Small Business Innovation

Innovation in business is not a new concept. In fact, this is something that has been discussed openly for more than a hundred years. An example is the work of George Hormel, who in 1891 built a meat processing plant outside of his small town in Minnesota. No one had heard of ham in a can, and this eventually became Spam, a canned meat product that achieved an eighteen percent share during its first year on the market. Hormel believed in developing distinctive products instead of imitating big competitors.

Innovation is an ongoing mindset that allows you to look at the world different, focusing on what could be instead of simply what is. The big idea behind this is that everyone has great potential, and it is the innovators that explore every possible situation to make sure the outcome of that situation has been allowed to develop in a way that will benefit the most people.

Ideas are important, but simply thinking of great ideas will never be enough. Instead, it is the implementation of these ideas that separates leaders in business from those who will simply follow what is already being accomplished. An idea is a creative thought, whereas innovation as a business concept goes past creative ideas and thinking and moves fully into creating tangible goods and services that will improve the global marketplace. An innovator’s mind never sleeps as they continue on their path to serve people and solve problems, adding value to the lives and experiences of their fellow man.

Being willing to fail, giving up traditional style thinking, pursuing curiosity and imagination, and stepping outside of your comfort zone are all a part of the process involved in business innovation.

Books On Business Innovation

It is amazing just how much the business innovation books of the 80s and 90s with all the buzz words were from today’s business innovation books, all with newly revised buzz words. And don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking anyone, but as a former entrepreneur, I can tell you, I’ve done my share of innovating, invention, and creating to service our customers, clientele, and consumers. It seems everyone is trying to tell us how things have now changes in “The New Paradigm!”

Well, have they, or are we merely being over-hyped by authors, innovation gurus, and creative coaches these days – all trying to keep from being drowned out from the incessant noise of the next new thing! So, what were my favorite books of the 90s on this topic? Well, I did like; “If It Ain’t Broke, Then Break It” as that was certainly a good one, and there are others like this, it’s a business innovation book, it’s not the best but at the time it was.

Then there was “Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers” also quite good, same era, and yet, I kind of enjoy Guy Kawasaki’s books on such topics much more. He always does a nice job rallying the troops and plugging American Innovation. Guy Kawasaki has quite a few decent books to rev up an entrepreneur, and I kind of like his no BS style, of course from his point-of-view, which I don’t completely agree with, at least not all the time, still he’s definitely been at it for a while, going on 3-decades now.

The question is; where are you in your creative and innovative state within your company, and “where would you like to go today?” as Microsoft’s Bill Gates might say? It’s okay to read some of the older innovation books geared towards business if that’s your style, or you might like the new fast paced high-techie type innovation business books, it really depends what you are looking for?

Some entrepreneurs are looking for “how to” guides on innovating from within, others like to get hyped, jazzed, and rev’ed up, more like a positive self-help type book to keep yourself with the glass half filled? Maybe if you tell me more, I might assist in that, as everyone’s mind works a little different. Some work much better than others indeed, but they all seem to process slightly different. You know what I mean?

We Need More Radio Shows Highlighting Small Business

I think by now everyone knows that for our economy to properly recover and to get job growth really cooking again, we need to start focusing on small business. You see, even though corporations when they do hire, hire people by the hundreds, it is the small companies that hire the most number of people. Some might contend that those jobs are not as good as corporate jobs because they may not come with all the benefits, but if you need a job, and the economy is good, a small business will be glad to have you. Okay so let’s talk about this for second shall we?

Now then, exactly how might we do more to help the situation? Indeed, I don’t believe that offering more small business loans or throwing a bone here and there for smaller companies in government contracting is the answer, oh sure that’s nice, but it’s only a drop in the bucker of what we really need to do. You see, that only helps a limited number of companies, and the vast number of smaller firms out there is astronomical. For instance, prior to retirement I was in the car washing industry, and there was an estimated 96,000 of them in the United States.

We hear a lot of talk from venture capitalists that they need less regulation so they can move new innovations forward faster. That may be so, although new innovation in the marketplace is also somewhat disruptive. However, let’s say for instance that someone developed an easier way to wash cars, a new piece of equipment for a carwash for instance. Well, if that existed then all those 96,000 carwashes would want one, and they would get a faster return on their investments by becoming more efficient, making more money, and therefore, they would hire more people. At least in theory that’s how it works right?

I mean we really are talking about free-market economics here. We need more ways to promote and highlight the smaller companies, innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs that come out with better ways to become more efficient. We have seen some interesting TV shows where they award the best innovator or the best invention with a prize at the end of the show. Those are quite good, but they can only help out perhaps 10 or 20 new inventions or innovations each show. What might be better is to have radio shows highlighting small business innovations.

Think if there were radio shows on every single night in every single market and region with local entrepreneurs, introducing them to the audience, to movers and shakers, corporations that might license those innovations, local venture capitalists, and Angel investors? It seems we just need more of that, and as others small time entrepreneurs see innovators succeeding they too are more apt to go forward and try. That would be a good thing for America, so I am bringing this to your attention. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Business Innovation for Profit Maximization

If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner reading this article, you will learn what is business innovation as well as how to use it to increase your profits. Assuming that making profits is one of the major goal of any business, right? Do not think that innovation is more than successful ideas exploitation. Without innovation new ideas in business would never come up. That is why technology grows ever day. Reason being that the people who came up with technology did not just stop there. They have, up to date, continued doing research on new business ideas that will make the current technology better. Of course, you want your business to be better tomorrow than it is today, is it not?

To know what is business innovation, you have to understand that your main goals should not be just bringing perfect services or products in the market. You need to know some tips to use in business innovation.

  • Come up with a statement stating your company’s strategy vision. The strategies you include here should be understandable to every employee as well as stakeholders. Your business vision should not be written and hidden in your cabinet. Instead it should be known by everyone and shared often, openly and clearly. When your employees know your business vision, they will definitely want to work towards achieving the goals.

  • In some cases, you might find that your business have very innovative employees. Instead of seeing such employees as threats, it is better to support them. The best thing to do is to come up with teams that will help in improving technology. Such employees should not only be supported technically but also financially.

  • Maintain team work and come up with new ones. The truth is that when creative people work in a team, they are able to come up with new ideas. Give employees freedom to work in teams where they will get experience. As a result they will come up with new and efficient systems that will encourage innovation in your business.

  • Organize training and education. Give your employees time to go back to school to advance their career. If possible give the scholarships. Trainings will help your employees get more knowledge on new upcoming technologies. In addition, with training your company will not only develop but it will also grow or expand.

Introducing innovation in your business is advantageous in many ways. Some of them are:

  • Costs reduction
  • Productivity increase
  • Be on the lead of your competitors
  • Improve profitability as well as increase total turnover
  • Brand value improvements
  • Get new relationships and partnerships

You might be wondering what is business innovation and where such ideas come from. Well the ideas come from:

  • Right from your business. Your managers, employees, development work or in-house research can be sources of business innovation
  • From third parties like customers, suppliers, market research, new technology or media reports