Promoting innovation in your business

Even if your resources are limited even small businesses can be highly innovative.

Innovation in a small business isn’t as difficult as you might think, even if your resources are limited. Innovation isn’t specific to large companies – you can encourage improvements too.

Explain why something needs to change

People like to know why you want them to do something. When asking employees to make improvements, it’s best to be direct and tell them why.

For example, you might say, “Our sales numbers were down last quarter so I think we should find a way to better pitch to prospects.” Understanding the situation can often be strong motivation, and they’re likely to appreciate your honesty.

If employees can see how coming up with an innovative solution to a situation will benefit them, there’s a likely chance they’ll respond well to your request.

Create an innovative environment

If you truly want your business to embrace innovation, you need to allow your staff members the opportunity to:

  • Use their initiative.
  • Regularly brainstorm solutions to problems, or ways of making processes simpler or more efficient.
  • Come up with fresh ideas and new methods to achieve the best results.

By creating an innovative environment there’ll be more chances to take opportunities that present themselves and stay ahead of the competition.

Encourage staff to own their innovations

As a business owner, it can be tempting to micromanage any new development. However, many opportunities for innovation can be ruined if there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

Consider encouraging others to own their innovation instead of looming over their efforts or trying to do it all yourself. Doing so will bring fresh perspectives and can often yield imaginative and unexpected results.

You can always modify any new developments, and employees are more likely to readily adopt something if they’ve had a hand in creating it.

Reward success

If you want to foster innovation in your business, rewarding success is a powerful way to do so – especially if you’re encouraging employees to take an active role. Even if you’re not able to offer a bonus or a promotion as a reward for innovation, try publicly recognizing industrious workers.

A single improvement is great, but letting employees know their work is appreciated can help you develop a culture of innovation that will reap a multitude of future developments.

And don’t forget that innovations don’t have to be enormous. Even a small tweak that improves customer service (or some other aspect of your business) can be celebrated, which will increase the likelihood of similar improvements in the future.

Manage your staff well

In the end, a large part of innovation comes down to managing staff. While larger organizations are able to dedicate more resources to innovation, they can also be cumbersome and slow to implement new ideas.

As a small business, use your flexibility to your advantage by testing out innovative ideas as they’re developed and getting frontline employees to contribute.

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