No-one starts their own business thinking it will be easy. There will be many challenges along the way. Very often the difference between business success and failure will depend entirely on how you approach those challenges and reframe them into opportunities.
Today my focus is another topic that leads to lots of questions and comments – creating new products and services.
Like many things in life we have to keep our businesses up-to-date, relevant and modern if we are going to attract new customers and stay ahead of our competition.
There are a number of challenges for business owners when considering new ideas and services including:
When thinking about a new business idea or service, take time to think about options and try to build on what you do already. It is usually better and cheaper to build new ideas on what we are already doing rather than try something totally new. Something new will always cost more, may require more resources and marketing and staff may need totally different training. Have a look at what your competitors are doing and ask your customers!! Their feedback might save you a lot of money.
You might need to brainstorm your idea with others – bounce the ideas around with friends, colleagues or a mentor. What evidence do you have that there is a market for your new idea or service? Do you have the skills and attitudes to make it work?
Whenever you introduce something new you do not know if it will work so treat it as an investment. Set a trial period. Actively promote the new product or service and ask for feedback from staff and customers.
We can never be too busy not to think about the future – if you do not do it your competition will! Exploring new ideas and services is an essential part of business planning. It is called ‘being proactive’. Reactive businesses only ever react when something happens and usually after the event. Being proactive means taking charge and creating your own future. It requires us to think creatively and be prepared to take risks. We have to run our businesses with our eyes wide open. Profitable businesses are proactive businesses – they are businesses that think ahead and are willing to invest in something new even if, at the beginning, it is unproven.
When thinking about new ideas and services, think about the business itself - are there little changes you could make that would bring in more customers? Do you communicate well enough with your customers? Do you ask them what they want from you?
Developing new ideas and new services presents us with huge opportunities – we can involve our staff in a different way, we can involve our customers, we can learn new ideas ourselves, we can make the changes we have always wanted to but never quite got round to!
Once you have made the change you must make sure your staff are properly trained and that you tell everyone! Use technology to spread the word – create a new ideas Facebook page. Be proud of your new product or service!!
It is interesting to see that in this Covid world many businesses in the Pacific have reinvented themselves and have created new products and services and found new markets. It has taken a pandemic to release their creativity! We often get very comfortable in our comfort zones and do not want to move out. However, there is really no choice – move on and innovate or stagnate and watch your competitors overtake you!
If you need help with exploring new products or services or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. As always, please contact me if you have an interesting story to tell and are happy for it to be told. More challenges and opportunities next week.
Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
This is the fifth of a new series of articles – positive mindsets for a positive future. Over the next few weeks I will explore some of the most frequent questions I get asked as a business coach and focus on both the challenges and opportunities each one presents.
Founding partner at Breadfruit Consulting.