Business Breakthrough Series - Part 5

Student Business Center & Business Incubator

October 31, 2013
Innovation declines sharply after the "big-bang" moment of your company's birth. Your company is at its innovative best during the early stages of Phase Zero.  There is a good reason for this.  All you do is innovate, create and develop your business concept.  There is a sense of excitement and hope.  You spend a lot of time investigating your competition. You assess their strengths and weaknesses.  You fashion your company's value proposition.

Innovation begins to slow when you start spending money
.  On a practical level, your have limited funds.  Your cannot afford to make significant changes to your product.  On an emotional level, you have a hard time being objective.  Your business is like your baby.  Your love your little creation, faults and all.

Innovation almost stops when you enter Phases Two and Three.  There is no time to innovate. You are distracted working with customers and putting out fires. You slip from dream mode to survival mode.

The ultimate shock occurs when a new comptetitor joins your marketplace.  They are still basking in the dream-glow of Phase Zero.  It is upsetting when they claim your marketplace's innovative high ground.  Your only consolation is that they too will be supplanted by an even newer player.  It is a continuous market dynamic that affects almost every business that banks on its original big-bang innovation.


Key points to keep in mind:

Innovation is easier during the startup phase because: 
  • Startups have the luxury of time to analyze competition and develop their "secret sauce". 
  • Startups have money to spend on building their initial innovative idea.
Innovation becomes more difficult over time because:
  • The owners are too busy serving customers to focus on innovation.
  • The owners do not have the money to make expensive adjustments to their original investment in their business.
  • The owners are too close to their original innovation. It is their baby. it is part of their soul.

Discussion questions:

1. How about you?  Is your "secret sauce" innovation still fresh or is it getting stale?

2. How are competitor innovations impacting your business now?

3. Do you worry about losing your competitive edge?

4. What steps can you take in your business to create an innovative culture?



« Back to Small Business Center Blog