lot of businesses invest heavily in R&D to bring new innovative products, to the SME business owner this investment can be off-putting. But there are numerous products in other markets that you can bring in to yours and you don’t need large amounts of money to get them.
Probably the single most overlooked resource for innovation in any business is your employees. For some strange reason, most business owners think that they are the only ones that can come up with new ideas to help innovation in business. The most successful businesses in the world all engage with their employees to encourage new ideas, new thinking, new ways of running their business.