Sunday, January 17, 2010

Innovation begins with “I” !

This article was written by Carl Woodard, Chairman, SCORE Orange County

clip_image001Happy New Year to you and your business! May 2010 be your best year yet.

Are you still waiting for the fallout from Y2K?  Ten years have passed and all we have are fading memories of the worry and excitement surrounding the much anticipated end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it year 2000. Well, 2000 came and went and only the excitement lingers in our memory.  Exactly the point I want to make. Excitement seems to hang on!

Each new year brings new resolutions.  You commit to lose weight, clean the garage, plant a garden, go back to school, read and travel more, exercise regularly and, perhaps lower your golf score.  What about your business resolutions?  Perhaps you could revise your business plan or develop a better sales tool ....or add some real excitement for your customers.  Why not make 2010 a year of Innovation?

Innovation is not limited to large companies.  In fact, most of the truly new ideas and products germinate in small to medium size organizations.  And new ideas are guaranteed to generate excitement, not only for your customers but also for your employees.  Innovation gives your team something new to talk about.  And new ideas are out there, ready to be discovered.

In just one recent newspaper there are stories of a long-time chicken-only restaurant now offering steak (New menu.  New customer target.  Perhaps new profit!), a business offering a different type of “bar” at weddings (candy novelties), a store now stocking larger sizes to compete with member stores and a group that now recovers and sells bottles of wine from cases partially damaged in transit.  Each idea brings a reason to shout your message to the marketplace.  And, if you are in a service based business, you can find a way to offer new services, too.

It simply begins with asking “What if?”  Sure, you need to set aside some time to concentrate on a little dreaming, but once the ideas begin to flow, more will follow.  Call the process what you want ....thinking outside the box, blue-skying or simply dreaming.  Keep a complete list of your ideas and then give the best ones top priority in the new year.

At SCORE Orange County, we like innovation.  We continue to reach more business owners, or those just starting out, every year.  Last year, as we did in the previous four, we reached more than any other SCORE chapter in the nation.  Call us if you need help with Innovation or your Business Plan.  Then come in to see us, or we can work via the internet.  Do you need to understand your cash flow or learn how to use social networking to improve your business? SCORE offers workshops on many topics throughout the county, most at no charge.  We follow up with personal, confidential, one-on-one counseling either in person or via the internet, always at no charge.  We are well stocked with experts on finance, marketing, sales, human resources and other specialties.  And you can receive these services free.  Simply call us at 714-550-7369 and arrange an appointment or visit us at www.score114.org and sign up for a workshop or reserve an exhibit table at our next Women in Business breakfast meeting on January 15.

Remember ....Innovation begins with “I” ....that means you! And we at SCORE can help. Try us!