Profit From Ideas
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Product development and innovation are the lifeblood of business. To succeed it’s essential to have new ideas that will differentiate your business from its competitors. All products have a certain life cycle and, just like wallpaper, they can quickly become out of date and in need of change.
Change is not only good, it’s important. Where change does not occur competitors will sweep in and your business could lose the competitive advantage you have spent years building up.
But innovation and change are not only for larger companies; it applies equally to the smaller business. They, in fact, have much to offer in this area, with their flexibility, energy, willingness to embrace new ideas, ability to hear what the customer is saying and above all to get to the market more quickly. In today’s dot.com society that is frequently the most important factor.
Innovation is about ideas, and using them to the best advantage of the business. Ideas can come from anywhere and anybody. Everyone has ideas, though some people don’t always recognise this. For a business to become truly innovative management needs to listen to everyone in the organisation, and where necessary actually ask people for their thoughts.
This may well mean a cultural change throughout the business and encouraging people to share ideas. This can be done everywhere – in product development, service and production – but will involve getting the right balance of creative, technical and managerial skills.
To profit from ideas and become truly innovative evaluate your current position within the marketplace, customers’ needs and demands and the effectiveness of your products/services to fulfil these. The more value that can be added to the product or service the more likely it is that sustainable competitive advantage can be developed. This is the key to long-term profit.