From a very young age we are taught to get in a line to receive the offering at the other end. That may be lunch at school, a line to see Santa, a line at a theme park, or maybe a line to get into a concert. The whole purpose was to create some sort of orderly entrance. However, as we grew up and got into business, or worked for someone, the line was still there. Get in line to see your potential customer!!! Whoa! Stop right there! This is not the place to accept a line! This is where you should do something to stand out, to get to the front of the line or eliminate the line all together.
I wanted to write this blog today, because there was one particular business involvement where I experienced this first hand. I had gone out and bought a business in an industry that really interested me, but I had no experience in. I did not research things carefully enough, oh heck, I did not research things at all! I knew better.
During this time, a government grant became available for marketing. Well, I was so excited. I wanted to learn everything I could about the marketing tactics that were being practiced in the industry. My consultant, who was very versed in the industry, advised me to get in line, and stay in line and do what all the other companies were doing and to wait my turn. When you are a small business, with limited resources, you just can’t sit and wait your turn!
I did not want to learn about the industry protocol. I wanted to figure out how to get to the front of the line or eliminate the line all together. I was disappointed I did not get the “creative marketing” breakthrough I was craving. I know Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have not stood in line like good little soldiers and waited their turn. They made things happen through innovation. Pushing the parameters of their industry.
So, my thoughts on this subject. Don’t allow the rules of your industry to keep you in a box. Explore the legal possibilities of the area around the outside edge of the box. Examples would be: Are you clear of you target market(s)? Can your business market differently than your competitors? Can you develop a different distribution method? A different market? Position the product differently? Market to a different demographic? In a wholesale environment can you create a push to the retailers and market directly to the end user? Sometimes it’s a business system that might be stopping the flow of sales......... The list goes on.
Once you have an idea you think could work, do a small test market/study. If that works, make the study a bit bigger. If it doesn’t work, go back to the outer edge and brainstorm new ideas or simply tweak the idea you already tried. This is where innovation is found. This is the area of pushing the boundaries.
So, in closing, do a small stretch, check out the blue space of innovation, and brainstorm how you can make your product or service attractive to your target customer. Just some tidbits of thought to get your creative juices flowing.
Creative thought is usually tweaking something very small in order to get a desired outcome. It is not usually something plucked out of thin air. Small little steps to better. That’s it.