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36
INNOVATE

Things To Do Instead of Innovating

Five strategies that will give your business a faster boost.

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Invest In Employees

How important are happy employees? More than you might imagine. David Sirota, co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee, found that businesses with high morale outperformed industry counterparts by 20 percent; those with moderate or low morale underperformed peers by about 5 percent.

Encourage Efficiencies

Don't underestimate the cumulative impact on your bottom line of encouraging employees to make improvements in areas they understand.

Crush Customer Service 

Studies show a positive correlation between customer satisfaction (using the American Customer Satisfaction Index) and share price. In a 2008 study by Vanderbilt University, a portfolio composed of companies with high ACSI scores outperformed the market, gaining 212 percent compared with an increase of 105 percent for the S&P.

Promote Yourself

Dixon Ticonderoga hasn't changed its iconic pencils since World War II. Yet the 218-year-old business boosted sales more than 18 percent in 2012--largely thanks to a public relations effort that resulted in high-impact media impressions, including an Oprah magazine cover.

De-innovate 

At some point, consumers get exhausted by complexity, giving the upper hand to businesses that can simplify an existing model. See Mint.com in the personal accounting space or the Wii controller in gaming.

From the September 2013 issue of Inc. magazine

ADAM BLUESTEIN is a frequent contributor to Inc., writing about health care, innovation, and new technology. He lives with his wife and two children in Burlington, Vermont.
@AdamBluestein




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