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Invest in Ingenuity instead of spending

Wednesday, April 10, 2013   By Mike Reddy


“Creativity may be one of the greatest human assets our business possesses…”

Ingenuity, creativity and innovation stem from our innate desire to create something new, something better. Discovering and offering the newer and the better is the lifeblood of small businesses.

As managers, owners and leaders it is crucial that we encourage and support creativity and innovation in the workplace.

Longevity is always a goal for small businesses and investing in ingenuity is one of the proven ways of ensuring it. In a fluctuating business economy, creativity is what separates the winners from those who fall behind.

Consider the services, leaders and products you most admire. They will always be rooted in innovative, creative aspirations. ‘Innovator’ almost always follows the word ‘entrepreneur’.

Best example? Steve Jobs.  Words commonly used to describe the past-CEO of Apple Inc. are ‘legendary’, ‘futuristic’, ‘visionary’ and the ‘Master of Innovation’.

The Apple empire was born from a seed of creativity and ingenuity, and with Jobs’ infamous perfectionist attention to detail, became one of the all-time most successful companies of our time.

This is a simple model and relatively easy to replicate. However, Apple’s investment in ingenuity is obviously hard to match on a small business platform. The secret is to simply take smaller steps.

Hire a team of varying ages and backgrounds. Increase your gene pool. Create a team that is diverse and has creative depth.

Creativity is the ability to visualise something that does not yet exist – the power lies in taking the idea to fruition.

Focus on results, take risks and always allow room for ideas to flow- the good, the bad and the ugly.

Challenge your team continuously with creative games and contests, designed to get those innovative juices flowing.

Have a particularly puzzling customer challenge? Present it to the team as a hypothetical, encouraging them to stretch the boundaries of possible solutions. You may be surprised what they come up with.

Investing in the future is crucial. Innovation is what infuses small business owners with the power to beat the big guys.

By Mike Reddy, Business Coach

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.