We've been hearing a lot about innovation over the past year, mainly from the Prime Minister. But when the subject is continually delivered in a sea of political jargon, how are SMEs supposed to understand the benefits? Or know how to be innovative.
So, we created this quick guide to help you understand:
To start with, someone should innovate a new word, because innovation is that's difficult to picture. It's an abstract term that many entrepreneurs struggle to connect with their day to day business.
Innovation can be many things and maybe the government should spell them out:
Just doing one of these things is innovative. A couple of examples of businesses innovating in several ways are Uber and Netflix.
It could be argued that they both created something new. On the other hand, you could say that they are just a new type of taxi and video service.
Either way, they improved the existing models, did it in a better way than before, and reached customers in new ways (phone and internet).
Innovating isn't about coming up with the next big thing (although that would be nice too!).
It's about making small, incremental changes that help your customers while improving and growing your business.
When you innovate, your business:
And it's easier to do than it sounds.
You'll see some of the best (and not so good) examples of small business product innovations on the TV show Shark Tank, where people pitch ideas to business leaders in hope of funding and mentoring. For example:
Innovation is also about services and customer service, such as:
In the business world, innovation is simply change that adds value. To find out what your target audience are missing and the value they would place on a solution:
As a simple example, let's imagine you make frozen hamburgers and sell them to stores. Some of the ways you could innovate include:
Remember, innovation is different to invention. While some innovations are inventions, it's really about doing things in a better way to benefit your customers, your business and your bottom line.