How To Practice Innovativeness In Your Startup Company

source: sme360
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Innovation is an idea that has been transformed into practical reality. For a business, this is a product, process, or business concept, or combinations that have been activated in the marketplace and produce new profits and growth for the organisation. This could also mean taking steps to improve or replace business processes to increase efficiency and productivity, or to enable the business to extend the range or quality of existing products and/or services developing entirely new and improved products and services – often to meet rapidly changing customer or consumer demands or needs. Being innovative in your startup company or SME in Africa translates to successfully exploiting new business ideas. Marketplaces – whether local, regional, national or global – are becoming highly competitive. Competition has increased due to wider access to new technologies and the increased trading and knowledge-sharing opportunities offered by the Internet. Innovations are all around us. From exciting new technologies to new startup business models, the very idea of innovation is taking off just as fast as the businesses that embrace it. Regardless of this fact, though, practising innovativeness in your startup company or SME can truly be a tough nut to crack. You see, the reality is that even though many African entrepreneurs want their businesses, products, services and employees to be “innovative”, most of their businesses still end up with anti-innovation cultures without even realising it. Innovation is an idea that has been transformed into practical reality. For a business, this is a product, process, or business concept, or combinations that have been activated in the marketplace and produce new profits and growth for the organisation. This could also mean taking steps to improve or replace business processes to increase efficiency and productivity, or to enable the business to extend the range or quality of existing products and/or services developing entirely new and improved products and services – often to meet rapidly changing customer or consumer demands or needs. Being innovative in your startup company or SME in Africa translates to successfully exploiting new business ideas. Marketplaces – whether local, regional, national or global – are becoming highly competitive. Competition has increased due to wider access to new technologies and the increased trading and knowledge-sharing opportunities offered by the Internet. Innovations are all around us. From exciting new technologies to new startup business models, the very idea of innovation is taking off just as fast as the businesses that embrace it. Regardless of this fact, though, practising innovativeness in your startup company or SME can truly be a tough nut to crack. You see, the reality is that even though many African entrepreneurs want their businesses, products, services and employees to be “innovative”, most of their businesses still end up with anti-innovation cultures without even realising it. This sad reality is mostly because so many of these young businesses are focused on cost, efficiency and short-term growth, rather than creativity and a longer-term mindset. This can leave little room for fresh ideas. To be truly innovative in your business, it’s important to understand that the mechanisms needed to grow a business are often different from those that simply keep it from falling apart. You have to be willing to explore a little, put up some uncertainties, and adopt some different ways of thinking. This guide explains how you can make innovation a key business process at your startup. It also outlines the different approaches you can take to get you there. The guide gives you advice on planning for innovation because creating the right business environment to develop your ideas is vital to the success of your business regardless of your chosen industry today: 1. Analyse the marketplace There’s no point considering innovation in a vacuum. Innovation is an important entrepreneurial function for business especially a startup. It is not enough for your business to provide just any economic goods and services; it must provide better and more economic ones. Your business doesn’t need to grow bigger, but it is necessary that it constantly grows better. To achieve maximum proficiency in your innovations then, you must take the time to research and analyse your market place. Having a greater understanding of your marketplace from the very start will enable you to create a sound business strategy to establish and grow your brand into one that’s better than the competition. To move your business forward, study your marketplace and understand how innovation can add value to your customers. Market research can be carried out at various stages of a new idea’s life cycle, from pre-launch and beyond. 2. Identify opportunities for innovation In every business niche or marketplace, there is a discrepancy between what is and what should be. This is a key to developing wildly successful businesses, but it’s tricky. When you identify opportunities for innovation in your marketplace, only then can you work to adapt your product or service to the way your marketplace is changing. You could also develop your business by identifying a completely new product. You could innovate by introducing new technology, techniques or working practices – perhaps using better processes to give more consistent product quality. For instance, If your research shows people have less time to go to the stores, you could overhaul your distribution processes, offering customers a home-delivery service, possibly tied in with online and telephone ordering. Again, suppose your research shows that your chosen industry is saturated with cheap products, rather than undercut your competitors on price. In that case, you could innovate by revamping your marketing to emphasise your merchandise quality, and then charging a premium for your improved services. 3. Study and Learn from Your Customers If you simply ask your customers how you could improve your product or service they will give you plenty of ideas for incremental innovations. Typically they will ask for new features or that you make your product cheaper, faster, easier to use, available in different styles and colours etc. Listen to these requests carefully and choose the ones that will really payback. To continue reading...

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