If you have a startup, then innovation is the key to success for you. In the competitive world, it is difficult for small businesses to compete with giants due to lack of resources. As a result, you need to come up with something unique and innovative to sustain and advance as you grow further. However, one innovation is not enough. The competitors will sooner or later imitate your innovation and you may lose on your competitive advantage. Therefore, it is important to innovate on a regularly. But how to innovate regularly? To answer your question, follow the following points.
Follow the Market
If you are unsure of what kind of innovation you require, then you need to follow what’s going on in the market. Do not be complacent with the current procedures and processes. Change is the only constant and sooner or later – things will change. Hence, if there are any changes with respect to the benefits offered by competitor’s products, changes in the payment system or changes in the customer service provided, then you should be quick to adapt these changes. In fact business organizations that are in the technological industry need to be alert about the market as there’s always something new taking place every day. Moreover, if you have multiple branches, then you need to change according to the local market. What is working in one market may not work in another and therefore, startups should act according to the dynamic business environment. This does not mean that you follow every trend rather if you can create a solution to customer needs quickly, then you should do it.
Use Your Customer Base
You cannot have the same product for very long and so you need to keep your customer communication fresh by offering innovative products. Customers are the best source of providing innovative ideas to startups. You can either conduct surveys or make use of your customer base to come up with innovative ideas for your business. Involve your customers in the business development process by taking their feedback, views and suggestions into considerations. You can take help of customers from testing the brand concepts to feature priorities. Consequently, you can understand whether the particular innovation will be acceptable or not. Moreover, customers are loyal to businesses that value and implement their suggestions. Talking to your customers helps in getting some valuable insights that can be implemented in the processes.
Canon EOS, which is a leading brand of DSLR cameras, began with a simple insight that mentioned great photography is not about technology but about inspiration. With this insight, Canon came up with a solution that was EOS Photochains. Photochains was an innovative way for customers to get inspired and spread the word from one photographer to another. Through this unique idea, Canon was able to increase its market share and revenue. The whole campaign has been effectively showcased in a video. The uniqueness about this campaign was that Canon came up with an innovative concept of Photochains and focused on the insight received from customers rather than focusing on the latest technologies that are used in their cameras. Most technological companies focus on marketing by talking about the innovative technologies in their products. Through this example, it shows that you do not always have to talk about the latest advancement in your product but you can be successful if you are innovative in other ways too. Customers can indeed be a great source of being innovative on a constant basis.
Invest in Research and Development Department
Coming up with something innovative is an expensive and a time consuming process. Therefore, ensure that you do have periodic reviews for the R&D department so that you gain something fruitful out of your investment. For startups, it may not be feasible to invest huge amounts, so you can set aside a particular budget every month for the same. You can outsource the R&D to a professional firm and work out the idea for you at affordable costs. This way you won’t have to hire experts and the entire research and development process can be cost-effective.
Get a Fresh Team of Employees
In order to innovative, you need to get ideas from young blood. Therefore, hire youngsters who are up-to-date with market and skilled. Consider choosing individuals who have worked with different organizations in your industry. A diverse group of individuals can be a great source of innovative ideas.
This does not mean you let go of the old employees. Existing employees can be equally fruitful if they are trained and motivated properly. Providing training helps to gain more knowledge and develop new skills which can be useful to building the innovative ideas. Similarly, motivating employees through monetary and non-monetary benefits makes them work towards the best interests of the organization. They perform better and are willing to compete with peers in the industry. As a result, they are always involved in making things better. Thus, the organization benefits in becoming innovative through motivated employees.
Seek Professional Advice
Get in touch with the professional consultants in your particular industry to help you out. Professional consultants can guide you to identify opportunities for your innovative technologies. You can also decide attending seminars and workshops that are based on innovations or which are aligned to your industry. Seminars and workshops for entrepreneurs are conducted by people who are experts in different subjects and so these events can be sources of innovative ideas. The professionals will also share their expertise on other related industries and the new changes adopted by them. These changes can have a significant impact on your industry and so how to tackle these changes and become more innovative are suggested by these professionals. For example, the innovation in mobile phone industry affected other industries like the cameras, watches, CDs, and others. Hence, it is important to know the changes taking place in the other industries as it can prove to be fatal for your business if you do not come up with innovation on a constant basis.
Following these points will help to answer the question on how to innovate. It’s not just about how to innovate but how often you innovate and how good your innovation is. For this purpose, you would need to spend a little more in R&D but the benefits in the form of return on investment will be much higher than your investment. If you do not innovate, then you would always be playing the catching game with your competitors as Steve Jobs rightly said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” So if want to grow your business and gain a competitive advantage in the market, then always try to innovate by talking to customers, encouraging employees and seeking the help of professionals. To get more tips on innovation, get in touch with a resource center in Calgary.Original Source