Small Business Innovation for Growth, Joy, and Profit

Today is the first day of spring.

As we say in Minnesota, "Hell yeah, baby!"

It's a day to ponder new growth, more green, and the joy of life.

Which, come to think of it, is a nice description for small business innovation.

If you're not experiencing at least some growth and joy every day in your business, you're doing it wrong. And you won't have more green to put in the bank.

Want to do small business innovation right?

Then you should follow this advice from Peter Drucker: "The function of a business is to innovate and then market that innovation."

It means that, if you’re in business, you essentially have two functions:

1. create new products and services
2. share them with the world

Create and share -- two ways to experience more growth, joy, and "green" no?

I write a lot about marketing, so let's focus on small business innovation for a second.

Innovation can be complex if you think of it as great leaps forward … the next big, BIG idea … or "Eureka!" moments that land you on the cover of Wired magazine.

But innovation can start small. And take you by surprise.

In fact, to innovate in business, you need only keep an open mind AND open eyes.

Start by looking at every small surprise in your day as a potential innovation. One that you could profit enormously from.

small business innovationExamples of small surprises that can lead to big innovations for your business:

* The customer who uses your product in a surprising way -- and gets unexpectedly pleasant results. Like the sailor who drank boiled down, “condensed” wine before it could be reconstituted with added water. He innovated brandy.

* The product that failed but has parts worth salvaging. Like the online game that failed to take off, but included a tool that enabled photo sharing. The developers scrapped the game and relaunched the web site as Flickr.

* The customers who want faster, slower, cheaper, more expensive, bigger, or smaller versions of your product. Like the little girl who pestered her father, Edwin Land, for an instant copy of the picture he had just taken of her. So Land developed the instant camera.

* The product that produces a surprising result. Like the drug that was initially used to treat high blood pressure and angina, but had a benign, unexpected side effect. That drug was re-purposed as Viagra.

This -- keeping your eyes open for small surprises -- is innovation made simple. It can lead to more growth, joy, and "green" in your life. Like the first day of Spring. Every day.

Something to think about.

And one more thing ...

It's never been harder, yet more important, to protect your confidence as an entrepreneur than today. And it's only going to get worse.

Social media and the mainstream media will infect you with self-doubt about the value of work and free markets ...

... unless you've got access to the right mindset, support, and tools to build your business.

You can get it all here -

Kevin Donlin

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