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

Business Innovation Quasi Purported Experts

It amazes me how many folks are business innovation coaches, consultants, and supposed gurus, many of them have never in their life innovated anything. It’s like where on earth did all these people come from all of a sudden? I’d estimate the number at well over 250,000 people, in the US alone, promoting themselves in this venue. Not long ago, I was contacted by a business innovation coach, offering their services to my company, and also to our think tank which operates online.

And believe me I am all for innovation, so I asked what their credentials were, and they told me they had written two e-books, many articles, and had consulted many clients such as; a few Fortune 500 companies, and many small and medium-size businesses. In fact, they often gave speeches on the topic of innovation, and were working on some CD-ROM videos which they would be selling soon. That’s all well and good, but I was looking for real success stories, and case studies which they were deeply involved with.

In fact, the individual could not produce an example of a patent which came from his innovation skills, or prove that any of the companies he consulted with, actually increased revenues, or came up with smashing new products in the market, that I might’ve heard about. That’s quite interesting for someone who claims to be an expert in business innovation, but it is very troubling that they are putting themselves out there as an expert, when they’ve never done anything in their lives to put them in that category, or with that elite group of entrepreneurs who know how to innovate in business.

Let’s face it we have far too many business innovation quasi purported experts and coaches out there in this field. And if someone cannot substantiate the reality then they don’t know what they are talking about, why would anyone pay them to help them innovate? It would appear to me that there’s a lot of money being wasted on consulting fees, and there are far too many people claiming to be something they are not.

Business innovation comes about by listening to customers, finding new ways to serve them, and solving their problems in the market place. Once you do that you will have more customers, more revenue, better referrals, and it will spread like wildfire word-of-mouth. How can we solve the problems of too many fakers out there? Is my contention that as the economy picks up many of these people will go back to their normal jobs, which is good, because they have no business being an innovation coach. Please consider all this. And be careful out there.

Business Innovation Road Blocks That Stall Business

Many companies fail to identify and develop innovations that could significantly improve the bottom line. I have identified many “road blocks” to innovation – here are several of the most common issues that hold back business innovation.

  1. Lack of Knowledge – Many business leaders lack an understanding of how innovation can improve their business. These individuals often believe that innovation is too expensive or is not appropriate for their company. In truth, innovation can have a positive impact on any business – regardless of size, industry or location. Learning how to implement a system for identifying innovations is a first step to eliminating this road block.
  2. Fear of Change – I also call this the “We have always done it this way” syndrome. This is a common road block in many companies. Employees (including managers and company executives) are afraid to change “the system”. This is especially true when dealing with internal procedures, even though innovative thinking can reduce operating expenses and streamline those procedures. This road block can be overcome by understanding a simple approach to evaluating internal procedures, and seeing examples of simple changes to business procedures that made a dramatic impact on the company.
  3. “What do I know about this?” Syndrome – This obstacle also comes from a lack of understanding of the innovation process. People mistakenly believe that they must be experts in a particular area or have some special training to identify innovations. But, there are countless examples of individuals who come up with great innovations outside their “area of expertise”. Children can identify creative ideas when given the proper environment to develop and express those ideas. Often, individuals who are in different departments of a company come up with great ideas, partly because they approach solutions to problems in a “fresh” way – without being limited by the knowledge of how that department operates. I’ve been in many brainstorming meetings where someone from a different department makes a casual remark “Why don’t you just…”. To them, it seemed trivial, but the people working in the department had never considered that option because it was quite different from their current systems or procedures. Encouraging people to share ideas outside their current job function can produce valuable innovations for any business.

Make an effort to learn about innovation and implement a strategy to identify innovations throughout your business. Once you overcome the road blocks discussed above, your business can begin to harness the power of innovation.

The Importance of Business

Innovation and creativity both play a very important role in the success of a business. Through the use of innovative ideas, business processes can be improved, efficiency can be increased, new products can be developed, and profitability can skyrocket. Companies need to continually encourage an environment of innovation, even if it means investing in it during difficult economic times. By doing so, they will be assured of being in a competitive position when the economy improves. The business world is highly competitive, making innovative ideas more important than ever before.

Advantages of an Innovative Environment

Innovative ideas can be useful to a company in a wide variety of ways. In some cases, productivity may be improved, which can help a company lower costs and become more competitive. Relationships and partnerships with other companies, customers, suppliers and sometimes even indirect competitors can often be improved through innovation. Companies also frequently find new ways to promote and more effectively advance their brand. In some cases, an innovative idea might represent the introduction of an entirely new product or service. However, in many other cases, it might simply mean a series of small changes that over time improve the way a company does business. Either way, companies that seek out and encourage business innovation are in a much better position to compete and prosper.

Lack of Business Innovation

Just as there are distinct advantages for companies who foster an innovative environment, there are also distinct dangers for companies who do not. In many cases, a lack of innovation can cause a company to lose market shares to its competitors. Efficiency and productivity can suffer, often resulting in reduced profit margins. These companies also risk a loss of personnel, ranging from key staff members right down to the basic workforce. In a worst-case scenario, businesses have even been known to go out of business due to a lack of innovation and creativity.

Business Innovation Services

In business, innovation means progress. Innovation is everything! There’s never a time you should ignore it because growth in any industry means progress, and growth means a lot of money being available for expansion and success. There is nothing like tapping into progress before everyone else, and that is what any successful business does. Being a pioneer in an industry requires innovation and it’s something that every successful industry giant you might be inspired by has done. Harnessing innovation isn’t easy though, you can’t just flip a switch and come up with new ideas that can make money; at least not all of us can. The best way to start is to consider enlisting the help of business innovation services.

Human resources have always played a significant part in any company’s success. After all, who is going to be moving ideas around? Who is going to be motivating employee’s to meet not only your goals but their own personal goals? Employing exceptional people who can deliver innovations in HR can help your business stay ahead of the curve. Business isn’t just something to throw money and hope that something sticks, but investing in professional business innovation services is a move that will definitely deliver a return on your investment. Their creative ideas and solutions will save you money, solve any current or future work related problem and make your company stand out. Luckily there are many business innovation services out there that offer counseling. You can meet with seasoned veterans of many different industries and get tips and ambitious ideas that can help you meet new goals. Every business has room to innovate in one way or another but sometimes it can be difficult to see when you’re so close to it. Even if you’re a small enterprise there are ways you can make yourself stand out, but if you aren’t a veteran in the industry and don’t have the right experience, you might not always see how to improve things. It’s also helpful to over mull ideas and seek out solutions when you have someone to bounce ideas off of. These counselors are there specifically for this kind of help and can offer solutions as well as help lead you to your own.

Innovations in HR don’t just mean hiring innovative thinkers either. While hiring seasoned business professionals and counseling them can help, you need to think about progressive organization. Businesses are changing today and many of them no longer have a massive hierarchy and are instead built around a more horizontal chain. For a small business, having this horizontal management style allows you to be the owner of the business while still having your employees on a level playing field. They’ll be more like partners than simply employees, and they’ll be more motivated and enthusiastic about coming up with solutions and efficient changes by themselves because they’ll feel like a part of it all.

  1. During an economic downturn there are many different ways a company can react. They have the option of watching their business shrink and potentially die or they can prove themselves to be business innovators and take advantage of the situation.

Sometimes the smart move is using business innovation strategy during this time to get to the next level. It requires leadership within a company and the ability to see the bigger picture. When a business is booming, companies are less likely to want to make process changes. This is why a downturn may be a real opportunity.

Communication

There are many ways to foster innovation. One way is to take the time to get to know your customers and find out what they really need. You may have provided the same service for several years only to determine that there might be other niches you could fill for them.

Questioning your Purpose

It may be beneficial to question the purpose of your company. I don’t mean asking the obvious questions. Sometimes it can be helpful to rethink some of the fundamentals of your products and your business.

Product Innovations and Organizations

Have you considered adding a new product or service to your company? What if you spoke with your customers and found out what they truly need may be new features or new products you can provide for them.

At some point you may want to spend more time and money on research and development idea creation. This would be an opportunity to provide further innovation of your new product ideas and enhance them.

Sometimes feedback can come from internal departments as well. It is always a good idea to make sure you get feedback from all departments and coordinate them through your research and development department. There are many types of idea tracking software that will allow you to keep track of these potential innovations.

If you have a product or service with a short lifecycle, there may be opportunities to upgrade your products on a more regular basis. This is going to be a factor in how quickly you can get the innovations out to your customers.

Google can be a great example for this. Their marketing strategy allows them to have very quick turnaround times and deliver to customers a regular basis.

Commitment

Once you have come up with these new and brilliant ideas, it is important to give them form as soon as possible. This may mean creating a prototype or testing the service with a long-term customer you trust. This way you will have a better idea as to whether the product or service is likely to succeed.

Finding the Right Talent

When some of your competitors close their doors, it may be a great opportunity to pick up their best talent. This can help you improve your overall business innovation strategy and prepare yourself for the eventual upturn.

Top 3 Reasons Preventing Business Innovation

Deloitte Private has released a new report identifying 3 of reasons business innovation in Australia may be slower then in other economies. The Deloitte report indicates that innovation may be slower in Australia because of lack of corporate and government support, access to capital and a culture that is afraid of risk.

Deloitte partner Josh Tanchel, who coordinated the report named “Startups: Playing it Safe is the Biggest Risk” said that the panelists who took part in the report unanimously agreed about the potential and presence of innovation in Australia, but said Australia needed to get better at commercialization.

Pete Cooper, founder of SydStart, Australias largest tech start-up event; BlueChilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, the executive general manager at the Commonwealth Bank Kelly Bayer Rosmarin; Lisa Messenger, publisher of renegade COLLECTIVE and Southern Cross Venture Partners founder Bill Bartee, where the five leaders from Australia’s start-up community that took part in the panel.

Tanchel has been quoted saying “The attitude in the US is that failure is part of the entrepreneurial journey”. He said “Australia’s attitude to risk and failure is a major issue and Australia needs to catch up with this approach”.

Business innovation is limited because of the Australian culture, when you have failed you are perceived to have a black mark against your name. It tends to hold Australian entrepreneurs back because they are less likely to go for global ideas and settle on targeting a smaller niche. This is holding business innovation in Australia back because our entrepreneurs don’t want to fail.

This issue affects the entire business landscape in Australia and has a direct influence on the economy. Tanchel says corporate and governments need to step up to the issue and support business innovation in Australia.

Business Innovation in Australia doesn’t have to be all about taking risk, the government could step in and support investment in structured, de-risking programs like incubators and business hubs.

Tanchel’s report also indicates the importance for business innovation in Australia to support more women founders.

Simon Maselli, is a world-recognised business consultant for Metamorph specialising in business innovation [http://metabiz.com.au]. Simon has 20+ years of experience on international projects and business, developing profitable businesses and advising in the areas of Innovation, Entrepreneurial Leadership and Corporate Sustainability. He is known for his inspirational communication style and his repertoire of innovative, practical, and highly effective solutions to the challenges that technology-orientated companies face in today’s business landscape.

Innovative Ideas For Your Small Business

Innovation plays an important role in the growth of a small business. Innovative ideas come naturally but most small business owners have a tough time coming up with innovative changes that will have a positive impact to their business. In this article about innovation for small businesses, I am going to elaborate on 3 ways to get innovative ideas for your small business. With the tips below, I really hope that you can now bring your business to the next level with the power of innovation.

Without further delays, let us look at what I have for you in the list.

Follow Industries with Rapid Change

Although one cannot be totally sure that the most rapid-changing industry is the most innovative industry, I can be almost certain that due to the fast pace, players in such industries push their minds to the max. This is of course to ensure the sustainability of their business as well as the ability to stay in front of the competition. Thus, it is always good to keep an eye on these industries because they come up with new and crazy ideas everyday.

For me, industries that moves faster than others will be the technology industry. Also, you should follow news that are related to web startups. These new startups often have a unique idea that solves problems creatively. Dig deep, try to apply their model to your current business model and you should be able to generate fresh ideas on how to innovate your business.

Organize Internal Brainstorming Sessions

Most entrepreneurs will see this as a time consuming activity but internal brainstorming sessions can help to generate ideas internally that could help improve a business. Apart from that, you are actually encouraging your employees and people who are involved in your day-to-day business operations to contribute. Often times, these individuals can offer practical ideas because of their hands-on involvement with the business.

To get the idea juices flowing, you need to be receptive to contributions. Do not label an idea as stupid and reward someone who offered an idea worth thinking. You must also take internally-generated ideas carefully and assess their viability closely. The last thing you want is to have the individual passing on the idea to one of your competitors.

Attend Trade Conferences

Most small business owners tend to link face-to-face networking with trade conferences but there are a lot more things to learn and gain from a conference. Visit participating booths and look at that products or services that they offer. Other than providing you with the ideas to be innovative, you might end up using these products or services to improve your business, which is another way to innovate your business for the sake of effectiveness and efficiency.

Networking with people that are either related or unrelated to your industry can broaden your thinking when brainstorming for new ideas. Get yourself out there and start talking to people. Like the first tip above, I would also recommend you to attend conferences that are not directly related to your industry.

Small Business Innovation

I’ve met many business leaders and entrepreneurs that do not understand how to leverage innovation in small businesses. These individuals often believe that business innovation is for large companies that employ scientists and have a large research and development department. However, many small businesses can enjoy significant benefits from a well-designed innovation strategy.

In some cases, small businesses can do a better job at identifying and implementing innovations than a larger company with multiple layers of approval, especially for “innovative” ideas. Smaller companies can often act quickly to take advantage of creative ideas and get those ideas into the market by incorporating them into the company’s product or service. This quick action gives the smaller company a competitive edge when they are “first to market” with a new product or a new feature. I’ve seen countless examples of a small company acting quickly to implement a product innovation while bigger companies try to “catch up” with the smaller company. Even when the bigger companies do catch up, the smaller company has established a strong position by being identified as an innovator.

Although a company is small, they can have a following of “raving fans”. These fans of the business provide valuable word-of-mouth advertising as well as “free” marketing through discussions on social media web sites. Building a following of loyal customers also provides a source of ideas for new products and new features – directly from the customers that will buy those new products or services. Ask your customers what features they would like to see in your products, and ask about new products or services that would be of interest to them.

When working with leaders of small businesses, I show them examples of other small businesses that have leveraged innovation to increase revenue, reduce expenses and create a competitive edge in their market. These examples may be from other companies in the same market or companies in different markets. Once the business leaders understand the potential benefits of innovation, the next step is to educate everyone in the company about the innovation process. An innovation disclosure program encourages all employees to submit creative ideas. By celebrating and rewarding innovative ideas, these small businesses can generate a flood of creative ideas to grow the business.

If you’re a small business leader or entrepreneur, don’t think that innovation is limited to large companies. You can benefit from leveraging innovation just as much (or more) than a large corporation. I have seen it happen hundreds of times.

Business Innovation Solutions

Problems, Problems, Problems – Wouldn’t life be grand if we never had any problems. Everything would work perfectly, everyone would always get along and be happy, everything would be wonderful for everyone everywhere, and things would only get better as we live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, in the real world there is no avoiding the grim realities of the dark side. Viewed from a business perspective – take the number of problems of each person, multiply by the number of employees, multiply the result by every single aspect of doing business, and the final result is what keeps every business owner chewing their fingernails down to the bone.

The most commonly accepted method of solving problems is simply to remove the cause. But this method is not always as simple as it would seem. Determining the true cause of a problem can be a very complicated affair, and even if you get this right – removing the cause can just as easily create a whole new set of problems.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a business could institute policies and procedures were problems would solve themselves and the business would reap tremendous benefits in the process?

How Problems Can Solve Themselves

It’s all about turning disadvantages into advantages, which is accomplished by finding innovative ways of viewing problems from a new point of view. A simple shift in perception is all it takes to reveal a whole new range of possibilities as seen from a new frame of reference.

The Value of Business Innovation

Innovation is a buzz word bandied about the business community for quite a while now. In fact, the concept of innovation has blossomed over the years to become an entire industry unto itself.

What is business innovation? The more traditional view would characterize business innovation in terms of creating new marketable inventions. Business innovation is also commonly associated with the research and development activities involved in designing new products and services, and finding innovative ways of bringing them to market.

As the marketplace becomes ever more saturated, innovation takes on a vital role in distinguishing your products from the competition and leveraging every resource available to glean the crucial competitive advantage. The modern view recognizes the strategic value in applying business innovation in EVERY phase of a company’s infrastructure encompassing the entire scope of company business.

Establishing a Culture of Business Innovation in the Workplace

Business innovation cannot thrive within a pyramid structure were it starts at the top and spreads through an organization with diminishing intensity, reaching to near zero at the base. A more effective strategy would be to invert the flow so that business innovation starts at the base and continuously accelerates as it picks up momentum on the way to the top.

Establishing a corporate culture of innovation throughout the workplace begins with fostering proper attitude of management. Innovation is all about recognizing value in the attribute of flexibility, and welcoming the challenge of adapting to circumstances in a constant state of change.

Abolishing the Status Quo

This type of freewheeling thinking can be difficult for those accustomed to the emotional comfort and security of simply maintaining the status quo. Innovation is generally applied incrementally in small “safe” baby steps, and only to streamline established procedures rather than risking potential fallout from instituting major change. Major change usually happens only out of necessity as the old proven procedures become ineffective and obsolete.

The Hallmark of Creative Genius

Given proper training, everyone has the potential of developing the type of refined mental flexibility that is the hallmark of creative genius. Unfortunately, this kind of specialized training is not included in the standard curriculum of formal education. Education cultivates a very rigid style of thinking. As a result, the natural childlike flexibility we are all born with deteriorates out of neglect. Adults endowed with creative genius are those that have nurtured their mental flexibility by their own volition in spite of the destructive aspects of education.

Companies would be well advised to seek out these rare individuals for key management positions, not only for their own creative input but more importantly for their ability to recognize the value of innovative ideas contributed by others. These are the people best equipped to lead the effort of developing effective strategies to deploy new ideas successfully.

Even though our creativity has been suppressed, it is not completely lost. A corporate culture endorsing perpetual innovation thrives on the realization that everyone has their eureka moments of inspiration from time to time.

Removing the Impediments to Innovation

Frontline workers see a company from their own unique perspective, and rightly so since they are intimately involved every working hour of every day. They often see problems management do not, and see how certain changes could benefit the company. Many are reluctant to come forward for fear of inciting negative repercussions. Frontline staff are sensitive to the risks provoking the ire of those with power over their position in the company, not to mention their entire career.

People in management positions often harbor the notion that they are the ones that do the “thinking”, and that frontline workers are paid to work – not to think, have ideas, or god forbid – to question the validity of existing policies or procedures. Managers often view this kind of input as a challenge to their competence and authority which could threaten their own position. Corporate cultures with a rigid hierarchy create a working environment were everyone develops their own private self-serving agenda which are often out of sync with the company’s best interests. A rigid hierarchy tends to stifle innovation leaving substantial opportunities lost by the wayside.

A critical factor in cultivating a culture of business innovation is removing intimidating fear factors endemic to the more common authoritarian culture so that staff can genuinely feel free to contribute ideas. Indeed contributing new ideas should be encouraged and staff should be rewarded for ideas that are adopted and prove beneficial to the company.

A company can realize tremendous benefits by deliberately allowing everyone in the organization the freedom to devote a small percentage of their work week exclusively to generating innovation. Furthermore they should be provided with quality tools and training to maximize their potential for success.

It Starts at the Top

Of course even the most revolutionary business innovations are completely worthless without principal management’s willingness to institute change. It is the vision and fortitude of high caliber management that determines a company’s overriding philosophy. There comes a time when this philosophy itself must be challenged for a company to evolve with a changing marketplace.

Success in deploying a culture of innovation depends entirely on cultivating the proper attitude of EVERYONE in the organization, there can be no exceptions. It is our rigid preconceived notions about how we think things should be that prevents innovation from working its magic.

Plant the Seeds and Reap a Bountiful Harvest

One of the precious few immutable facts of life is that everything changes. We prosper by realizing that every adversity contains the seed of new opportunity. The current economic crisis is just another example of change that challenges our ability to innovate, adapt, and exploit the fresh opportunities presented by change. As previously stated – It’s all about turning disadvantage to advantage, and all that’s required is a shift in perception to a new point of view.

In order to determine how to shift our perception we must be willing to continuously re-examine and re-evaluate the truth of our existing perceptions. Innovation is the means to move beyond our existing perceptions to explore new territories ripe with opportunity. A corporate culture of innovation is the means to utilize in full measure the most valuable resource of any organization – its people. There is nothing more powerful than open hearts and open minds working together in synergistic unity for a common purpose.

Every business that plants the seeds of innovation throughout the entire organization, provides all the nutrients needed to sustain new growth, and removes any obstacles that impede new growth, will surely thrive and reap a bountiful harvest.