POST-COVID BUSINESS INNOVATION
Look at all the changes that businesses had to make in the last few months: remote working and learning, new digital business models, zoom networking and learning other new technologies, etc. Now is the time for small business owners to start thinking about how the post COVID-19 world will look and what innovations are necessary to improve customer experience.
As I mentioned in a recent blog, innovation does not have to be a new business, product, or service. Look at your existing products/services and see how they can be changed. Yes, sometimes there may have to be a new product or service to meet the new needs of your customers.
In a recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly I found a list of the eight essentials of innovation. The following is the list which I modified to better suit small business owners. Remember, there is no proven formula for success, but you can improve your chances by understanding the following:
- Have a vision: A stretch vision can be a compelling catalyst provided it’s realistic enough to stimulate action today. The key word is ACTION! Without action a vision has no worth.
- The selection process: If you know your market, ideas will come to you. The challenge is to select the one that has the most potential for future growth. Just like returning a man to the moon in the next few years requires some risk, innovation is risky. The key is to manage the risk, not try to eliminate it.
- Discover: The first step is to discover what excites your customers, and then study how that excitement can be fed by products or services which can become a profit center.
- Go Forth: I still have clients that only want to do what they have always done with the hope that this time it will have better results. If change is not part of their “going forth,” then it may be too late for a better business future.
- Do It now! Innovation requires action. Overthinking a move to do something different is a common stumbling block to small business growth.
- Scale: Who wants it and how much do they want? Introducing a new product/ service requires some research to determine the cost of production, delivery as well as the number of units that could be sold. This is where the budget side of a business comes into play. Make sure you have the resources to give your product/service a chance to be seen.
- Reach out: Innovation has a better chance to succeed when you involve others in the overall innovation process. By working with others, you can speed up the process and also discover new ways to create value for your market.
- Do not stop: Change will continue to accelerate, and innovation must become embedded in the mind and culture of the small business owners.
Whatever service or products you provide, the expectations of your target market are no longer the same. The secret to innovation: try and then try again until it works, and then start changing it for what your customers’ expectations will be tomorrow. Growing a small business always requires risk; risks can be managed so don’t let fear paralyze you.
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