Don’t let fear destroy small businesses innovation
01 July 2020 | Business
“Being innovative takes a lot of hard work and a little bit of risk. But, if you want to thrive and stay ahead of the game, it’s an essential part of being a business owner,” says Mike Anderson: NSBC Founder and CEO
There are many sources you can use to help generate new ideas for your business. Suppliers, customers, employees, and strategic alliances can all make valuable contributions to the creative process, as well as providing support and encouragement.
“Your employees are a vital asset in generating innovative ideas. To get the most from them, you need to create an innovative environment and encourage creative thinking. Most ideas never get off the ground because business owners are afraid to take a risk and fail, and employees are not allowed to try new things and take some risk. Those who have achieved real success have overcome the fear of failure and often risked the most to get there.”
Anderson says to succeed, you have to move out of your comfort zone, continuously challenge the status quo and innovate. “Always be on the lookout for new ideas and new ways of doing things that will improve your business. Winners always look at the bigger picture while losers cannot go beyond the way things are at the time. If it doesn’t work you can always go back to the drawing board. This is far better than not trying and doing things differently.”
He adds that author John Maxwell asks why so many people work so hard without ever achieving or making an impact, while fewer who don’t seem to work hard achieve so much. “The reason is simple –conformity. Research shows that only 5% of the people in the world are able to achieve their life goals. Why? Because the remaining 95% are conformists who go through life accepting the way things are.”
• Get your team on-board. Have them involved in the entire innovation process, such as solving problems during a meeting and providing a suggestion box. Reward innovation and celebrate success.
• Make innovation a routine. Schedule an hour or so each week to brainstorm and exercise you and your team’s creativity, and establish goals that encourage you to improve your business.
• Encourage suggestions. Ask or survey your employees, customers, and even, suppliers if they have any suggestions on how you can improve your business.
• Create a supportive atmosphere in which people feel free to express their ideas without the risk of criticism.
• Encourage risk-taking and experimentation. Don't penalise people who try new ideas that fail. Remember, fear destroys innovation.
• Stress that people at all levels of the business share responsibility for innovation, so everybody feels involved in taking the business forward.
• Look for imagination and creativity when recruiting new employees. Remember that innovative thinkers aren't always those with the most impressive list of qualifications.
• You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep innovation simple by improving your existing products or services, trying out a new marketing strategy, or finding a supplier that is offering you a better rate.
• Invest in innovation. Purchase technology and equipment that can improve your business operations. Also, invest in developing new products and services
• Educate yourself. Continue to learn new skills or information by attending workshops, webinars, conferences, local industry events, and reading everything from blog posts to books.