I have seen so many posts recently in the Small and Medium sized arenas talking about this over the last couple of months I felt like I needed to respond
Statements like “As we move forward 3 things stand out – Innovation is Key – Putting plans in place – Thinking of the future
Is it though, I mean really is it? That’s a little like saying “for me the key to staying alive is breathing” and it’s in the wrong order, future first then plan then innovate, otherwise how do you know what to focus on.
Every large business became large because they looked father into the future then they planned what needed to be done and then sought to innovate better than the competition, notice I didn’t say were better at what they were doing.
It’s such an easy thing to say “oh you need to innovate” to me its becoming an overused word and there seems to be little advice on what needs innovating or how to do it, likewise with looking to the future or how to effectively plan to do it.
Over 99% of businesses in the world have something they sell that creates revenue, they have a way of selling it that turns revenue into profit and a financial system that turns profit into cash.
The Big difference between market leaders and the also ran’s is rarely how good what they sell is (think McDonald’s Burgers) its not how good their customer service is (same example) it’s the 3 key areas hidden between the outcomes I mentioned the big difference is how good they are at sales and marketing, (that’s usually referred to as how effective they are) how good they are at turning revenue into profit (that’s usually referred to as operational efficiency) and how good they are at turning Profit into cash (both financial acumen and very clear management information that reports what works and what doesn’t in the other two areas)
I am not saying you shouldn’t consistently look at your product or service areas for innovation while at the same time saying that only looking there will most likely lead you to the same results you have now, so, think of the future, what do you want to change in the world, your industry or your business? Work that out, create a strategic plan to deliver that change and then focus your innovation there, on your Sales and Marketing, your operational efficiency and on how you look at your data. After all Dominos become the juggernaut it is by offering you an already established product (Pizza) via and established channel (home delivery) “Pipping hot in 30 minutes or less guaranteed”
P.S. they were already delivering it usually within 30 mins the only innovation was in their sales and marketing