Innovation is key to the success of the small business. It’s no secret that small businesses need great and innovative product ideas to keep their businesses alive. In fact, entrepreneurship and innovation are said to go hand in hand. In a Gallup, Innovation has no value without entrepreneurship report, great product ideas are worthless without customers to sell them to and entrepreneurs to implement them.
So small businesses need to keep the momentum going with the best ideas possible. It’s no secret that with the number of competitors for small businesses there sometimes may be a need for more creative ways to gather product ideas.
Here are 3 things that will help with innovation
Define your innovation strategy
When defining your innovation strategy you should collectively have a sit down with all necessary stakeholders. For example, if you are a tech company you should be sitting down with the CEO, CTO, CMO, Sales, Product managers, Research, Design, Developers, Quality Assurance, if possible your most loyal customer and an investor. No one should be left out of the process, as everyone plays a key part in innovation. Determine what real world problems you’ve solved vs ones you haven’t.
Discuss what some of your successful competitors may be doing that you are not. Talk about new challenges that are being faced today that it appears no one is covering. Once you feel you’ve gathered enough information from all team members you can start to organize your ideas.
Utilize Innovation Management Software
Once you have a few ideas in place I would suggest the use of innovation management software for better collaboration. You can use an internally created tool if you have one, or a 3rd party software platform. Innovation management software allows you to collaborate on ideas both internally and externally. While there are a ton of innovation management tools, I saw two that appeared to be really interesting.
As not only did they allow internal collaboration, they allowed external collaboration as well. Per their websites, both Ideascale and Bright Idea are innovation management platforms, that offer; content and collaboration functionalities, idea submission, and idea evaluation. As well as supporting complex use cases, such as crowdsourcing, open innovation and market prediction. Customers are also more susceptible to businesses that include them in the creative process. This can also be another good way of raising brand awareness.
Create a product roadmap
No matter how small your business is or what your business model is, product roadmaps can always be useful. So whether you’re working on your own enterprise software or you have client based products that drive your business, you should consider roadmapping. As roadmapping is a part of strategy creation. Strategy creation sets the tone for what products are coming down the pipe. Strategy creation includes financial forecast, stakeholder management, product strategy and product roadmap.
When roadmapping ensure that you include products that are likely to grow. By utilizing innovation management software for ideation and innovation, you now have a list of ideas from various sources. You can take each idea and identify, analyze and forecast trends. Not only will forecasting trends help with the financial aspect of business, but it will help you build a roadmap of diverse products, that will resonate well with your target markets.
While some of these strategies may not work for all businesses, the goal is to get you thinking about what will help with innovating your business.