http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-innovation-image29364378Successfully leveraging innovation can affect all areas of your business.  Learning and applying innovation skills can help you develop new products or services, solve problems, and improve the efficiency of your business operations.  Here are a few examples of how you can use innovation to your advantage.

1. Distinguish your Business from Competitors.  Businesses (regardless of size) can distinguish themselves from others in the marketplace by identifying and developing creative ideas.  Rather than simply following “industry standards” and creating more of the same products, apply an Innovation Strategy to develop products that set your company apart from everyone else.  Look for ways to make your products faster, more efficient or more fun to use.  Set a goal to identify problems faced by your market and create solutions to those problems.  When you implement a solution to a problem faced by everyone in your market, you will definitely stand out from the crowd.

2. Get Free Advertising.  When you distinguish yourself as an innovator (or innovative company), you attract media attention.  Think about all the free advertising today’s most innovative companies receive.  When you develop innovative products that solve industry problems or simply improve the lives of individuals, you will receive media coverage.  Additionally, you can benefit from free “word of mouth” advertising when customers share their excitement about your products with friends, family, and co-workers.  This free advertising provides a tremendous advantage to your business.

3. Attract Top Quality Employees.  Many people want to work for businesses that are making a difference in their market.  When you position your business as an “Innovator”, you get the attention of potential customers as well as potential employees.  By creating a desire in others to work for your company, you are able to pick from the best candidates when you have a job opening or are searching for a contractor.  And, since many people want to work for innovative companies, you will likely have better employee retention.

4. Streamline Internal Business Processes.  Advantages of innovation also include improving your internal business procedures.  By analyzing existing processes, you can identify problems that affect the overall operation of your company.  By applying your innovation skills to those problems, you can streamline the way your business operates.  In many situations, companies have completely eliminated several existing procedures by modifying other processes.  Innovation techniques can be applied to any process, such as internal design processes, manufacturing processes, shipping procedures, and more.

These represent just a few of the many ways to use innovation in your business.  Please share your favorite innovation examples by posting a Comment below.