One of the greatest challenges many entrepreneurs face is that they do not innovate. Competitors who are keen on innovation always get ahead. Businesses that innovate have more ideas and get more customers while keeping the employees’ morale up because they always have new challenges.
So what should an entrepreneur do?
Listen to your customers
Your greatest source of information is your customers. Interact with them so that you can know how your product benefits them and what they feel you can do better to improve your products. Customers will have no interest in the nitty gritty of your operations; however, your UI designs should enhance customer experience and be easy to use.
Do customer surveys and pay close attention to the responses you get. You can also place yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about how you’d want a business to respond to your issues or what would make your experience with the products or services better.
Look at the industry
Pay close attention to what your industry is doing. There is no point in reinventing the wheel, just improve upon what your competitors or anyone else in the marketplace that seems to be doing very well are doing, even those in unrelated industries.
Do not become complacent once you have innovated. There should be no stop to innovation. Every time you do something new, look for ways to make it better and bigger.
Do not pay too much attention to what people are saying. There are many naysayers out there and if you keep on listening to them, you’ll never do anything. It is important to realize that most of the inventions we have today came from people who faced great criticism and ridicule.
Do not be afraid to let your imagination run wild and if you can bring the ideas into tangible results, then, by all means, go ahead and do it.
All work and no play……..
You know what they say about ‘all work and no play, it makes Jack a dull boy.’ As an entrepreneur, you must give yourself time to relax and recharge your batteries. This means if you have a hobby, make time for it because innovation comes from a relaxed mind. Engaging in an activity outside of your work will keep your brain active, curious and imaginative.
By changing your work environment often, you will find that your creativity goes up. Successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson actually work from home sometimes. Being in the same surrounding all the time can actually inhibit your creative flow. If you’re not able to change your work environment, even taking a walk can help the process.
Be willing to listen to your team members, sometimes great ideas can come from the most junior members of your staff. Brainstorm sessions can lead to great ideas. Initiate office competitions with rewards for people who come up with ideas, instil upon them that all ideas are appreciated and see their creativity flourish. Most importantly do not stop innovating if you want to see your business succeed.