Scott Cathcart

Entrepreneur | Impact Investor | Triathlete

Increasing Innovation With Your Small Business

Changing things up can enhance the bottom line of a small business. When it’s successful, we call that innovation. But how does a small business find the resources for it? Here are a few ways to do so.

Two Heads are Better than One.

Small business owners may feel they have to shoulder the burden of all the important stuff. In their minds, this may include being solely responsible for innovation. 

This is a terrible mistake. Gathering ideas from employees, customers, vendors, and others can multiply the ability to be innovative. 

Seeding New Ideas.

Cross-pollination is a known means to foster innovation. So all employees in the business, including the owner, should cross-train in some fashion. This may take the form of periodically switching roles at the company or shadowing someone with a different job.

Knowing different parts of the business can help enhance understanding of the big picture and foster new insights. It can also help to simply get people out of a rut.

Other ways to foster new ideas can include team building activities, slack time for playing with new tools and software once a week, and encouraging hobbies. People with different creative experiences will see the same problems differently. 

Learn The Process.

Somewhat counterintuitively, the processes for coming up with new ideas can be learned. These processes have been studied, and a lot is known about how best to foster innovation. 

These days, it’s not hard to find study material that fits someone’s learning style, budget, and schedule. Look for books, online courses, and classes from a college or the local Chamber of Commerce.

Some online sources for relevant classes include:

  • IDEO U
  • Coursera
  • The Institute for Management Development
  • Harvard Business School
  • Harvard University’s extension school

Thanks to the internet and a global economy, competition is fierce. But the same forces creating stress for small businesses can also help solve those problems.

 Business owners just have to step up and embrace change, not run from it.

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