Posted: Tue 1st May 2018
At the start-up phase, the innovation flows. But what about as you scale your business?
Dan Martin looks at ways entrepreneurs can keep the new ideas coming and stay innovative as their company grows.
Encourage a culture of innovation and collaboration
The best founders recognise that they are not the only ones with the good ideas and encourage a culture of innovation in their business. You should do the same.
Make it clear that employees can contribute directly to the success and growth of the business and make it easy for them to do it. Think about the structure of your company as too many rigid layers can hamper innovation.
Encourage new ideas with regular team brainstorming sessions and away days. Holding a meeting in a different location to the usual workplace can be a great to way to boost internal innovation.
And don't forget your customers as they can also be a source of innovation. Track the social media conversation about your brand and ask questions about what else they'd like to see from your products or services.
As well as engaging your workspace and customers, using technology across the board is key to successful growth.
"Now more than ever, technology is moving at a phenomenal rate but there are hundreds of businesses that still don't use an online system to track their sales, leads, customers etc.
"However, there are great systems out there that will not only save you time but also make you money, because what a good online system does is act like an employee."
Modern cloud computing services like Google Drive and Amazon Web Services mean you don't have to invest in expensive software upfront. It grows with your business as you're able to buy more computer power when you need it.
Cloud apps also allow you to add solutions beyond what you've initially purchased.
Analytics and measurement is also vital. You should install free services like Google Analytics from day one. But as your business grows and you have more budget, invest in business intelligence tools like Tableau, Zoho and Power BI that let you sift through massive amounts of data and create powerful visualisations.
And don't forget your phone. Smartphones are now so advanced that it's possible for entrepreneurs to run their companies from wherever they are.
Embrace your phone and tablet as vital elements for helping you run an effective business. Sync apps across devices so you and your employees can easily access documents on the move.
Talk to your telecoms provider to ensure you're making the most of all the business solutions that are available.
Be willing to fail
The best entrepreneurs have all failed along the way. Without trying something new, how can you know what will work?
Dhiraj Mukherjee, co-founder of Shazam, the app company that sold to Apple for $400 million, told Tech In Asia:
"Never take no for a final answer; never accept defeat; never give into fear.
"When you do a start-up, everything is stacked against you. You have no money. You have no product. You have no customers. You have no track record. You have no proof of anything you claim. Everything you do is met by resistance, scepticism and rejection. If you give in to it, your career as an entrepreneur will be short and unfulfilled."
It's also something that Praveen Vijh, Eat Natural co-founder, believes. Before launching his successful snack bar brand, the entrepreneur imported rice from India which was sold by supermarket chain Morrisons. But the business didn't work out.
He told The Times:
"It was very important to fail. It teaches you what you're not good at."
While you shouldn't take overly unnecessary risks, trialling new ways of doing things, launching new types of products and expanding to new markets are key factors in scaling up.