Innovation in Small Business. Why and how? #ABC

#02 April Blog Challenge Diya Selva You’re a small business owner and you are thinking “Innovation in Small Business seems to be inevitable… Should you innovate?” The short answer is, yes, you should. innovate or get left behind.

#ABC is April Blog Challenge and I intend to blog about one small business challenge a day, every day in April. Today is day two.

So, ‘why’ and ‘how’ are the questions we need to focus on. When I asked a few of my colleagues and peers what their main challenges were, as a small business owner, innovation came up over and over and I decided to dig deeper into it. Yesterday, we spoke about our challenges attracting new customers. Lack of innovation might be connected to it as well.

What is innovation?

Plenty of people I speak to, are skeptical or nervous about innovation. What is innovation? And why is it so challenging?

Innovation is nothing but bringing in something new into your business. It does not have to be a total makeover or something grand. Not every innovative idea is expensive. In every business, there could be fresh ideas that could turn business around, keep customers interested and help you stay up with the times.

Say hello to Frank

Frank (real name withheld) has owned a diner somewhere in the GTA for about 14 years. The only change he thinks he can keep up with, is a new dish introduced in the restaurant every now and then, or a change of table cloth design. Customers who hardly saw any change got bored and started thinning out. Business stopped being lucrative. Frank had almost thrown in the towel when he hired me.

In the beginning, all we did was renovate the menu. We started watching trends of customers that walked in and listened to what they had to say. Frank agreed to take a bold step forward and create additions into a new menu.

Instead of just the classic homestyle meals most diners have to offer, we now added keto friendly, gluten-free and vegan options presented on a beautiful menu binder. We advertised the same with drool-worthy pictures on posters on the restaurant’s exterior and all over his social media. The crowds were back and happily dining away to their heart’s content!

And now, hello Reema!

Reema owns a spa. It’s the usual – manicure, pedicure, facials and eyebrow waxing kind of spa. Business was almost coming to a standstill and Reema started to lose customers that came in for waxing and threading. She touched base with the retreating customers, learned that most of them now preferred laser hair removal to other old-school methods she offered.

Reema did not lose time, she took a certification course on laser hair removal. Purchased equipment necessary for it, advertised on her website and social media and sent out a newsletter to all her customers announcing her offer of laser hair removal services.

And just like that, Viola! Reema was back in business. All she did then was decide to flow with the trend. As time went by Reema also added other trendy services like micro dermabrasion and hydro facials.

It’s power and team work.

Innovation is very powerful, it can drive businesses of any niche to their success. Every large enterprise that we see today has once been a tiny start up. It’s largely creativity and innovation that has taken small basement start ups into stories of global success. #02 Diya Selva

Most innovation happens when a creative person listens to their audience and realize a need for something new. When people were creating graphics to post on social media, Canva and such other unique self serve graphic boutiques came out. When someone saw the pain of small businesses trying to keep up with their schedule of posting on time to their social media, businesses like Hoot Suite and Tailwind brought out easy options of scheduling services.

Innovation is teamwork. Its a great idea to involve your partners and employees and have brainstorming group sessions for ideas that could make you go big. The right innovative idea could transform the direction your company is heading towards. Here is an article about a few head spinning innovative ideas that will storm the world in a few years.

To create a new product or service that customers never realized they needed but now cannot live without? What would that mean for you other than more business, more money, more chances of hitting it big? So, constantly innovate! Bring something fresh, new, unique into your business periodically. This should not be a challenge.

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