How Small Business Owners Can Encourage Innovation

Posted by Karen Erdelac on May 18, 2017

How Small Business Owners Can Encourage InnovationIn order to stand out these days you need to take chances and try new things.  As a small business owner you should always be looking to provide cutting edge products and services while utilizing fresh techniques.  Innovation can come in many forms.  Whether you’re developing new products, different uses for current inventions or using traditional techniques to improve upon an already great product, innovation is at the center of small business success.  Brainstorming sessions and employees dedicated to the long term vision of your company will give your innovations the best chance to take hold.  One of the biggest advantages of owning a small business is the ability to make changes and pivot quickly.  Innovative products that meet a specific demand are necessary to remain competitive.  Creating and maintaining a unique brand takes a continued effort and your ability to adapt and change with the times will determine your staying power.  While it’s important not to jump on every passing trend, you always want to be thinking towards the future.  Most owners realize the need for change but it can be difficult to determine where to dedicate your resources.  Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your company stays on the cutting edge of your industry.

Get Involved

Chances are your responsibilities as CEO take up a large portion of your time.  While daily operations can’t take a back seat it can be a good idea to contribute in other ways.  Consider helping your staff with their tasks and learn something new.  This not only breaks the monotony of your day it can also provide you with insights into how to improve the efficiency of your business.

Know Your Staff

Getting to know the people that make your business run can provide you with long term relationships and the satisfaction of watching people you care about succeed.  It also gives you an opportunity to share stories and business experiences.  Building camaraderie with your employees will encourage them to work harder for you and in the end allow you to provide a higher quality product.

Continued Education

How Small Business Owners Can Encourage InnovationContinuing to educate yourself as well as your employees is at the core of small business innovation.  Knowing the ins and outs of your industry as well as the challenges that have yet to be solved will give you the foundation necessary to craft new ideas.  There are an endless amount of online courses that offer an easy way to learn new concepts.  An investment in higher education will increase your credibility and provide you with strong connections that will help move your company forward.

New Positions

Technology and the complexities of today’s business world require small companies to expand their infrastructure.  A strong online presence has become a fundamental aspect of any business plan and having the right people in place to make that happen is more important than ever.  Often times an owner will take on too big of a workload which can cause inefficiencies and stagnation.  Delegating responsibilities will help free up time for you to focus on growing your business.

Encourage Brainstorming

Nurturing the creativity of your employees can provide a myriad of benefits to your business.  Not only does it make them feel like they are a part of something, the ideas they share can help shape your business.  Encourage active participation from all employees when it comes to brainstorming ways to improve your company.  You can set up suggestion boxes and hold an open forum during company meetings to open up discussions.  Be sure to credit and reward your employees for their contributions to encourage others to bring their ideas to the table.

Events and Trade Shows

Attending industry events will expose you to the latest products and trends.  This serves as research that can be used to create new and better solutions to common issues.  Trade shows are also major networking opportunities and the connections made can impact every aspect of your business.  You may come in contact with potential clients, distributors, suppliers and even employees.  Make sure you have a clear plan and objective before attending to ensure you get the most out of the experience.

Self Preservation

Keeping your mind and body in good condition will give you more energy, help you to focus and allow you to have a more positive mental attitude.  Proper nutrition and getting enough sleep contribute greatly to your health and well being.  They also will help to reduce the significant stress levels associated with running a small business.  Taking time off is also important to keep your mind fresh which will aide in creativity and innovation.  Making a conscious effort to take care of yourself on a daily basis will improve your overall health as well as the health of your business.

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Topics: small business owner