Basics of Business

Innovation can result in either phenomenal success or even a less-that-optimal outcome. The key is to be strategic and tactical when approaching and implementing your innovation plan. If your organization has recently embraced innovation into its business strategy and is now experiencing a darkening atmosphere of crisis amongst the employees, negative impacts on company finances and budget, or being led astray from the mission statements of your organization, step back and reassess your situation. How can you develop business strategies and business models that create growth and success with new and improved business value and better working relationships?

Organizational problems? Concerns? Is business just not quite where you would expect? Whether it has been caused by complex mergers and acquisitions or from restructuring and innovation, research will suggest proven techniques that can work for your organization. Every business encounters periods of peaks and periods of struggle. And through each phase, you try to balance the various pieces of information and advice to ensure that you can mitigate the negative effects of change and jump on the potential opportunities.

Conduct an internal review of your business health. Start with a check-up on the financial health of your organization. Then diagnose risks and opportunities by creating a maximum of ten recommendations. Determine a treatment plan to problems with best practice techniques. Finally plot a wellness program through an ongoing review to ensure your organization maintains its fiscal health and overall growth. Get started on the path to greater profitability, achieve a better ordering of priorities, and manage the chaos of the business innovation transition.

When the time has come for your organization to embrace business innovation, some of you will conduct the process with internal resources. Others will question the independence of their internal group or their ability to do a quality job with their existing work schedules. The second group may also prefer to obtain an independent and seasoned second opinion.

Whichever group you are in, the key is to actually do something. Far too many of you have seen paralysis of analysis as the comments begin months later when nothing was done.

Bottom line? – Risks are what really go wrong when you are not looking: stupid things like bounced checks, losing your best customers or best people when you are blindsided.

Business Innovation As a Manager

If anything, this recession has taught us that new business innovation is critical for the survival of the companies we work for. Business innovation is after all what keeps a company from folding. As a manager, you can do a lot to foster new innovations in your company and keep you off the unemployment line. I would like to present a series of five small articles on what you can do as a manager to come up with new ideas and processes to help keep your company profitable.

Business innovation starts with key leadership. By being a good leader for your team, you have to be pasionate about your work, be optimistic and have a positive outlook, don’t let setbacks affect your positive mindset, be a forward thinker and be driven to affect change, surround yourself with only positive people wherever possible, concentrate on a team culture instead of a ‘me’ culture, resolve problems quickly and above all, learn from your mistakes as well as other peoples mistakes. Leaders who a truly great, share their visions with everyone in their company and don’t keep their innovative thinking in the closet.

You also have to be organized as a company. If your companies culture is one of disorganization, you will fail. Performance management in a downturn is very important too. Innovative companies have a very distinctive culture and that reflects in their recruitment process and they also place a huge amount of importance on training and teaching their staff. By doing so, they empower their employees to become innovative thinkers too, to think outside of the box. In a management role, you can play a huge part in this. You can come up with rewards for their thinking and results. This would also play a huge part in fostering a culture of organization.

Business Innovation

Many of my small business clients believe they have to have some earth shattering, life-changing, superbly unique business idea before they can go into business or implement it into their current business operation. But the truth is you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, you simply have to be smart.

I am not talking ‘Einstein’ smart. There are a few ‘genius ideas’ from incredibly intelligent people out there, but more often than not, new businesses and business ideas are just existing business concepts reworked. Getting good business ideas are easy. Simply find an existing business concept or business idea and figure out if you could do it better, easier, cheaper or give a new angle to the concept to make it uniquely yours.

Even this idea is not new. Sam Walton, founder of the hugely successful Wal-Mart discount chain, was continually in search of innovative ideas and adopting them, continually evolving store and supply chain operations. His goal was to better improve the customer experience and to drive out system inefficiencies and padded costs, to deliver low prices everyday.

After attending an IBM demonstration, Sam could see how this innovation could impact his business, and hired the brightest guy in the room. Sam then set him the task of adapting database concepts to assist in the support of his large-scale operation. This extensive database has also evolved over time and is now at the heart of the Wal-Mart operation.

Many businesses have adapted the hugely successful airline frequent flyer loyalty program to their business to encourage customer loyalty and to boost sales. I have seen this idea successfully used by booksellers, bakers, coffee houses, shoe stores and hairdressers.

I also am continually on the look out for innovation, wherever I may find it. Every time I go shopping or use a service and I find some new business concept, I make myself run through the mental exercise of examining how the innovation could be used or reworked to the benefit of my my current business, or even as a concept for my next business venture. Of course many just don’t fit, but I don’t discard the idea. I write it down and keep it in a card file for future reference.

Why? Because the world evolves, technology advances, trends and social mores are forever changing. What might not be right today, may be perfect tomorrow. I have even reviewed my business innovation ideas and read two ideas, one after the other and merged them. Those two business ideas combined allowed me to deliver to my customers a day faster, at a reduced cost with fewer resources involved. The result – happy customers, happy employees, reduced costs and a better bottom line.

This simple practice can be readily adopted by entrepreneurs everywhere. It is simple, easy and free. It is a practice that can take your business from good to great and help you drive explosive results for your small business. I highly recommend it.

Karen L. Paiyo is an Australian Small Business Counsellor, supporting and nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Asia Pacific Region. Karen empowers small business owners by transferring to them the skills and expertise needed to help them take their business ideas from creative concept to profitable reality, faster and with less risk.

Business Innovation

When it comes to increasing business innovation, every company must first look inside their organization and examine what it does effectively and successfully. They must also look at those things which are in need of improvement. This could be within their general business model or within their products and services.

The best way to determine the areas in which a company needs to grow and improve is to compare them to similar companies in the same area of expertise. This also includes companies that are similar in size and that offer the same types of services or products. By comparing a company in need of innovation to other companies, one can quickly begin to see what other businesses do more successfully and begin to learn how they can, in turn, be more innovative to produce better results.

Learning from the successes and downfalls of other companies is by far one of the most simplistic manners in which a company can go about increasing their own business innovation. This method of achievement is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways in which a company can truly acquire high levels of business success. This should never be confused with copying another company; it is simply a way of looking at something from another point of view.

Companies that choose not to be innovative and choose not to set themselves above their competition, are those companies that never succeed past the first few years. They generally have to close their doors due to a lack of revenue and success because they are unable to change or adapt to their environment and customer requirements.

One way an organization can successfully achieve feedback that can be used to move to a higher level of success is to actually speak directly to their clients. This might sound obvious, but is often overlooked. Most times, a business owner is so wrapped up in their own mind, they have trouble seeing the big picture or hearing things that may not be pleasant. Using test groups of individuals, a company can obtain feedback about their products and services so that they can begin to make improvements or changes that can positively affect their business on all levels.

Companies that fail to heed to the requests of their clients and companies that fail to truly listen to their clients’ needs are those companies that are destined to fail. The old saying that the “customer is always right” has never been more true than it is in this day and age.

If you keep these simple facts and ideas in mind when considering the current condition of your company, you will truly begin to see how important it is for you to be innovative and to make smart business decisions that are always moving your company forward and into the future successfully.

Using Business Innovation

Introducing a new product/service which customers are not yet familiar with, either by pioneering a novel technology or changing the quality of an existing good, could ensure a business a high market share. This is because it is considered an early mover. Companies that employ this strategy are also able to charge high prices in the short term for their products and services, as they recover their capital investment before competitors enter the market.

Organizational restructuring often involves an improvement in internal processes. Changing the way things are done within an organization, could bring about dramatic reductions in costs. New ideas in this form, could involve an elimination of non-value adding activities and improving the efficiency of value-adding activities. The same thinking could be extended to service delivery, where companies can improve their customer interaction and satisfaction by remodeling the channels through which their products reach the end-user. In recent times, many organizations are interacting directly with customers using corporate websites and smart phone applications to sell products, gauge customer satisfaction and promote new products.

Customer value is assumed to increase when a product does what it says it will at prices consumers perceive to be a bargain. The innovative business strategy concerns itself with producing goods that meet identified customer needs, at estimated market prices. Most organizations that pay attention to customer value enjoy the loyalty of satisfied customers making repeat purchases. This often ensures capacity utilization, higher productivity, increased market share and profit maximization.

Improving or replacing existing processes or products could have a positive effect on the level of efficiency attained by an organization and the quality of its end product. An efficient production system usually implies that, there is a drastic reduction in wastes and raw materials used. If a new idea improves the quality of products or services an organization offers, it can opt to differentiate its products, thereby creating a niche market from which it could earn abnormally high profits.

Most organizations can innovate; new ideas can always be employed in majority of companies to improve processes, products and services. There has also been a development of specialist firms that are able to provide professional advice, on how to utilize innovative techniques to achieve super profits. These firms could provide long term solutions for companies that need to continually innovate to survive.

Using business innovation to earn super profits could involve any or a combination of organizational restructuring, introduction of a new or improved product/service, paying attention to customer value and changing the way things are done within an organization to achieve higher levels of efficiency and quality. It is advisable for organizations to seek professional advice when employing innovation as a strategy.