Time to Innovate: Stop Settling for Great and Aim for Phenomenal
Reinvention requires a total mindset and identity shift.
Many times in business, in order to embody something new and improved, you need to let go of what you used to represent. I help many businesses reinvent, differentiate and reposition themselves, all of which require a total mindset and identity shift for the business owner and his or her business.
To maintain its edge, a business must be willing to adapt — and to let go of certain things:
- Products and services. You need to let go of offers that are not aligned with the business’s new identity. I have found this to be one of the hardest things to do because it can feel like a lot of revenue is going to be lost. But in reality, your business will gain a better competitive advantage and much more revenue with your new disruptive product or service offering if you get it right. It’s not that the old products and services aren’t great: They just aren’t the key to your business's innovative future.
- People. As you reinvent your business, it’s very common that you find some of your team members and outsourced experts can’t deliver the quality of work at the new expected level.
- Suppliers. Especially if you sell products, the quality and speed of delivery of your suppliers matter a lot. In order to offer the best to your customers and clients, you have to collaborate with strong suppliers.
- Ways of thinking. You’re playing in a different league now, and you must elevate your thinking to meet the demands of the game. This includes employees too if you aren’t a solo entrepreneur.
Innovate before you hit a plateau
Successful entrepreneurs can lose sight of what’s happening in their business because things just seem to be going so well for them. Oftentimes, it’s because they haven’t been actively gathering ongoing market and customer insights. It’s almost like the way termites creep into your beautiful house: By the time you know it, it’s almost too late.
I specialize in working with coaches, consultants, experts and service-based entrepreneurs. Unlike startups and product-based businesses, the majority of businesses in this space have not integrated or been made aware of the importance of innovation in their business. When there is a lack of innovation, there is a lack of quality. That is exactly the problem we are seeing in the expert business world.
Innovation helps maintain a competitive advantage
Innovation is not just something that is good to have: It is necessary for all types of businesses these days. With competition at an all-time high, it’s not enough to have an average product and service.
Innovation ensures a business can deliver the best quality for its clients and customers. It involves trying new things that might or might not work; therefore, it involves taking a risk. It’s about thinking differently from other people and creating a new disruptive solution. This involves a level of discomfort, and most people will resist it. But innovation allows us to constantly develop our products and services. It allows us to evolve.
Entrepreneurs are constantly busy working in (not on) their businesses. If they don’t set the intention and allocate the resources to innovate, it simply won’t happen by itself.
How to innovate effectively
Effective innovation takes work and careful planning.
Assemble team members to work on innovation. You should have people from different functions within the business. You can even have external experts like innovation coaches and consultants come train your team or facilitate innovation workshops.
Additionally, allocate time for innovating new products and services. If employees are busy working on current projects and serving their clients, they won’t have any energy and brain power left to innovate.
Invest resources in new technology as well.
These strategies can help you to start innovating and differentiating your business today. Innovation is our responsibility as business owners who strive to constantly improve the quality of what we offer and play our part in raising industry standards.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor