Many times I am asked by clients to review their business model in an effort to help them with their marketing or business development.
There are many times that these same clients have actually developed a product that they feel is superior in performance and appearance.
When I ask them why anyone should prefer their product to any other similar products they always tell me that their product has one or more features that make it better. In this post we will look at the importance of innovation, the traps and the advantages and how to prosper from it.
While making a product better is not a bad thing in and of itself, we must remember that without focusing on the benefits to the potential consumer it is only a feature. At times manufactures get caught up in the race to develop the latest and fastest product. This type of competition can turn out to be frustrating and too expensive for the average entrepreneur.
Many large corporations have lost millions in shareholder wealth trying this strategy.
A new article that came out today illustrates what I am talking about here.
As many of you might remember Apple had introduced the MacBook Air in January of 2008.
At the time everyone was amazed by the thinness of the laptop and what it could do.
Then by November of the same year Levano introduced ThinkPad X300 and demonstrated how it had more features than the Apple MacBook Air.
Now less than a year later, Dell has emerged with the Latitude Z.
One feature that makes this super thin laptop special is that it comes equipped with the latest wireless recharging.
Until now this feature was available for some cell phones, but not for laptops. The Latitude Z like the other two thin laptops are aimed at salespeople, entrepreneurs and others who frequently work away from the office.
So what does this mean to an ntrepreneur with who has developed the latest widget?
Business history has shown us that a new product feature has a limited shelf life. If it is a feature that is in demand by the consumer someone else will develop a comparable one that is cheaper,bigger, smaller, faster, cooler looking, etc. Therein lies two lessons.
One, innovation is not a one time thing. In other words you can not come up with the greatest widget and simply sit back and collect the cash. All entrepreneurs have to constantly innovate and improve or someone else will do it and take away the market share. This lesson is not only for entrepreneurs who make products it is also the same lesson for all business models. Even service based business. Anyone who is successful in making money is ultimately copied by others and will lose their business unless they continue to innovate. Talk to any successful internet marketer and they will tell you that at best they have 90 days before someone will come out with a similiar product.
Second, most entrepreneurs can not rely on build a stable business by just innovating alone.
Rather, what is the foundation of most successful businesses is the customer base and the relationship with that customer base.
A key step is to focus on the needs of the customer and really knowing what they need and want then innovate for those desires. In some ways this may be the opposite of what the majority is doing. Maybe therein lies the advantage?
So how do you innovate continually and get new and exciting ideas?
One way is to be part of a mastermind meeting where you can share ideas and take concepts that are working well in one field and apply them to your business. Some of this countries greatest minds like Edison, Carnegie, Ford and others used the power of the mastermind to help them think out of the box and stay ahead of their competition. You are invited to “Test Drive” a mastermind session for yourself and stay ahead of the competition.