As employees we are all used to going to job interviews and being asked the same old questions… why do you want to work here?… what can you bring to the role? When you make the decision to become self employed and start up by yourself those interview days are well and truly behind you… aren’t they?
Recently I have been asked to justify why I believe my business is innovative. I was told that accountancy is not by reputation a very innovative industry and I would therefore need to state my case on how my business breaks that mould. But how do you determine whether or not your business is innovative?
In order to fully establish whether any business is classed as innovative, we must first be clear on what it means to “innovate”. The Oxford dictionary defines the term innovate as the ability to “make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”.
It is clear to me from this definition that no entire industry can be excluded as a whole from being innovative, and that each business should be individually assessed based on their own merits.
Unique selling point
You have to ask yourself, what sets your business apart from all the others in your industry? What do you offer that no-one else does? What new ideas do you have that may revolutionise your field of work?
From what I can see the main areas to assess are the following:
1) New technology
In modern society the need for information on the move is becoming increasingly important. People want to be able to access what they need when they need it via their smart phones, tablets or laptops. Does your business offer them this kind of service?
Review your business model. What can be made more efficient through the use of modern technology? Maybe creating an app can set you apart from your competitors?
2) Bespoke products
Selling off the shelf products or services is one thing, but being able to tailor that product specifically for each customers needs…..well that’s innovative!
Do each of your customers have a unique experience? Is the product or service they purchased bespoke to them? How can you make your customer experience more bespoke?
A company’s culture can say a lot about their mindset on innovation. Do you keep up to date with the latest news in your industry? Do you form opinions on this news and share it with your customers and business associates?
Do you perhaps write blog posts or articles sharing your knowledge or experiences with others in order to inspire and educate?
4) Social media
Social media is one of the biggest tools in modern business. People live their lives on social media. This is where your customer base is, so if you want to innovate then this is where you need to be!
It is very important in the business world of today that you make your business stand out from the crowd. Don’t get bogged down with industry stereotypes and allow people to “tar you with the same brush” as all the others in your line of work. Although you don’t have to list your credentials to potential employers anymore, you do need to showcase yourself and your business to your customers. Why would they pick you over any other builder, plumber or financial advisor?
Never stop projecting your image and highlighting what makes you different. That in itself deems you as an innovative business.