As an entrepreneur, you will need to innovate, and that’s the fact. But, what I have seen in the work of many entrepreneurs is that they see innovation as something required only in their products and services. That’s wrong thinking and need to be changed as soon as possible.
Innovative products and service even they are an important part of the success of many companies, still, they are not enough to create a really remarkable business. They are only the beginning of many innovation processes that will exist on an everyday basis in your whole company.
So, you want to create a really innovative company and you already have in place innovative products and services, but now the question is how you can support innovation in all other parts of your small business. The first thing is that you will need to know where you will always need to innovate, or what processes in your company will need to be part of your overall innovation strategy.
Let’s talk about the most important processes that will require continuous innovation in your business.
1. Value Creation Process
The first process is the value creation process. Yes, you already have innovative products and services that bring value to your customers, and you already have an innovation plan for that products and services for future innovations. But, it is not enough. Why? Look at the following questions that will explain different situations that will not be so good for you and your business.
- What if you bring those innovative products on the market later than your competitors?
- What if the price to innovate and later produce that innovative products are much higher than competitor’s price?
- What if customers change their requirements on which you have based your innovation in products and services?
- What if you have a great innovation, but your company doesn’t have the potential to produce and ship it to the customers?
This is only the fraction of possible “what if” questions that explain to you what would be in the future.
As you can already see, you will need more systematic way when it comes to the innovations in your value creation process and the best way to start building such a systematic approach is to know where you will need to start and what you will need to measure. Here are some of the general rules that you will need to follow:
- The value creation process will need to be as short as possible with each other cycles.
- You will need to have more effective, and more efficient value creation process.
- The value creation process will require as much as possible optimal costs.
- Your value creation process will need to include customers in it.
- Your value creation process will need subprocesses and human resources with the biggest potential to answer the needs of the process.
2. Value Shipping Process
The next important process that will need to be part of your overall innovation strategy is the value shipping process. This process will have responsibilities to ship and deliver your innovative products and services to your customers.
You can have the most innovative products, and the best value creation process, but if you don’t have the best value shipping process that will ensure that your products and services will be in the customer’s hand as quick as possible, you can’t say that your innovation the is success.
One of the problems when it comes to this process in the companies is that in many cases it will have external parties included in the process. You can easily manage innovation in your own parts of this process, but it is not the case with external parts as transporters, delivery companies, post offices, and so on. But, this doesn’t free you from responsibility to innovate and improve each segment of this process.
The innovation in this process will have one and only one purpose: to deliver the value timely creating smile the at customer’s face.
So, analyze your current process and find the ways how you can improve delivery time and what will make your customers happier when they receive the value from you.
3. Communication Processes
As a third process for which I think is important to be included in your overall innovation strategy is the communication process or process that will enable effective communication from inside to outside company and inside the company.
Yes, you can have innovative products, the best value creation process and the best value shipping process, but your business can still struggle to be a really innovative business if it cannot enable effective communication inside and outside your company.
The communication process is the process that will support all other processes and one of the biggest problems that will be part of this process is poor communication between different parts inside your company and between different parts from your company with outside stakeholders. You need to be aware that extraordinary innovation in your company in large part will be based on these communications.
4. Marketing and Sales Process
These processes will define how you will communicate and sell your innovative products and services to your customers. Yes, with marketing and sales process you company will measure the results for all other process that we have already mentioned as a part of your overall innovation strategy. How you will get, keep, and grow your customers is an important question for your company, and this question will be answered from this processes.
Many entrepreneurs when I tell them that they need to innovate their marketing and sales processes asking the following question: What I can innovate in this processes when there is everything already innovated from someone else? But, this isn’t the right question. When we talk about marketing and sales processes there are too many question that will need to be answered and will lead you to the possible improvements and innovation ideas. Let’s see some of them:
- How I can get more customers compared with the current situation?
- How I can increase the retention rate of my customers?
- How my marketing and sales processes can better support value creation process?
- How I can sell more to my customers?
- How I can make my marketing and sales processes more productive processes?
I think that these questions are enough for you to see many totally new innovation opportunities for your company.
So, it’s your turn. Let’s start to innovate.
Question: Do you have already innovated in the last months in these processes in your company?