The world is full of bright, wise entrepreneurs, with many unique and innovative ideas. However, many of these innovative ideas never come to fruition, because these entrepreneurs don’t have the experience to execute their ideas. They don’t know what to watch out for, what the risks are, or the potential blind spots, and as a result, they fail to launch on the innovation. Much of the literature on innovative business ideas are focused on the process of creating innovation or generating money for their venture. This is fine and good, but there is very little literature on how to execute the new idea once you’ve come up with it and generated the funding. This is to the detriment of many entrepreneurs who ultimately end up failing because they focus on the innovation and not the execution.
Different is Often Better Than Better
In business, different is often better than better. There is always going to be competition that is trying to come up with the next bigger and better thing, to the point that by the time you launch your product that is 20% cheaper, or 20% faster, there is already another company preparing for the launch of their product that is an additional 20% cheaper and faster. The trick is to differentiate your product with an angle that is completely untapped by your competition. An example of this goes back to the initial rise of cell phones. Most companies were producing phones and marketing the call quality and clarity of the sound, each brand trying to put out a phone that could produce a “better” overall call. Nokia, on the other hand, noticed that cell phones were appealing to the teenage demographic, and decided to come out with phones in a variety of color selections. Their sales went through the roof. They changed their definition of better, based on what their audience wanted, and saw wild success because of it. Instead of saying “this is a serious technology business and we’re going to put out a very serious product,” as other companies did, Nokia listened to their customer base, created something different, and laughed all the way to the bank.
Evaluating New Product Ideas
Innovative ideas require a certain amount of discernment. It can be incredibly difficult to evaluate new ideas, especially innovative ideas that are unique, and many companies don’t have a good process for assessing the worth of their brainstorming. Things are done based on gut feel, or just trying certain things, but there is a better way to evaluate these new ideas. The simple solution is to get feedback from the market. The long answer requires some differentiation between B2B sales and B2C sales. With B2B companies, you don’t have much access to the market in order to get that feedback. The challenge becomes finding the right individuals at the company you’re selling to and trying to get educated answers. In B2C sales, evaluating new product ideas is best done with a focus group. If you’re a large company and have the budget to survey 20,000 people, do so. But if you’re a smaller company, start with your close circle of family and friends, or find other people who will give you their evaluation for free. The bottom line is simply that you need to do research and go to market only after you have done that in-depth research, by whatever means are accessible to you.
Fitting In and Avoiding Internal Cannibalism:
After you have the genesis of your innovative idea, confirmed that it is different, and evaluated it based on market opinion, you are now ready to launch this innovative idea. One potential remaining challenge is finding a subdivision of the organization that can take on this new idea. If it’s truly an innovative idea, chances are there’s not one area or team that perfectly fits to oversee it, and it can be a challenge to find that area where the new idea will be best received. Often times, new ideas will compete with the old product, and a dynamic of internal cannibalism will take over. The solution is to either create a new division to adopt the project or otherwise tweaking a current division to incorporate your newest innovation.
Challenges For Small Organizations:
When creating and executing innovative ideas, small companies face certain challenges. Many startup companies fail, just because the original founder gets bored, gets a better job offer, or otherwise leaves the company. You have to ensure that the founding team is committed and passionate about innovation and staying with the company. The other challenge that small organizations face is ensuring that they have a backup plan so that if someone does leave, there are two or three other people on the team who can keep the ball rolling after their departure. The solution to the challenges that small organizations face is having a plan for each stage, and ensuring that you have a backup plan so that you’re not just letting things develop organically.