The idea of having to develop a groundbreaking innovation can seem as terrifying as it is exciting to many entrepreneurs. Innovation is risky and won’t always go to plan. However, there’s no need to worry, because successful innovation isn’t about being perfect, it’s about continual improvement. Don’t get stressed about the risk: get excited instead.
Get your idea out there
If you have a solid concept that you really believe in, it’s time to put your idea out into the world. Being confident that it can make a difference is the most important part. However, don’t forget to look outside of yourself and understand who your potential audience is.
A shortage of courage is a major obstacle for many Aussie startups. Being brave can put you ahead of the curve. Get people on board, start making plans and know that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time round. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, get distracted or even to lose lots of money.
Go after non-customers
Non-customers are much easier to target, especially when your product isn’t perfect yet. See what areas you can create in your business or in the market that will attract a new group of customers. Keep looking for those gaps that you can fill in.
Look at the classic example of Uber, which targeted passengers who didn’t get taxis because they were way too expensive. Uber was able provide a solution by making a platform that was cheaper and more collaborative than the traditional taxi service.
It’s about thinking ahead
Being innovative in our modern world is all about thinking ahead. You want to be creating solutions for the problems of the future. This doesn’t always mean something extremely unique. It could be as simple as figuring out what will get people excited and interested.
There’s no science in predicting the future. Your guesses might not always be perfect, and that’s okay. Striving for perfection will lead to a lack of creativity, and creativity is one of the most important elements when you’re trying to get your idea noticed.
It’s about the business model
With technology and globalisation creating more and more opportunities for innovation, looking to gain a competitive advantage through a product alone is no longer viable. Consider the variety of products you offer and how they can work together to deliver value. Also important are your customer relationships, key resources and partnerships.
For instance, Apple wasn’t the first company to introduce digital music players to the market with its iPod. There were at least two other existing portable and functional products. What put Apple apart from their competitors was the combination of the iPod and the iTunes store, making it the most convenient way to download and listen to digital music.
Ultimately, innovation is about focusing on doing better and making a difference instead of focusing on on managing risk. Your big idea might start off small and reality might not end up looking like you expected, but keep innovating and don’t stop sharing. Having faith in your product and your business model is key.
About the author
Fred Schebesta is the CEO and co-founder of finder.com.au, whose flagship awards celebrate innovation and excellence among Australian businesses. Entries for the innovation categories are open now: https://www.finder.com.au/finderawards.
See also: “Only the paranoid survive”: finder.com.au’s co-founder on future-proofing his business and Late night hobbyist turned serial entrepreneur.