If It Ain’t Broke … Innovate It ~ 15 Reasons Why You Should

The old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was a famous catch cry of yesteryear. Unfortunately many still live by it.  What if they were to replace ‘don’t fix it’ with ‘innovate it’?

Innovate

Change is often seen as difficult, confronting and easier to avoid, rather than embrace

15 Reasons Why You Should Innovate

Competitiveness

The world as we know it is becoming increasingly more competitive. The way people are now looking at solving problems and the way they are delivering solutions is becoming more attractive for customers to try different options.

If your business is not in a position to compete, you may not lead, win, place or even be in the running for your customer’s loyalty or dollar.

Training your people and business to be competitive is like training an athlete for a marathon.  You must plan how you will run the course, develop a strategy to overcome obstacles, and understand your competitors to know how to position yourself to take advantage, and gain market share as you run the race.

Relevancy

Do you remember when you used to buy something that you now refer to as a ‘so yesterday’ way of doing something?  At the time you probably thought you would never do without it, and it was the only way to solve your problem.  That was until someone came up with a smarter way of solving your problem and now you would never do it the old way again.

Can your business afford to be seen as irrelevant in the way you solve one or more problems? How can you think differently to solve other problems, or solve the current problem you are already solving differently, for existing and new consumers?

Opportunity

If you open your eyes and assess the market you play in, and consider other markets that have adopted innovative approaches that may bring opportunity for your market, what do you see?

Being aware and open to change and the opportunity it can bring seems to be common sense, however, many still choose complacency and fear that opening the door to opportunity may create more problems than it solves.

What are you doing in your business to discover opportunity, and when you do discover it, what are you doing with that knowledge, how are you applying it, and where can it lead your business?

Viability

At first glance the word viability might seem odd when referring to an established business, however, it is a crucial word to consider.  Your business’ viability is only as robust as your business mindset.  If you encourage or allow complacency or cost-cutting as your primary option to remain viable, you are setting your business up for performance to decline.

Is your business mindset one that focusses on growth and expansion rather than cost-cutting and contraction to solve challenges caused by the changing market you operate in?  Balance is important, but it is how you think about this question that determines the direction of your business.

Diversification

Do you have only one revenue stream that powers your business? One speed revenue models can limit business potential and will create vulnerability in operational capability, capacity and stability.

If that revenue stream diminishes or dries up how will your business survive?  How can you diversify what you offer to solve your existing, and new customer problems?

If you tap into how you can innovate your products and services to diversify what you offer your customers, how will this create an opportunity for your business?

Collaboration

You know you can’t do everything yourself, but despite this, more often than not, we continue to try to deliver solutions that are better done by someone else.

  • How does your business collaborate with other businesses, individuals and organisations?
  • What have you learnt, and continue to learn, from these relationships?
  • What value does your network offer, and how does this benefit your business and those you work with?
  • How do you collaborate to accentuate the strengths of both parties to innovate and create?

Redundancy

The fear factor of the possibility of redundancy of a business in a marketplace is often hidden under a blanket of ignorance.  Ignorance to the fact that unless the business chooses to evolve and innovate, it will rapidly lose worth in the eyes of the customer, and risk becoming redundant.

What do you do in your business to ensure that you will not become an ‘industry dinosaur’?

Scalability

To be able to scale, your business needs a strategy to guide you.  That strategy must be agile and intuitive to change and embrace innovation to enable success.

Understanding your customer, who they are, what they want, how they want to be communicated with, and where they want to engage and interact, must underpin your business strategy.

Are you building a customer-centric business strategy that demonstrates your plan to scale? If so, what framework and benchmarks are in place to measure that journey and accelerate that growth in a timely manner?

Responsiveness

Customers like to be seen, heard and feel important.  We should now consider replacing the old saying ‘Content is King’ with a new saying, ‘Customer is King’.

The reality is that without your customers you do not have a business

If your customers do not feel like you are hearing them, or they feel like they are invisible to your business, they will react by not engaging with your business.

How do you talk to your customers and where do you engage and interact with them?  Is this by your design or theirs?

When you deliver your products or services to your customer they will judge you on how responsive you are to them, and how you make them feel.  Investing in finding out how your customer thinks, and responding accordingly, tells your customer you are putting them first.

Intuitivity

When your business plans how you deliver your products or services do you do you think like your customers think?

This question is an important one to ask if you haven’t done so already.  Creating an intuitive customer journey for each of your customer types communicates to your customers that you have recognized, acknowledged and are delivering what they want.  When done well this creates ‘customer utopia’.

Investment

Do you have an exit strategy and why is this important?  An exit or/and an acquisition strategy helps communicate growth and innovation for investment.  Cash injection through investment is a necessary tool to innovate and scale, to establish an attractive investment opportunity to make acquisitions, to diversify or expand or to innovate, nurture and grow to scale and exit.

How attractive is your business to investors?  What does the evolution of your business look like and how are you planning to make this happen?

Capability

What are your capability gaps?  Like your regular doctor check-ups, analysing your business capabilities gives your business a health check and insight into where your business needs attention and where your offering is not being optimized for your customers.

This process also identifies where you can identify trends and innovate to increase not only capability but also capacity, to solve problems that you may not have realised needed solving.

When did your business last make an appointment for a business check-up to discover how healthy your business really is?

Culture

Culture can make or break a business’ ability to reach its potential.  The challenge is always to bring your people along on the journey with you.

Traditionally we create top-down hierarchies which may only serve to create divisions and disconnect.  Consider flatter hierarchies based on operational competencies and strengths that are measurable. This can enable you to innovate with agility.

Do you structure your work environment to create open communication, transparency, collaboration, engagement and ownership of tasks and processes?  What yardsticks do you use to measure performance based on responsibility and accountability?

By structuring your teams to become empowered, and not just to engage, you are able to create an environment that is collaborative and conducive to setting goals and achieving outcomes.

Appeal

We live in a world of lots of bright and shiny things that capture people’s attention and imagination.

How do you inspire, excite, shock and delight your customers?

If you are creating an experience that your customers will enjoy, remember and share, then you are building brand engagement and evangelism.

To continue to enjoy this relationship with your customers you must innovate.  Immediacy demands innovation, to not only get the attention of existing and new customers but to convert that attention into a relationship that is reciprocal, and satisfies the needs of both your customer and your business.

Sustainability

Business is facing becoming more transient than it ever has before.  To remain in the game your business needs to determine how to sustain existing customer patronage and understand how to entice new customers to come on board to grow your business.

To do this you need to have a business strategy that has sustainability at its core.  This simply means that you need to build a foundation that is true and pivot off this proactively to innovate and behave in an agile manner, to take advantage of change, trends and opportunity.

If it ain’t broke… break it and put it back together differently.

Chances are what you will find is that doing business in different ways may bring better and more measurable results than the way you have always done business before.

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Digital Disruption: Is It Your Friend Or Foe?

Digital disruption has become an obsession for businesses and industries alike. It is an obsession that has the potential to overwhelm and dilute the underlying opportunities that a disruption itself presents.  Your business must choose if disruption is its friend or foe!

digital disruption
Digital Disruption: Friend or Foe?

A focus on being disrupted will overshadow the opportunity to disrupt.

10 indicators that your business may be REACTIVE

  1. High investment but declining revenue. This may suggest that you are chasing what you think will change the market without understanding what the market is actually looking for.
  2. High supply, lower demand. This may suggest that you are not aligned with what your customer wants even though you are competing with what is in the market.
  3. More service offerings but complaints from customers are on the rise.
  4. Higher staff churn than normal sees newer staff leaving your business while longer term staff are less likely to leave.
  5. Your industry is experiencing growth but your business is suffering a downturn.
  6. The technology platforms your business has adopted are disconnected from each other. This may indicate you are integrating new technology without recognizing how and where it will work with legacy systems.
  7. Your business is suffering from a progressive loss of market share.
  8. You notice a lack of cohesion in your product or service offerings.  They provide solutions but these are singular in application.
  9. Your business is generating lots of data but has no ability to qualify or contextualize it.
  10. Collaboration and partnering that exists is more of a ‘power play’ than an ‘innovation play’.

10 Indicators that your business is PROACTIVE

  1. Your business is experiencing exponential revenue growth and also enjoying increasing patronage despite more competition entering the market.
  2. Other businesses are seeking your business out to discuss collaboration and partnership opportunities.
  3. Your business is able to confidently make budget projections based on performance indicators measured against milestones.
  4. Agility enables your business to respond to change without impacting your core business strategy.
  5. You see failures as necessary and you are not afraid of them. They are seen as learning experiences your business can build on.
  6. Industry best practices, global trends and benchmarking are used by your business to give you insights to plan and strategize.
  7. Your employees are engaged, have taken ownership and actively participate in the business’ transformation journey.
  8. Your business communicates visibility and transparently without fear or favour.
  9. Digital is at the core of all your business decisions.  You always ask the question ‘How can digital make this more efficient or effective?’
  10. Your strategy is customer led. Your strategy is a living, breathing document that is a ‘work in progress’. It is responsive to change without compromising its core ethos.

Successful change will not happen when you apply band-aid solutions.  A band-aid solution is one dimensional and it only heals what ails the business in that area and at that time.

Transformational change is evolutionary.  When your business chooses to be proactive rather than reactive in its approach the word ‘disruption’ takes on a very different meaning.  To survive and also experience success you must choose to become the disruptor and not the disruptee.

 

Originally posted 2016-10-18 18:02:41.

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The Start-Up Cemetery – Tombstones of Lost Dreams

 

cemetery

So many Start-Ups move quickly from idea and conceptualization to developing their minimal viable product ‘MVP’.  They do this to establish a ‘proof of concept’ to gain funding. This can be a death sentence for Start-Ups.

This reasoning does make sense on face value…

  • Your idea is unique.
  • No-one has done it this way before.
  • Your idea is a new technology that is ground-breaking.
  • Your approach is to disrupt and when you do it will be a game changer.
  • The unique value proposition that your idea brings will set you apart from competitors.

An idea that fast tracks to an MVP makes a quantum leap of faith

Will your Start-Up have a short life expectancy and end up in the Start-Up cemetery?

The question every Start-Up needs to ask is …

Does my Start-Up have strategic clarity?

If the answer is yes then the next question is…

What is my Start-Up’s strategic clarity?

Let’s look at some examples of what strategic clarity looks like…

  • You know where the growth is that your Start-Up will tap into and how to get traction there?
  • You know which problems you are solving and which customers you are solving them for.
  • You know how your customers’ will behave, how to drive their buying decisions and have positioned your product/service to ensure that you have and can maintain a competitive edge.
  • You know where your priorities need to lie in the short, medium and long terms and have articulated that in a business strategy
  • Your internal customers have taken ownership and responsibility of their roles, are engaged and aligned with and understand the business’ priorities. This enables them to plan and achieve key performance indicators benchmarked to the business strategy.
  • The decision-making process that is adopted by the business is consistent with the strategic priorities of the business and the business knows what it needs to achieve to be successful and in what timeframe.
  • You are confident in your business model that it is intelligent and uses this intelligence to make informed decisions from data that are qualified and quantified and aligned to your business strategy. This justifies any and all investment of resource and focus.

When do I need strategic clarity?

A Start-Up needs strategic clarity in the formation phase and before the validation phase. You can’t effectively validate an idea without insight that data brings to qualify and quantify it.

How do I get strategic clarity?

An Advisory Board of specialists that includes the founders themselves, is the best option to not only find strategic clarity but also determine a pathway to funding that is derisked by the insight the process delivers for investors.

The life expectation of your Start-Up will come down to the insight you gain and the strategic clarity you achieve. An Advisory Board can give you a real investor and competitor advantage

 

 

Originally posted 2017-03-15 19:30:16.

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