Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Bath & Bristol Business Innovation and Development

What does it take to be a successful Innovative Business in Bath, Bristol or any other City or town in the South West for that matter?

Well one thing is for sure a business needs to develop and grow through innovation. What is innovation I hear you say? I refer to our friends at Wikipedia for a definition as follows:
“Innovation is the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or existing market needs”  source Wikipedia
Looking for that light bulb Moment

What businesses have been innovative? Apple comes to mind with the iPhone. Microsoft continued to innovate and by doing so brought the world Windows.

If we think of Dyson and what they have achieved means we have vacuum cleaners that do not need to use bags.

How did cars or motorcycles progress from the basics of horseless carriages and bicycle to the incredible machines they are today? How did we go from the Wright brother’s first flight to landing on the moon?

The answer is Innovation, Innovation, Innovation.
Hmm! I sound like Phil Spencer.

As a business in Bath do you find the time for innovation? Or do you just get on with the job and pay little attention to progress or the future needs of your customers.

Because it doesn’t matter what the business, you will always need to be one step in front of the competition or at the least be thinking how you can.
Get your employees thinking Innovation
So how can you encourage innovation within your business?

The greatest asset to you and your business are the people who work for you or with you.

The average small or medium business in Bath will have people from a cross section of society.

These people will all have their own take on life, their own experiences and perspectives on life. T

hey will have different skills to solve different issues or to be able think outside the box. They will come with differing levels of intelligence or more importantly, common sense.

So why not utilise all those skills, all that experience or those different perspectives and get them involved in innovative ideas that could transform your business?

What makes innovation so important to your business? Because it’s the very process that will transform ideas into a business success.

It will turn those business ideas into profits for you and satisfaction for your customers
It may bring big ideas or small improvements that will in themselves create a bigger success
Its about the process of developing and not just about the products or services you sell
The best ideas often come away from the Office
This doesn’t have to take up too much time either. Just a few minutes here and there can bring out great innovative ideas.
It doesn’t have to be formal. Don't get your staff together and say “right I want some innovative ideas from all of you in turn” I can guarantee they will go blank.
Some of the best ideas have come when people are away from work. Whether taking a walk in the hills, on the loo or fishing by a lake.

So make it relaxed, make it fun and make it an enjoyable moment and you are more like to get those ideas flowing.
  • Promote a culture where all ideas are important no matter how big or small the idea
  • Once the seed of innovation is planted, allow employees time to just sit and think
  • Encourage positive communication and participation from the employees
  • Learn the various skills and ways your employees and maximise what they're good at
  • Allow for things not working, as there is so much we can learn from our mistakes
  • Be aware of the market you are in and encourage feedback from consumers
  • Look to find solutions for what the consumer is looking, not what you think they need
Turn that thinking into Gold
You’ll be amazed how much employees will want to please you with ideas, so reward them accordingly.

Because though some may not fit with what you need, others could be the next big idea that changes everything for you and your business.

Whether you involve your employees or go it alone take time to consider the various ways you can innovate.

Get feedback from your customers and solve the problems or issues they bring.

Look at any issues that may be affecting the smooth running of the business. Improve or simplify the processes or services you provide by adapting to the feedback from customers.

Customers will let you know what is missing or what you don’t currently supply that they need. Take all this on board and get innovative to find solutions to meet those needs. Consider your advertising and marketing approach and be prepared to think outside the box or return to ways that you know have worked in the past.

Make sure you ask yourself some important questions:

“What is the future for my products or services?"
Ask yourself important questions about the Business

“What other markets are out there for us?”

“Will the turnover or profits improve?”
“Can the business perform better?”
“Do we offer what the customers want?”
“Do I like how my business is performing?”
“Am I utilising the experiences and skills of my employees?”
Remember this is step by step

Take small but definite steps to achieve any new goals or innovative ideas. Measure what you are doing and gain feedback on the way to monitor your progress. Be prepared to tweak or change things accordingly.

Most businesses don’t get the one big idea that changes everything overnight. Most businesses have an accumulation of ideas that they test and try before making it part of their day to day business. All these small innovations will soon mount up.

Think about where your business is right now. Now consider where you would like to see it in 5-10 years. Decide how you can promote innovative ideas which will make that future happen?

Innovative ideas J

Consider the checklist to innovation:
  • Create a culture of innovation throughout the business
  • Innovation will help with processes, products or services
  • Involve employees
  • Do something new or different
  • Embrace mistakes and learn
  • Allow some time to think
  • Get feedback from customers
  • Discover what's missing for the customer
  • Be smarter than the competition
  • Be better tan you are already
  • Think outside the box
  • Keep things simple
  • Monitor progress
Turn ideas into action and take your business into a profitable future.
Blogger for Bath Business Web Ltd 

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