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Innovation demands continued customer-focused research

Tackling Innovation with a Fortune 500 Feel

Are you running a small business that is due for an upgrade? Maybe you have some great ideas, but have no idea how to enact them. Whether you’re a small business owner or a Fortune 500 executive, the key to sustainable innovation your business craves is continued customer-focused research. That’s right – the same hot tip you’ve been hearing on the local news is the same one that Fortune 500 execs extoll as gospel.

Doing Your Research

As any good business-person knows: research is key. Without looking into the best ways to effectively reach out to and engage your customer base, you’ll never make it out the gates. Fortunately, you don’t need a big budget to do this kind of research. Here are a few things you can do on the cheap:

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  • Reach Out to Your Customers: Your customers are a valuable source of information about who your business should target and how to do it effectively. Reaching out to your customers (within reason, of course) gives you feedback straight from the horse’s mouth so you can be sure that your research will have the most effect.
  • Analyze Your Competition: Why reinvent the wheel? Take a look at what your competitors are doing and decide what you like and don’t like. Use this data to determine what tactics you can use – or avoid – in order to stand out from your competition.
  • Mine Social Media: Most businesses have some presence on social media, so take the time to use this resource to understand what people are saying about your products. Analyzing the sentiments can tell you a lot about how customers feel about your business and help guide your research.

Breezing Through the Innovation Stage

Once you’ve done the legwork and done your research, it’s time to put your ideas into action and make that big upgrade. But don’t be so quick to coin the new product a success – it pays to validate your efforts and make changes if need be to bring the product to its full potential.

At the end of the day, continuing to research customer needs should be at the heart of any business’s innovation plan. Remember that like so much of life, success in business comes down to the fundamentals. If you can make sure those are covered no matter how much or little money you have, you can finally get the innovation your small business needs.

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