As with all business advisors, I am often tasked by my small business clients to help identify ways for them to grow their businesses, but they are often not prepared to consider innovation as a growth strategy. I learnt over time that small business owners are keen to work on increased sales and improved efficiency since combining small steps leading to increased sales with more efficient operations can quickly show results in the bottom line.
However, there are dangers in remaining focussed on the existing ways of doing and sticking with the established product line. Doing more of the same – but better – may help with achieving limited impact. This is why introducing innovation as an approach to growth offers huge promise.
Next episode of the IBASA & EPI Webinar Series
“Supporting your business clients to understand innovation as a growth strategy”
<< CLICK HERE >> to book your seat now
Recently a small business financier asked that I propose a project for one of their clients who are manufacturing materials for the construction industry. This family business established a strong client-base over more than two decades, but their sales started dropping due to new products entering the market and new technologies offering more cost-effective manufacturing techniques. Even their most loyal clients started selecting new products due to the price and functional advantages.
The proposal I delivered to the business was to leverage their existing client-base through innovation in their product offering, but they decided to rather opt for increased marketing of their existing range, aiming to reach new clients.
Were they wrong to select doing more of the same, rather than step into the unknown? We cannot say yet, but what I learnt from this experience was that small business owners often feel intimidated by innovation. They feel innovation belongs in tech startups or in large businesses – not in their own small business.
Innovation is not complicated
Innovation generally refers to changing processes or creating more effective processes, products and ideas, even to create brand new categories of products or services, but this does not have to be a complicated process at all. For businesses, this could mean implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving your existing services and can increase the likelihood of your business succeeding.
In fact, in business, innovation covers nothing more than the improvement of the way the business is organised or renewing its products or services. It may even include straightforward activities such as using better packaging, exploring new marketing ideas or changing your suppliers to give you a competitive edge.
In the next episode of the IBASA & EPI Webinar Series, this topic – how innovation can support small business growth – will be explored with Dr Audrey Verhaeghe, Chairperson of SA Innovation Summit. She is the founder of three companies and is currently leading initiatives to promote innovation across Africa.
Join the informative CPD webinar:
– When: Friday 6 September 2019
– Time: 11h30 to 12h45
– Cost: Free (sponsored by IBASA)
<< CLICK HERE >> to attend
To view past CPD Webinars go to https://www.ibasa.org.za/webinar/
– Christoff Oosthuysen hosts the IBASA & EPI Webinar Series and is the Founding CEO of the Entrepreneurial Planning Institute (EPI).