Innovation can become the source of competitive advantage for any business. It can help you to raise the bar and rise above your competitors. It can position you as a leader in the industry. On the other hand, a lack of it can inevitably leave you shutting shop because you haven’t progressed your product or service to match changing customer trends, improvements in technology, or a competitive and innovative industry.
So why do some innovative businesses fail? A talented, innovative entrepreneur has an endless supply of bright ideas and is easily inspired to build on existing concepts. A successful entrepreneur knows when and how to pursue a single innovation, make it a reality, and focus energy on marketing it to the right audiences.
As business and leadership coach I too often see talented business owners try to implement too many ideas at once, leaving them over worked with little time to offer any of the finished products in the marketplace! I also hear many of these bright minds talk about how they struggle to reach their sales targets or that they find it difficult to come up with a clear marketing strategy. Often, this is because the target market is too broad, the marketing messages are complicated and the business mission is unclear.
The balancing act to innovation
There is a good saying: “everything in moderation”. Yes you need to innovate, but don’t get distracted by the bright shiny objects! Here are some tips on how to find that balance…
Get laser clarity – It is better to focus on your brightest idea or in your zone of genius, and do the same thing over and over. Stop trying to do 20 things you’re OK at. Instead focus, focus, focus on what makes you unique and what you do best.
No more bright shiny objects – Yes you need to innovate to stay in and ahead of the pack, but don’t get distracted. Learn how to identify “when” you need to innovate by having a clear strategic plan and sound systems in place to implement it.
Build a team with the RIGHT mix of people – I won’t go into detail about the risks of hiring a bunch of people who are all thinkers – or even a group of people who have the same skill set. You need the right mix of people that will help you to methodically implement your strategic plan. You need someone that is not like you, but who complements you. Maybe you’re a big thinker with bright ideas? If so, you may need to hire a “doer” – a person who loves to get their hands dirty and get things done or a “strategiser” – a person who loves to create a clear path of stepping stones to achieve an outcome.
Be consistent – I can’t emphasize this enough: It’s better to do one thing that your brilliant at over and over rather than do a bunch of different things that you’re OK at. You’ll get better results by focusing your mind, energy, products and services as well as your audience and messages.