Probably the first word that comes to mind when someone asks you what’s great about your business is that it’s innovative. You should be careful about using that word nowadays since it doesn’t seem to serve its purpose like it used to.
Innovation used to be the big thing in new businesses. Most companies would claim they are innovative, especially small startups. They want people to know that they are up to date AND fresh.
However, with more and more businesses using “innovation” as their asset, it has gradually lost its meaning. The word has become trite, clichéd, and meaningless alongside “cutting-edge” and other mere adjectives.
Each and every business wants to keep up with the times and be viewed as such by customers. An outdated business is not ideal after all. The pressure is constantly there. Of course you’d want to be a better business than your competitor but it doesn’t mean you have to use the I-word to outshine them. What is innovation really?
Today’s marketplace is full of technologies and innovation is treading a fine line between efficiency and inadequacy. Some huge companies actually dedicate their time and resources to deliver top caliber products and solutions. But for most of us entrepreneurs, it could be a simply providing the best product we have we believe is best for our clients.
There’s a drawback with being “innovative” as well. Do you remember when each of Apple’s product releases was positively embraced by the majority? Their sales numbers are still skyrocketing these days but a growing number of their users are unhappy. It’s because they’ve continually wowed us with their products that when new ones are introduced, anything short of impressive is a fail.
Now, how do we entrepreneurs harmonize the concept of innovation with how it’s perceived and how it really is? How do we satisfy customers, both potential and existing without promising too much?
It’s time to look back at where you began. Think about why you’ve put up your business in the first place – was it to help people with their problems using a solution YOU have. Innovation is at its peak when you have the need to help one person.
This one person may have one problem you can solve and little by little you realized there are others like him. An entrepreneurship often requires a team, speak with your team, bring your minds together and find more ways to solve that one person’s problem.
This is how true innovation is born. You always have to think of the customer and not come up with new things for the sake of it. Looking at my colleagues, I can say not everybody wants to have their work interrupted with having to adapt to a new tool or app.
Innovation is customer-centered. It’s not making things new and better, it’s about great service! Make your clients happier, better, and that’s how you’ll see how innovative you are. The word “innovation” may be lost, but the real thing still exists – standing out with great service.
It doesn’t always mean you need to have the latest gadgetry; you just have to constantly deliver good products and solutions to your clients – even if those are not the most “innovative” from other people’s perspective. As long as it works and you are sincere with it, “innovation” in your business won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
Like many people around my age we are redefining what retirement is all about. Our generation is not satisfied with just sitting around waiting for time to pass. We’re breaking the rules and making our latter years mean something.
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