By John Turner, founder of SeedProd
Every business owner wants their company to meet all financial expectations and see consistent, strong growth. Today, due to the shocking number of small businesses popping up on a regular basis -- and sticking around -- many are concerned about how far we can push innovation and grow.
Consider this: The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy stated in a report that the number of small-end companies tend to stay open longer than ever before. They found that 78.5 percent of businesses stay open for longer than a year. The big shocker is that about one-third of all small businesses stay open for ten years or longer.
Why are more businesses able to stay open longer? The most obvious answer is that innovation has exploded in the small business realm. This trend seems to be mostly due to new and exciting technology. Even old technology is being used in surprising ways.
Let's examine what you need to think about if you want to innovate within your company.
Look for new ways to use existing tech.
Whether you are developing your own software or looking for a way to serve more customers with the same staff, existing technology offers some pretty amazing options. All you have to do is pick up your smartphone and you can see how people are innovating through applications and virtual services.
Simply look at Uber and Lyft if you want to see how updated versions of outdated tech, like GPS tracking, improve the customer experience and make work easier for the employee. The customer and driver can see each other's locations in real time, saving time, reducing traffic, providing the customer with a smooth experience and keeping the driver happy.
Surely this was not the intent of GPS when it was created, but companies are finding new ways to use the software to help create a stable company model. A detailed case study titled Workplace Innovation and Technological Change concluded that there is a strong correlation between businesses that expand on existing technology and those that have a successful, sustainable business structure.
Think about your current business model and processes. How can technology make what you're already doing easier? Can you benefit from faster internet speeds? How can you change existing tech to improve the quality of your company? These are the questions you need to constantly be asking yourself.
Failure happens. Overcome it.
Every single business in the world experiences failure to some degree. Companies worth billions fail every single day. Look no further than Microsoft. It is currently worth $753 billion and has made numerous failed products since its inception in 1975. In the past, it bombed with Windows ME -- an operating system with more holes than swiss cheese. In 2017, it officially announced it was pulling the plug on the Windows phone.
The point is, not every idea is going to work out flawlessly. Products will fail, accidents will happen and failure will strike every once in a while. But if you want to innovate properly you have to not only expect but also embrace failure. When it does happen to you, think about smart questions like why it happened instead of frantically wondering what you did wrong. A detailed postmortem of a failed idea or product usually has a valuable takeaway you can apply when creating future products.
Plan smart, plan ahead.
Innovation requires you to plan ahead; there's no doubt about it. You cannot innovate if you're not willing to think about the trends that are not available but could be big. Your job is to turn that vision of the future into a reality.
Besides thinking about the future, you need to be willing to plan for the company financially and on a resource level. For example, if you are thinking about expanding your company to other markets, perhaps overseas, you need to plan ahead and make sure you're able to overcome the potential overload.
Successful planning breeds innovation because it allows you, the business owner, to focus more on success and what you can do better instead of worrying about whether or not you have enough of your product.
When you're building your business, think about the different ways innovation can happen. It may appear as an original idea, you might see something someone else is doing and know how to make it better, or you could take an idea that has existed for decades and improve it. Innovation is an evolving process and there's no doubt the next batch of business owners have some mind-blowing technological advances coming our way.
John Turner is the founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.