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.