When it comes to running a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and lose sight of the bigger picture, but it’s absolutely vital for business owners to adopt an innovative mindset in order to stay ahead of their competitors. In fact, over 80% of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results, a study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting shows.
This is according to Jean-Claude Mutajogire, Country Manager at Business Partners International – one of Africa’s leading business risk financiers – who cautions against relaxing on your efforts. “In challenging times, like what we have been experiencing through the Global Economic Slump over the last couple of years, it is especially important to innovate and have a broader, strategic view. Businesses always need to be ready to adapt and recognise new opportunities, or risk being pushed out of the market by the competition.”
In order to do this, Mutajogire suggests business owners set aside time in their diaries on a regular basis to take stock and focus on new ways to innovate. He notes that there are a few things worth considering in this regard. “First, consider the skills within the team; where the business is positioned within the broader market; the business’s current resources and business network; and finally, review the current business model,” Mutajogire explains.
It helps to look at the three aspects of innovating within the business, namely quick, intermediate and big innovations, he adds. “Start with the quick-fix, low-cost ideas that are easy to implement – you’d be surprised how small tweaks have the potential to release a bottleneck and increase business substantially”.
“Intermediate innovations might require a bit more investment in terms of time and resources, such as coaching, new business tools and apps, or upskilling staff with training. Lastly, big innovations include major changes to the way you engage with your customers and your staff, or even your business model, and require a longer-term approach and significant financial investment.”
Mutajogire says that once business owners have gathered their innovation ideas, it is advisable to take a structured approach towards implementation. “Decide where you want to focus your attention, whether it is on your operations, staff, customers or products. Once you start implementing, be open to feedback throughout. Innovation takes you out of your comfort zone, so you need to be able to take it on the chin if you experience some hiccups during the roll-out”.
“With huge potential to help a company to do things better, be more efficient and stay on top of their game, innovation needs to be prioritised by business owners. Business Partners Rwanda offer technical assistance funding to their clients; specifically focused on coaching, training and improving efficiency through innovation and software upgrades within the business.” Mutajogire concludes.