What It Really Means to Be Innovative

What does it mean to be innovative in business? It became somewhat of a buzzword in 2021. Nearly every business called itself creative. But it’s not just a word you can slap on your about page, and suddenly you’re a business of the future. Most businesses call themselves innovative because they believe they’ve come up with the best products or services, but that’s not innovation. It’s not a word you use to describe your business. It IS your business. And it should sit at the core of and influence everything you do. So what makes a genuinely innovative in business? How do some companies stay ahead of the game? How do they influence market share? It’s by considering the Now, New and Next.

The truth about what it really means to be innovative in business

THE NOW – short-term profit growth

Strategy: the same business model for new markets.

Focus on what you’ve built your reputation for, and then consider other market segments. That’s what it means to be innovative in business. Find new avenues for the same products but into different markets. For example, a timber manufacturer may consider an emerging market for their products overseas. It is an easy win because you’re using proven methods to sell to a larger pool of potential customers. To achieve this, make a list of each new market you could sell to, and define a strategy to target each.

THE NEW – mid-term profit growth

Strategy: the same business model to new markets with new products.

We’re going one step further, using your findings from the ‘now’. You’re going to consider growth from new markets AND products. A biscuit manufacturer may consider adding a gluten-free range, providing a new product using existing equipment and processes in an existing market. Consider the emerging needs of your target market. Ask yourself, where is the ‘bolt-on’ opportunity? What are your customers asking? Do they receive feedback from people who came close to buying but didn’t? What are the things you’ve done to be innovative in business? What else would your clients use before and after using your product?

THE NEXT – long-term profit growth

Strategy: Switching up your business model, delivery, product, and market presence.

This puzzle explores growth from new revenue streams using new strategies. Consider alternative business models that would add value and growth. It could look like enabling parts replacement via digital blueprints and a 3D printer, a disruptor that is already impacting the global manufacturing industry.

The key to making this model a success

When it’s all said and done, you must be ‘brilliant at the basics and understand that automation and digital trends will occur. There are no quick ways to succeed. As business leaders, we must ensure we have a mix of the Now, New and Next to guarantee our long-term sustainability and success.

It would help if you worked on your tiered growth strategy simultaneously, not one after the other, so you don’t fall behind. The New and the Next, in particular, will need to be worked at consistently and over a more extended period if you want them to come to fruition.

TIPs: Don’t forget to involve your team in planning your growth to brainstorm what could be the next disruptor to your industry!


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