Thursday, 17 December 2015


If you are conversant with the foreign exchange market in Nigeria, at least you already know that the Naira is exchanging for as much as 260 for 1 dollar. It will be so easy to blame the government for poor monetary policies, but look around you, how many ‘made in Nigeria’ goods are people buying? Nigeria spent about N1.6tn on importation alone in Q1 of 2015. At this rate, there is no reason why the naira will not continue to fall as long as Nigerian businesses give consumers reasons to patronize foreign products. For instance, to fix tiles in the house, we rely on foreigners because most Nigerian businesses do a poor job.
The problem is not just in people not patronising made in Nigeria products, but their lack of confidence regarding the quality of the product, poor creativity and occasionally, high price compared to the quality. I can make excuses for highprice, but not quality and creativity of a Nigerian product.
Many small business owners in Nigeria are yet to compete because they lack the creativity and innovation required to be successful in business. Small businesses should be the champions of innovative thinking because what they lack in terms of capital, they made through innovative ideas. As we enter the New Year, here are few benefits of managing an innovation-oriented business.
Innovation creates more value for your business
Customers buy value, not product. Innovation helps you to create and add more value to your product at a relatively lower cost. When you manage an innovation focused business, your primary assignment will always be to make available improved product or services at a cheaper price. 
Innovation helps you make a balance between quality and cost. Small business owners should devote time to producing quality products/services with additional features, and the problem of lack of patronage for locally produced goods will be taken care of. Spend more time reviewing your product/service with the aim of identifying potential values that customers will be willing to pay for.

It gives you a Competitive advantage
Innovation gives you an edge in business. Take innovation away, no small business will be able to compete effectively in the market. Innovation whether in terms of products, services or even processes distinguishes you from the lot, and gives you a unique identity and position in the market. 
While some big businesses compete based on innovation, others like Dangote group are only surviving not because there is anything innovative about their products, but they have the capital and government backing. If you don’t have the capital or government backing to compete in the market, identifying areas your product or service can provide better solution can help you gain a competitive advantage in the market, because nothing places any business above board like innovation.

It enhances your business reputation
Innovation wins your customers’ confidence. I know of people who are addicted to anything with the Apple brand on it. They don’t question it, they just buy it. This is possible because Apple Inc has built an expectation in their customers, so they don’t have to question their products. 
When customers see how innovative your business has been over time, they develop confidence in your brand, and stick to it. Your business reputation is more important and valuable than the quick profit you want to make. Innovating in business doesn’t come easy but with persistence, you are certain of a great outcome.

Embedding innovation as an integral part of your business activities is the most challenging task; however it is your only choice for growth and competitiveness in the coming year.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What Top Businesses did consistently in 2015

Business in 2015 has been one of the most challenging for many companies. The fluctuating oil prices and terrorism are some factors that shaped business decisions in 2015. The stakes are high; and companies are racing towards out-performing each other in terms of product development and customer satisfaction. That notwithstanding, many companies have succeeded in being above board, innovating, creating new products and giving customers more value for their money. New products hardly appeal to customers for long before they start demanding for something better, and companies are out to ensure that they come to the market when it matters most. Companies like Spacex, Google, Apple, Samsung etc have done relatively well this year, and a closer look at them will show a common denominator and pattern which small businesses can adopt.

Here are a few things innovative companies have done consistently in 2015 to remain successful in the market.

They integrate their dynamic capabilities: Successful companies adapt to changing business environment using their competencies. Innovative companies make the best use of their competencies both within and outside their company to address emerging problems in the world. Samsung embraced Google’s Android operating system and other applications to run on its hardware instead of building its own. They were able to harness both their internal and external competencies to remain the market leaders.  

They are continuously changing: Innovative companies are proactive. They don’t wait for problems to occur before taking steps to address it. They know when the market is saturated and it’s ready for something new. They set pace and decide the trend in the market. Alibaba is an online company that is not just into buying and selling online, but has moved from the financial industry to the entertainment industry. It is eBay-Amazon-Paypal put together. These companies are never late to the market, they know when the ovation is over, and when it’s time to move on to something new.

They invest in people: The best of the innovative companies in 2015 are those that invested in people. They are particular about supporting and challenging their employees and others with direct or indirect contact with their company to explore their innovative power. Providing an enabling environment for people to be creative is what keeps Google, Apple, Spacex etc going in business. As an entrepreneur, have you invested in yourself, how about those working for the success of your business? Innovating in business is one of the most challenging activities an entrepreneur will ever face, but with the right people and the right investment on them, you are sure your business is ready for the future.

They provide better value: Customers always love buying more for less. For a customer, an innovative company is one that will charge less for the same or even better services or products. For instance, Tesla cars are technologically developed to be affordable as well as environmentally friendly. The beauty and attractiveness of any innovative product is the value added. Yes, you cannot reinvent-the-wheel in your business, but the values you are planning to add in the forth coming year could make the difference.

Open Innovation: No company is self reliant. Successful innovative businesses have made open innovation a part of their strategy for new product development. This helps them in partnering with people outside the company in creating a new product as well as sharing the risk. Samsung as well as other companies have been engaging in relationships with global consortiums, Universities, Materials vendors, Research centres etc   with the aim of advancing their technology.

For small businesses, competing in the same market with established businesses in the coming year requires identifying what they have done and will continue to do to remain relevant in the market. Those could be your guide in shaping your business strategy.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

How to create innovation culture in your business

One of the characteristics of great organisations is the ability to develop a culture of innovation. This is a culture that puts a system in place to help the business always develop new-to-the-market products as well as improve on existing products seamlessly. It will be a herculean task bridging the gap between your business, the market and your customers if innovation is not a way of life in your company.

Innovation is like a switch, without turning on the right knob, it will not be enabled to work for your business. In Nigeria, many businesses are yet to enable the innovation culture; they still operate a laggard culture i.e. they are slow to innovate, they focus most of their abilities refurbishing or repairing past innovative successes and soon, they are driven out of the market without knowing it – the Blackberry Company is an example. They have perfectly developed a culture to renovate (fixing current problems) rather than developing a culture that will enable innovation (building and testing new solutions) in their businesses.

If your business is stuck already in the renovation culture, it’s time to stop fixing problems with old solutions. You need to move away from repairs, restoration, and reconstruction of ideas to novelty, advancement and originality of ideas by building a culture of innovation into your business. Here are a few steps you can take towards developing a culture of innovation in your business:

Decide what innovation really means to your business
Culture is a way of life, and what makes a culture tick is the shared language and understanding of phenomenon. Building a culture of innovation requires every member of your organisation to speak the ‘same language,’ and have a common understanding of what innovation means to the business. This common understanding of innovation in turn reflects on every task carried out in your company. Organisations define innovation differently, and this definition is affected by the availability of resources as well as the goals the businesses set out to achieve hence, you cannot define innovation in your business the way your competitor did. You will never get the same result.

Make learning a habit
The first law of innovation is learning and acquiring new knowledge. It is knowledge that drives innovation. Creating an innovation culture entails being a ‘learning company.’ Open up the information system within your organisation, work on improving the level of interaction among employees on one hand, and with the outside world on the other. There is nothing like a lone genius, great innovations came about as a result of multiple interactions amongst people. Like Tom Kelly, CEO of the design firm IDEO pointed out, “Y our only real path to innovation is through people. You can’t really do it alone.” Learning as much as possible from both within and outside your business puts you in a better position to always innovate.

Change your perception of risk
Nothing fuels innovation like a free atmosphere to exercise your mind. Many organisations are slow to innovate even with smart employees because there is no room for failure. Developing a culture of innovation in your company requires creating an atmosphere where people are not afraid to fail. While it is good to be cautious in taking certain business decisions, care needs to be taken to avoid shutting out ideas that may yield innovative products. According to NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, UK, “Make it routine and acceptable to talk about ideas that were tried but ‘failed’. Work from the mindset that the only ‘failure’ is the failure to learn, and that not sharing and learning from things that don’t go as planned is waste and lost productivity” When innovating, don’t think of success or failure of an attempt, rather talk about the lessons learned.

Finally, while moving from a culture of renovation to innovation is challenging, entrepreneurs must see to it that they nurture an environment that will introduce new ideas and new ways of thinking by modelling their business strategy around innovation, and developing a system that challenges the norm.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

What Small Businesses can do in a Trade Exhibition

 The Lagos International Trade Fair is on. New customers are being acquired just as existing customers are being lost to other businesses. An international trade exhibition holds alot of benefits for the economy as well as businesses. As it is now, over 60,000 temporary jobs have been created, and alot of goods and cash are exchanging hands at the event.

To businesses, exhibition events are a great avenue to make new customers especially for new products or features. It provides an opportunity for you to show-case your goods, and engage new customers. A lot of customers get the chance to try new products, and may eventually remain with the new product if it provides more benefits.

While at the fair as a small business owner, you may not have all the luxury and resources to engage in promotional activities like big businesses, but there are few things you can do to get the best out of a trade exhibition, and also to increase your chances of getting customers to switch to your product if possible.

Build a good reputation they can’t resist
The reputation of any business influences how customers remain loyal to it. It deals with an attribute or characteristics you want your business to be known for, and it can be in form of financial performance, product quality, service quality, management effectiveness or the integrity of the owners. A good reputation can enhance customers’ trust and confidence in a business, and help them in making the decision about the business. Trade fair or exhibition event is an opportunity for you to build that reputation that customers will love to associate with.

Understand where their dissatisfaction is coming from
No matter how good a product is, there is always an element of dissatisfaction either in the product or in services that accompany it. The only reason customers are still loyal to a business or product is that there is no better alternative yet or such element of dissatisfaction is negligible when compared with benefits that come with the product. During such an event, customers are looking for something better and new in a product and knowing where customers find dissatisfaction in competitor’s product or service can help you find a new feature in your product. There is nothing that makes it easier for customers to switch brand like dissatisfaction. If you can identify where customers are not yet satisfied in a product, and can fill that void, you are likely to win more customers.

Improve on your service failure response
Service failures are inevitable in business, but ability to respond promptly is key to keeping your customers. It’s interesting how prompt businesses are responding to service failures at the venue of the trade exhibition. No business wants to lose customers on account of not meeting their needs. Service failures can provoke negative complaints and if not properly dealt with could drive away customers. Prompt response to service failures is now being used as selling point and a competitive advantage at the event.

Engage, Engage, Engage
If you can’t any other thing during a trade exhibition, you must engage with other participants customers and other businesses alike.

The whole essence of a trade fair is not just to make quick sales but to learn new tricks as well as engage potential customers. Getting visitors at a trade exhibition to come to your business later as customers is great, but keeping as ‘your customers’ is the ultimate. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Entrepreneurs, their products and the Law

Patent and registered designs are not issues many entrepreneurs and small businesses like you take serious, and for some, it is a case of complete ignorance of what the law expects from them, and how they can use it to protect themselves.

Over the past few days, I counselled a small business owner who is a casual Foot wear designer. He was worried that his product designs were being copied and reproduced at a cheaper rate by an unregistered business. He wants to take it up legally because those who could not afford his product of N4000 for a pair, goes to this other guy to reproduce it at N800.

It was enough reason to be worried especially when someone is feeding from your hard work however,  you have to ensure that legally, you have the right over the property you are claiming. So I ask him, 'How can you prove that this other guy is copying your designs?' he showed me a label of his registered business name on his product, and said, "I have registered this business, I was the first to come up this design."
At this point, I knew that he just like so many other entrepreneurs know much about business and their products but lack sufficient knowledge of the laws guiding as well as protecting their business or product.

When it comes to innovative products and designs, the law specified criterias that give you ownership or patent right.  Some are:

Your registered business doesn't cover your intellectual property
This entrepreneur believes that his registration of a business name automatically covers that of his designs, and that placing his label on the product was enough to indicate that he owes the design. The first lesson I brought to his notice was that there are different laws guiding each. Registering your business name is different from registering your company, as well as different from registering an intellectual property.

Patent right is given to the first person to file a claim, not the first to take it to the market
When the young man said that he was the first to come up with the idea, I laughed because the Nigerian law says, '...the right to a patent in respect of an invention is vested in the statutory inventor, that is to say, the person who, whether or not he is the true inventor, is the first to file, or validly to claim a foreign priority for, a patent application in respect of the invention...'  by implication, it doesn't matter who came up first with the idea or design, what the law recognises is the first person to file a claim of ownership. If you have not filed a claim of ownership of a design or invention, you can't call it yours.

Once it is made public before filing a claim, you can no longer lay claim to it.
By law, you are not expected to make an invention or design you wish to patent public before filing a claim. Making it public before filing, invalidates your claim. The man said he was going to file a claim for the designs, but unfortunately,  it was already late. The design has been in the market for the past three years, so nobody can claim to owe it again. The law only allows for a period of 6 months in case you want to exhibit it officially in an internationally recognised exhibition.

In business, there are laws to protect your creativity, however you must know when and where it applies. That you were the first to come up with an idea in business doesn't give you ownership or patent right over the product. Depending on the country or region where your business is located, it is your responsibility as a business owner to get acquainted with the law to help you protect your business as well as your products from pirates.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Business Lessons from Concorde Supersonic Aircraft

As a young man in 2003 during the last flight of Concorde aircraft from New York to London, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fuss about an aircraft that was retiring and why people were very emotional about it. “If it is retiring, why can’t they build another one?” I asked myself. While writing my last article, ‘3 Reasons Customers resist innovative product,’ Concorde Supersonic Airline was one of the failed ‘innovative products’ I considered, and I discovered that Concorde supersonic aircraft was so good that it wasn’t profitable to build another one.

Concorde Supersonic airline was designed to redefine luxurious air travel, indeed it did. It was the only commercial aircraft that was twice as fast as the speed of sound, and it was able to cut an 8 hours journey down to 3 hours. It was an engineering marvel and a delight to the eyes. Its innovative features were never in doubt, and it broke every market barrier in the aviation industry, and set a standard no other commercial airline could compete with. Its engineering feat was awesome, and technically, Concorde was ‘perfect’. By the time it was ready for the market, about 16 companies placed orders for over 70 aircrafts however, only 14 were eventually built for 2 companies.
So went wrong? Strategy wise, the business model adopted by developers of Concorde led to its resistance by potential buyers. The developers were so focused on the engineering and technical power that they neglected the business aspect of the aircraft. In fact, ‘the aircraft was built by engineers, not entrepreneurs.’ Just like the Concorde, so many businesses today have great products with bad business model. In developing the business model Concorde miss out on:

Customer Input
Customer input in the development of the Concorde was low or non existence. According to a group led by Matt Hooks, “....rather than focusing on the needs of the customers in the aviation market, the developers of the Concorde focused on creating the market itself thinking of the customers second.” The result was a total rejection by would-be customers and even the two airlines that had them in their fleet struggled to keep them profitable. Many entrepreneurs are so excited about the feat their product can perform that they believe, ‘once it is good, customers will buy.’ They are product driven, and care less about the need of the user of such product. Your customers should be an integral part of your product development process. Your business model is never complete without consideration for customers’ input.

Market Potential
The major implication of not including customers in your product design process is that you may likely misinterpret the potentials of your market. The Concorde developers believed that their innovative product will automatically translate into huge customer market. They only defined their market as those who want to fly ‘Supersonic’ without considering if those who could afford it are sufficient to capture value for the organisation. The Concorde’s market was narrowly defined, and its market potential was wrongly assessed, and this affected the value of its market. Entrepreneurs that wrongly assess their market potential will end up misinterpreting their market and losing value to less competitive businesses.

The implication of focusing on performance at the expense of customers’ input and market potential in your business model is the likelihood of wrongly pricing your products. For Concorde, the price was too high that the customers were not ready for the cost that came with it. Innovative products must provide a tradeoff between value and price, product performance is not enough to keep you going in business for long.

Monday, 19 October 2015

3 Considerations Before You Push the Autopilot Button in Business

The ultimate aim of any small business owner is to get to a stage where the business becomes self sustaining or what I refer to it as ‘putting your business on auto pilot.’ That is allowing your business to run with little or no supervision from the owner. This is an error I have discovered recently from some small business owners who have a lot of ideas they want to explore. They are so enthusiastic about their ideas that they want to take all of them to the market at the same time.  While it is good to hands off, as it shows that the business has matured enough to do without you, an entrepreneur must get the timing right.

A friend recently launched a new business. The quality and features of his product was his major selling point and customers loved it. 6 months later, I was invited to assess the business performance and make recommendations. Amongst other things, I observed that my friend never stays around to monitor the activities going on in his business. When I asked, his response was that he wanted to allow the business to run on its own so that he can focus on establishing other things. Great as that may sound, I told him it was too early, and the move was wrong. As usual, he told me “I know what I am doing”
Recently, he told me he was not breaking even and cost was driving him out of business. He then said, “I am not losing customers, but I can’t explain why I am not making profit.”  He couldn’t explain ‘why?’

The early stage of your business is not a time for exploring other business activities, it’s a time to consolidate on what you have, identify the direction and learn more about your current business. Like my friend, you may not be losing customers, cost is going up, and you are not gaining new customers because you are yet to learn the uniqueness of your business. You are yet to identify means to efficiently and effectively satisfy both new and old customers.
The early years of your business is a time for
·         Building a system
There is no better time to put a structure in place than the early days of business. You have to build a structure that will distinguish you in the market and set you on the path of growth.
·         Strengthening strategy
As you grow daily in business, so does your strategy grow older. Handling the activities in your business helps you reinforce your strategies, and better define your business vision.
·         Knowing your customers better
If you are not losing customers, and it cost you more to service the same customers, then there is something about your customers/client that you are missing.

The airways of business are too rocky for you to put your business on auto pilot as a young start-up. The early days of your business are too important to be left under the care of someone else. It should be a time of learning and experimenting, testing strategies and bringing in of creative and innovative ideas into your operation. This cannot be achieved without continuous and systematic innovative activities by business owners.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

3 Reasons Customers Resist Innovative Products (2)

Innovation in business is very important, but most important is developing a product/service consumers are willing to buy. Over the years, many products with innovative features have failed, not because they are not good, in fact, most times, they bring more to the market than existing products. Unfortunately, consumers end up avoiding them leading to over 70-90% of innovation failures and eventual withdrawal of such product from the market. Examples like Microsoft Windows Vista, Apple’s Newton PDA, the Concorde supersonic airplane etc reminds us that not everything innovative finds a market. Some of them actually came into the market when consumers were not ready for such innovation.
Entrepreneurs with new products or services want customers to adopt it and get maximum satisfaction from using them. However, entrepreneurs often face the challenge of convincing customers to move from an existing product where they derive satisfaction, to a new one which its utility is not certain.
Here are some reasons customers may resist your new offerings.

1.      Your products bring too much change
Change is good, but customers don’t always appreciate it when a product is bringing too much change to their lifestyle. For instance, Coca Cola’s attempt to change the original taste of coke was met with resistance. When consumers feel very comfortable with an existing product, they can go to any length to resist any attempt to change it especially when such a change will affect other areas of their lives. This resistance comes as a result of consumers being satisfied with their current situation, and see no reason to change. Habits that have been developed while using a particular product are difficult to do away with. Any product that requires a change in behaviour will likely experience resistance.

2.      Innovations with the wrong technology
Many businesses apply the wrong technology in their market. In Nigeria, when it comes to telecoms, GSM is the way to go. Over 90% of subscribers use it, and it is the preferred network in the world. For companies that came into Nigeria with CDMA technology - Starcomms, Multi-links etc, it wasn’t a favourable market for them. Technology has seasons and regions where they are most appreciated. E-retailers in Nigeria observed that insisting on shoppers buying and paying online alone may not give them the desired result; they decided to introduce ‘Pay-on-delivery.’ This act is building confidence in people to use the technology. The right technology must be one that fits into a people’s lifestyle, values and norms. Every technology introduced into a business must be compatible with the desires of the consumers.

3.      Innovations that are too complex
Keep it simple. Innovation is all about simplifying life. Innovative products are those that are useful to consumers, and are easy to use. Years back, the long process of registering on a website puts off many people, but today, with your social media accounts, it looks seamless. Consumers are always reluctant to go for innovative products that are complex to use, complicated and confusing. If you can’t keep it simple, it’s not good enough.
Consumers’ resistance of a product doesn’t mean a failure, but it points out the need for entrepreneurs to pay more attention to the needs of the market. Bringing a technology that consumers are not familiar with, and the risk level cannot easily be ascertained will create an air of doubt in the consumers. If the resistance is allowed to prolong, it leads to rejection and eventual product failure.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

3 Reasons Customers Resist Innovative Products (1)

Ayomide Oke is a software developer I met in 2013 on my way to Kano state. While we were waiting for the flight to take off, I watched him play around with an application on his device; it was fascinating especially when I discovered it was a financial package. We got talking, and he explained that he was on his way to Abuja to make some presentations to some financial institutions about this package. The package was modelled after M-Pesa, Kenya’s successful e-payment system. He displayed all the features and functions of the application, and how Nigeria’s economy will be better off with the package. I was confident any financial institution will jump at it since Nigeria was talking about a cashless society.

Unfortunately, Ayomide’s story was different.  He explained how difficult it has been for him to sell the product to clients, even though it was a great product. I was thinking aloud why would any client not want such software that will empower the unbanked in rural areas in Nigeria and make the organisation profitable in the long run? So with my background in Marketing, I started probing further into why such a good product got rejected by clients.  One of the questions I asked him was, “After your presentations, what responses do you normally get?” I was expecting to hear all the negatives that can make a product fail, but he said, “I usually get good commendations about the software, but they still can’t commit to buying the package.” If a package is good, and meets the need of the client, why is it being resisted?

Many entrepreneurs like Ayomide have experienced customers’ resistance towards their innovative ideas or products. It’s frustrating because you know your product is good, even the customers can attest to it, yet the product struggles to find a place in the market. This time, the quality of the product or service is not in question, it can compete with existing offerings in the market, but patronage is still not as expected. This time, the problem has gone beyond bad product or poor marketing, other factors have come to play. Even the big corporations experience this too, for instance, as good as the benefits of the electric car are or the proposed self driving car, I have seen people developing cold feet towards these innovations. “They are good, and I like them but they are not my type of cars” are some of the comments I’ve heard. If all that consumers crave for is quality product that will bring high satisfaction, why are they reluctant to adopt same innovations that made it possible?

Understanding why consumers resist innovative products can help entrepreneurs in handling objection as well as making an effective presentation. Unfortunately, most businesses focus mainly on how to get consumers to adopt their products without paying much attention to some reasons why they may resist such products. This is has been the cause of failure for many leading innovative products.

Some of these reasons and how they can be dealt with will be discussed next.

Thursday, 10 September 2015


In my last article, we discussed how business ideas can be converted into new products. Today, we will look at how small businesses can effectively market their new innovative products. This became necessary following an encounter I had with a vendor who came to present an electronic ‘Invitation Card’ that is tied to invitees’ social media platform. After the presentation to the panel, I asked a simple question, “What am I going to do with the card after the event?”
The product was innovative and great, but if we are paying so much for it, we should receive something greater than what the vendor was offering. Unfortunately, the panel didn’t get a convincing response in terms of values he wanted them to pay for. Offering a new product at the right value and price can be very challenging especially when technology is involved, but you can get consumers to consider your product, if you:
1.      Tie your innovation to an ‘important value’
Each feature in a product is valued from very important to not so important. If consumers must pay certain amount for a product, that amount must commensurate with the value they are getting. Consumers will not pay you because you introduced technology into your product. The technology is good, but the most important benefit consumers will get from your product should be your main concern. Don’t push benefits you cannot easily point out its worth to consumers.
2.      Show why your innovation is better
This vendor showed us how his product is different, but failed to point out why it is better than what we were already used to. Differentiating your idea is great, but if consumers cannot figure out what makes it better than existing ideas, you will have problem convincing them to buy. Don’t show us how your innovation is different; show us why it is better.
3.      Make the price ridiculously irresistible
Every new innovation is meant to give more value at a lower price all things being equal. There is a reason every mother would prefer to use diapers than use cloth napkins for their babies even though diapers are more expensive. Innovative ideas must be priced such that the total benefits derived surpass the amount the consumer wants to pay. Don’t give consumers a price tag that will force them to have a rethink about your product.
4.      Present your product features logically
Selling is like learning. When selling, you are trying to teach your customers about your product. You take it step by step, ensuring that they understand every step before you make the next move. Good information help consumers make purchase decisions about a product. The more information you give them about your product, the earlier they reach a decision. Don’t be in a hurry to present your product features, consumers need time to process information provided.

Embedding technology into products/ideas is the commonest means to innovation, however there is no guarantee consumers will buy into it. The first lesson I learnt in Marketing is that a ‘Product is a bundle of benefits’ and consumers are paying for these benefits, not the product. As an entrepreneur, always think in terms of benefits consumers will derive from your products when using it, not the technology that you have embedded into it. Don’t sell technology, sell benefits.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

3 Challenges of converting your Ideas to New Product Development

Businesses are always in constant search for new ideas that will sustain them in the market, and deciding on a particular idea is usually very challenging for entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur, various things can slow down the rate at which you convert your ideas to eventual new product.
For every successful new product development, dozens of promising ideas have been considered by an organisation. The essence of the consideration is to determine which of the ideas is good enough to be introduced into the market at the right time. Timing is key in business decisions, and every idea must be considered along this line. Businesses prefer a business idea that can move into the market faster before that of the competitors.
However, there are delays entrepreneurs will likely encounter before they make that decision to create a new product.

Too many disjointed ideas:
It is good to have a pool of ideas on the table before making a decision, but the more ideas you have for consideration, the slower you will be at picking one. When you have a large number of promising ideas that you are considering at a time, it becomes more difficult to pay attention to any particular one. Each business idea is a process with its own chain of activities, so it is important to consider early which of the ideas is more promising/important, at what cost, and what experience do I have to execute it? The fewer the promising ideas you have, the better your chances of converting one into a finished product.

Capacity of resources:
Every business idea requires resources to make it achievable. Resources help bring ideas to fruition however; when these resources are shared among various promising ideas, it weakens the speed at which you come up with new products. You must understand the capacity of your resources to sustain an idea or group of ideas per time. Taking all ideas with your limited resources will only lead to a crash even before you develop any product

Lack of Experience:
When exploring ideas, it’s important we focus on ideas around our areas of competence. It’s easier to develop ideas around website/App design if you have knowledge in programming than if you don’t have at all. We have alot of aspiring entrepreneurs who go into an industry where they don’t have the needed experience and capacity to breed ideas that can lead to new products hence; they remain stuck in existing products. If you want to convert ideas into new products, begin by considering ideas in your field of experience.

When selecting business ideas, focus on the ones with technical and commercial values, and that has the capacity to keep you motivated into a new product development. New product development is all about speed – getting into the market faster. No business wants to introduce an obsolete product into the market; they make effort on minimizing delays from ideas to new products.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

7 Signs You Are Not an Innovative Business Person

Entrepreneurship has been associated with mainly two things: Being innovative and starting a business. While the later is commonly practiced, the former which is the core of entrepreneurship is largely missing in most businesses. Every entrepreneur can be a business person, but not all business people are considered innovative. Being an entrepreneur demand more than just starting a business, it deals with being innovative. Here are some non-innovative activities some business people are engaged in most times:

1    Churning instead of learning:  If you are engaged in repetitive and unproductive activities, you duplicate efforts without any improvement, then your innovative ability is very low. Innovative business people don’t waste time on repetitive and unproductive activities, once they realize their mistakes, they learn from it, and they move on.

Restricted instead of forward thinking: Creativity and flexibility is the bedrock of every entrepreneurial success. Being too rigid with rules and not using your initiatives in business decision making are some barriers to innovative traits you must avoid. Innovative people are not restricted in their thoughts, and are not held back by setbacks or the past.

Settling for less instead of pursuit of perfection: Those who settle for less are never innovative. If you don’t get uncomfortable with current practices and push yourself to pursue excellent by looking for better ways to achieve new results, you can’t go far in business. Successful entrepreneurs push the envelope with the aim of giving consumers what they didn’t even know they needed.

Myopic instead of visionary: Being too myopic about events and things that work now can hinder you from minding where the market is heading and what customers may likely need tomorrow. Innovative people are progressive, and have that pioneering spirit.

Searching for existing markets instead of creating the market: Are you busy searching for an existing market instead of creating one? Then you are not innovative. Ordinary business people are only interested in moving into existing markets, innovative business people are more concerned with creating, transforming and redefining the market. Existing markets are usually destroyed by innovative firms.

Isolated instead of networking: Isolation is not good for any entrepreneur. If you have problems interacting with others especially those with similar interest, then you can’t be innovative in business. You gain more connecting with people than isolating yourself. Networking is a tool for developing ideas by engaging different people with diverse experiences and background. Other people’s experiences give you inspiration and expand your capacity to imagine solutions beyond your ability as a person.

Risk averse instead of risk taker:  Are you afraid to try new things in your business? Then you are not an innovative business person. Trying out new things keeps the entrepreneur ahead of the game. Calculated big risk yields big reward too!