In today’s marketplace, product life cycles are shrinking, global trade is leading to growing competition and the Internet has lowered barriers to entry in many industries. So the need for innovation is more vital than ever. How can you kick innovation into high gear at your SME? Here are a couple of ideas:
1. Swim upstream
Is everyone in your industry doing things the same way? Maybe there’s an untapped need others are missing. For instance, a grocery chain recently began stocking a special checkout lane with only healthy snacks. It’s a smash-hit with health-conscious moms who shop with young children, and the chain is reportedly considering expanding the idea to all its stores.
2. Face your fear of change
We crave exciting new things as consumers, but as business owners we often fear having to implement new ideas. Create a culture that integrates and celebrates change to spur more innovative initiatives.
3. Add unusual services
You don’t have to be an inventor to be innovative – just add a service that isn’t traditionally offered in your industry. An example is a pharmacy that has such amenities as a nail bar, juice bar, sushi bar, no-appointment doctor, cell-phone charging station and electronic stock-exchange ticker.
4. Get behind your idea
Don’t be like Kodak, sitting on your digital camera invention until competitors eat your lunch. Once you’ve got an innovative idea, put it out there and promote it with all you’ve got.