While innovation can play a huge role in building new markets and creating successful businesses, it can be a challenging and tricky process. Innovating requires a delicate balance of transformations and understanding of the audience’s expectations. When you innovate, you choose to take a risk and deliver something new. However, not everybody is happy to embrace changes, which is why aiming to create market disruptions can backfire.
On the other hand, the failure to innovate could be just as devastating for the business world. As technology grows and changes, your audience gets to expect enhanced products and services that meet the quality of their everyday gadgets. Smartphone-friendly services, for instance, are a no-brainer for companies.
How can you ensure innovation creates a competitive advantage rather than a costly strategic mistake?
Dedicate a budget for research
How much does innovation cost? The right answer is that improving your business processes or products will cost you as much as you are willing to invest. However, for businesses who are eager to create an innovation investment, the safest approach to keep your costs under control is to design a specific budget for it. You can also work closely with financial and tax expert partners such as Tri-Merit, who can help you unlock research and development tax credits, which can make you feel more confident about your investment return.
Find creative experts who think outside the box
Innovating means that you stop following the patterns and thought processes that define your business operations. You can’t innovate if you work with people who stick to the same routine and process. You need someone who can question approaches and challenge attitudes. Where do you find such a partner? It’s easy: Freelancers bring an independent thinking and questioning process to a business. It is part of the freelancing journey not only to think outside the box but also not to let the box define what can and can’t be done. As a result, freelancers and independent consultants can offer a new take on an established routine and process.
Ask your audience to support the growth
The quickest way to know if an idea is appealing is to ask someone to pay you an amount for their support. If they believe that your business idea meets their needs, they will pay. If they don’t, at least, you are not wasting any money. Crowdfunding platforms, such as Indiegogo, connect early adopters with innovators. The process can be sobering for enthusiastic entrepreneurs who discover that their project doesn’t work. But it is also a safe bet that prevents any financial loss.
Help the planet
Every business should be concentrating on doing their part for the planet in this day and age, no matter what size. You can easily become more environmentally friendly by reducing paper waste, recycling, taking emissions assessments, carpooling to work, eliminating single use plastic and much more. Not only are these actions good for the environment but they will also reduce the amount you’re spending on business costs too. Definitely something to consider to become more innovative.
Test, test, test
A lot of entrepreneurs suggest small-sized trials to experiment with new products, ideas, and operations before launching them – or not. Testing is an inexpensive way of finding out whether your innovation is sustainable and desirable. More often than not, a good idea on paper fails to appeal to the final audience for unexpected reasons. A test can save you from making a costly decision that will drive losses. Additionally, it can also highlight potential issues with the product or the service, ensuring that these can be addressed before it reaches the public.
Innovation is a double-edged sword. It has the potential to give a business a competitive edge. Yet, it can also drive unnecessary costs. Innovating safely is the art of balancing the financial process and the experimental and creative operation.