How to Innovate in a Stale Industry

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Entrepreneurship is all about innovation. It’s all about coming up with new exciting ideas and using them in order to shift paradigms and make money.

But what if you’re someone who doesn’t easily have new ideas? Or what if you’re in an industry where everything already seems to have been done?

Well, there’s no way to guarantee that you’re going to have exciting new ideas. But what we certainly can do, is to increase the likelihood of that eureka moment happening. And often, this comes down to asking the right questions.

How to Ask the Questions That Lead to Innovation

So, just what are these magical questions that can help you innovate?

The first thing to consider, is just how new ideas come about to begin with. In business, most ideas essentially consist of finding a need and then fulfilling it. This makes your job a little easier – you are trying to find a new need and/or meet it in a new way.

One way to do this is to ask yourself is a service you offer could be automated. This is called ‘productizing’ a service and it’s how many ‘Software As Service’ businesses are born.

Another option is to ask yourself what could be done better. This is what many business people refer to as ‘scratching your own itch’. In other words, you’re looking for the ‘pain points’ – the daily frustrations you experience when you use certain products or services. Is there a way that you could do this better? How could you ensure that others don’t have to experience this same frustration?

Alternatively, consider the target demographic and what their needs and pain points might be. It’s a mistake to lump your entire audience into a single category. Instead, think about them as individuals and as groups and ask yourself whether any cross section of that demographic might have unique needs.

For example, you’re providing a great product or service – but how does someone who travels use that service? Is there a way that you could make your service better for them in light of that? Or what about someone who’s disabled?

By focusing on this group and by offering them a product that is built around their needs, you can come up with something new and hopefully be very successful.
Failing that, why not try the age old technique? Take two products or services and then combine them into a single one!

How to Market a Big New Idea

If you have an exciting new idea for a business, then you may be eager to get the word out and to start making money from it.
The only problem is that new ideas are often the hardest to market. After all, how do you get someone excited for something if they don’t really understand what it is? If there is no precedent and nothing for them to compare it with?

This is something of an uphill struggle then but if you’re smart, there are ways to get around those challenges.

Get People Involved

One of the first tips for marketing a big idea is to get people involved. In other words, let people feel like they are playing some part in your story. This is powerful because people love being a part of a movement. And it works particularly well for something that is exciting and new because that’s the kind of thing people want to be involved with.

This is one of the reasons that Kickstarter works so well. But there are other ways to get people involved too – by letting them name some aspect of your business for example or by asking for donations. Why not print out tshirts that people can wear? And be sure to use inclusive language – words like ‘movement’ are powerful.

Explain the Value Proposition

A value proposition explains what a product can do for someone in terms of improving their life. In other words, this is the bit that is ‘more than the sum of its parts’.

When you sell an ebook on fitness, you aren’t just selling an ebook, you’re selling the feeling of being fit and attractive. You’re selling six pack abs. You’re selling suits that fit perfectly.

While your product might be alien and new, value propositions like this are universal and speak to everyone. Focus on that in your marketing and you’ll find it’s easier to get people excited for what you’re doing.

Make Your Product Stand Out

Your product or service is completely different and new? Then use that. This in itself can be seen as a marketing strategy and you can see it when you look at a product like the Five Finger shoes (shoes with toes). These look so odd that they become a talking point and that means that whenever someone wears them, the company gets exposure and free publicity!

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