By: Emma Miller
It’s a fast-paced business world out there where innovation is the name of the game and a powerful tactic that ensures long-term success. After all, if your company is not innovating and reinventing its processes across the board, then you’re falling behind.
Not only are your top competitors constantly trying to discover new opportunities for their product development and marketing teams, but it’s important to note that the consumer market is also searching for novelty in every industry.
This trend begs the need of business leaders to actually lead the innovation process in their companies through employee management, innovative technologies, company culture, and more. Let’s take a look at the five effective tips that will help you drive innovation in your small business.
Build a culture of innovation
It all begins with you creating and encouraging an innovative culture in your company to allow your employees to speak up, bring amazing ideas to the table, and put innovative strategies into effect. Remember, there is no such thing as an idea too bold or too ridiculous, as these words are the essential elements of a thriving innovative culture.
Your employees need to feel free to contribute, and feel like their contribution is acknowledged, appreciated, and taken into consideration. To build this can-do attitude, you will need to break the barrier between management and employees, and emphasize continuous cross-department communication in the form of brainstorming sessions. Put all of your ideas into a digital suggestion box, and then give the winning proposal all of the resources necessary to bring an amazing idea to life.
Surround yourself with innovative employees
The ability to innovate on an existing idea or to invent something completely new might not be an inherent trait, and you might be able to learn it over time, but the fact still stands that you cannot simply ask your employees to be innovative. It doesn’t work that way, some people simply aren’t that creative or are yet to have their creative processes unlocked through training, experience, and time.
What does this mean for you? It means that you need to surround yourself with people whose creative juices are already flowing – you need employees who are good at thinking of innovative ideas and even turning them into reality. With that in mind, go ahead and refine your hiring process to discover people who think differently from the rest of the group, have unordinary hobbies, or nurture inherently creative habits such as reading, writing, and creating in general.
Embrace innovative technology
In the modern business world, there can be no successful innovation without modern technology. From business automation to AI-driven software that can be incorporated into all crucial and menial processes in every department, there are many ways you can spark innovation by bringing technology into the mix. If nothing else, it will give your employees the tools needed to achieve innovative goals.
However, keep in mind that combining evergreen solutions with contemporary tech will allow you to cater to the entirety of the modern market. For example, by combining comprehensive phone systems for small business with digital customer service tools, you can easily address the needs of every type of customer while at the same time streamlining workflow for your agents and creating a more productive work environment. Remember, the traditional has a place in the modern world, so be sure to combine both to spark innovation across the board.
Assemble teams for this purpose
Sometimes your team members are simply so busy managing the hectic daily workload that they don’t have the time or the resources to be creative or innovative. Instead of putting innovation on the backburner until an opportunity presents itself (which it never will), you can allocate some of your resources to create departments and divisions intended for this purpose.
It might seem like a grand investment at first, but opening a new department with a few hand-picked, talented innovators can mean all the difference for the future of your brand. After all, it’s a long-term investment that will produce a high ROI if your team shares their amazing ideas with the rest of the employee collective and strives to work together to bring these projects to life.
Research, monitor, and improve
On a final note, remember that there can only be progress and success through relevant insights. In other words, you need to know exactly how your ideas are faring in the competitive arena, and monitor innovation metrics so that you can derive actionable insights.
These insights will fuel your innovation strategy, and most importantly, they will tell you what works and what you need to scrap completely. Be sure to research the needs of your demographic to discover pain-points, monitor the performance of your proposed solution, and adapt your approach if need be.
Innovation is one of the fundamental pillars of success in the modern business world. If you want to grow your small business efficiently and effectively, you will need to implement these innovation tactics that will set you apart from the competition and build brand awareness in the process.
About the author
Emma Miller is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.