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Developing Innovation and Creativity in Small Business

by KarenWestwood (follow)
Karen Westwood is an independent business owner with The Body Shop At Home™. For more information visit www.thebodyshop.com.au/TheBodyShopAtHome
Small business (66)      Marketing (60)      Innovation (4)      Branding (2)     
In a world where change is happening faster than ever before and customers have a myriad of choices; brands can quickly come and go, so to stay in the game it’s essential that your business stays ahead of the curve.

Teamwork is an important part to business

There’s no question; business today is tough. The past few years have been a bumpy ride for many and we all know being in small business brings with it many challenges and hurdles, but also many rewards!

Remaining ahead of your peers and being able to recognise (and use) your unique business offering is a key skill in building a successful business venture; developing a creative and innovative workforce is crucial to achieving this type of forward thinking.

Here are a few simple tips to help you give your business that creative edge:

1. Understand your customers: who are they and what do they want?

Be proactive in understanding the market conditions and take the time to assess your target audience.

Once you have realised your customers’ wants, needs and desires, try to adapt your offerings to suit. Don’t be afraid to think outside the square; remember that some of the most obscure business offerings are the most successful.

Make an effort to seek feedback from your customers. While you may not always like the response, it really is the best way to find out if something is working and will enable you to communicate more effectively. And who knows, maybe you will get an insight into that next big thing!

2. Recruit people who live and breath your brand

Understanding your target market is one thing, but ensuring your team understands your customers’ needs is another thing entirely.

Your team is your best asset, as they are the ones communicating directly to your customers. Invest in them and their time; encourage them to learn and understand your business and let them be creative in the way they approach your customers.

Encouraging a creative workforce and welcoming new ideas is a way of fostering innovation within your team. Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable enough to think outside the square and be innovative with their decisions will see your business become the real winner.

3. Be adaptable.

No industry is immune to change and flexibility is essential, so always be prepared to make variations and adapt your business strategy to suit the current climate. Don’t assume you’ll always be walking in the same straight line, because if you do you are simply setting yourself up for hard times.

A business that is unable to adapt to consumer needs is a business that will find success challenging. However, if you can adapt your offering in innovative ways, your brand is likely to not only retain existing customers, but also has the potential to widen its audience and reach new ones.

4. Talk and walk innovation

As a leader in the business, you need to display innovation by example. Implement a strategy that encourages innovative and creative behaviours; this will open the floor for creative thinking from your team.

Recognise the team members that go above and beyond with rewards for innovative ideas. Everyone enjoys being told their doing a fantastic job, and in return your staff are more likely to deliver excellent results.

5. Make it your own!

Put your own spin on the ‘traditional’. Never follow the norm and don’t be afraid to take a chance if you believe in it.

Being innovative isn’t about re-inventing the wheel; it’s about taking a different viewpoint on something and trying to improve what you already have. Small quirky changes can make a big difference. People love fresh creative ideas, new developments and additional offerings.

Adding a personal touch to the way you approach your customers, such as offering incentives and making them feeling special, will allow your creative thinking to shine through.

5. Choose confidence

Confidence doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but you can train yourself to be more self-assured. Put any negative voices aside and remember if you don’t ask – you don’t get.

Your confidence from within will enable you to believe in your goals and ambitions for your business in the future.

Find someone you admire for his or her confidence, learn from their actions and then take it to the next level!

Speak to them and ask questions (tricky ones too!), and find out about their values and beliefs. Learn what they’re good at and not so good at, discover how they’re assertive and take steps to change the way you think and act to take your business to the next level.

#Small Business
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