It’s easy to back-burner new business ideas right now. This age of uncertainty has made focusing on “what works” a much safer bet for companies of all sizes and across all industries. But the truth is, the heroes of business are almost always born from the most challenging times. So, this is no time to rest on your laurels, it’s time to own the future before it owns you.
Balance Creative Endeavors and Their Risks
There are always risks, but if you’re smart about how to mitigate them, you can reap the rewards of your daring. Make sure your creative voices have room to explore, but in the end pursue projects that are practical, relevant, and easy to implement. At least for this year.
Time It Right
Innovating is usually not a quick process, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an open-ended initiative. Set a firm launch date for your projects, or even set a “still viable?” date, so you can take a step back on the work done so far on an initiative and see if all stakeholders agree it’s still worth doing.
The Market Knows Best
Don’t assume you know best. Put aside internal pet projects and prioritize projects you know your customers want and need. When your clients feel their voice is heard, they are more likely to embrace the future product or solution you present to them. Your leadership team will thank you as well, knowing you’re working on something useful and marketable.
Get the Boss to Buy-in
Regular status reports will go a long way. Don’t wait for the end of the quarter to present your setbacks and achievements. Keep the lines of communication open with your CEO, and they will feel more comfortable continuing to fund your efforts. And be honest and transparent in what’s working and what’s not. Your boss can handle it.
Think “Minimum Viable Product”
MVPs are what many start-ups are famous for. Even the earliest incarnation of Facebook was a form of MVP. It allows you to launch with the essentials of the project and then iteratively improve things as your community of customers provides feedback on what they like and what they think needs to be changed. The book “Lean Startup” is where this concept of MVP came from.
Yes, we have stripped down budgets and the risk/reward factor is always at play, but if you fear the future for too long, things could get worse. Embrace these tips and your time on the bleeding edge could be an easier ride than you think.