Essential Factors that Make an Innovative Startup
New startups are founded every day. While some of them succeed, many more ultimately fail. A common reason for this is that they failed to separate themselves from the crowd. If your startup isn’t innovative, it will be hard to compete with other brands that may have more experience or money than you do. To ensure your startup is innovating and pushing its limits, here are some essential factors you’ll want your startup to have.
A Robust Company Culture
One of the first things you can focus on is your company culture. Company culture sets a tone for each member of the team and helps to foster a sense that everyone is in this together. Without a robust company culture, your employees may feel like your startup lacks direction or that they are not part of something bigger.
To develop a robust company culture, you’ll want to focus on a few things. First, think about why your startup exists. What are your goals or who are you trying to help? Having a solid motivation is the basis for any strong company culture. Next, look for ways to spread these values to your team – maybe a newsletter or through your weekly team meetings.
Finally, keep your company culture in mind when hiring new employees. If you can bring in people who share the same values, you won’t have to spend time teaching them. Ask about values during the hiring process and see how well they align with your own.
Be Creative with Your Budget
As a startup, you likely have a smaller budget than your competitors. To compete with them, you’ll need to find innovative ways to use your budget. You need to make the most out of every dollar and get creative with how you run things.
For example, your competitors may have enough money to run all different kinds of marketing campaigns, while you’ll only be able to run one or two. You’ll then need to decide which one is the best investment. Is it sending out cold emails or would you be better off producing a viral video?
Another area you can get creative is your team. Perhaps you can save some money by outsourcing different parts of your operation or by hiring freelancers. The point is, an innovative startup will look for creative ways to spend each dollar and ensure they get the most out of it.
Adaptable to New Ideas
Being innovative means being willing to try new things. If your startup is stuck in the past and not open to change, it won’t be able to innovate. When an employee suggests a new way of doing things, or a new technology emerges that could help your business, don’t ignore it. Give it the attention it deserves and see if implementing it could improve things in the long-term, even if it means some bumps on the road for the short-term.
For example, maybe one of your employee’s suggests buying cheap domain names related to your startup and redirecting them to your main website. After researching it, you realize this could lead to a funny viral marketing campaign and decide to go forward with it. The result is some great press at a reduced cost. Without this willingness to listen, you would have missed out on a great opportunity.
However, it’s not enough to wait around for new ideas to come to you. Being innovative means actively seeking out new ideas and looking for ways to test them. An innovative startup is one that not only accepts new ideas but embraces them. They always want to be ahead of the curve, rather than playing catch up. The best thing you can do is develop habits that will help you find new ideas when they emerge so that you are among the first to hear about them.
Improve Old Ideas
New ideas are a great way to keep your startup innovative and fresh – but they are not always the best idea. Some of the most innovative startups don’t rely solely on new ideas. Instead, they look for ways to improve old ideas and make them better.
For example, Facebook and Twitter didn’t invent social media. Social networking sites existed before these two startups emerged. However, they found ways to improve on the existing social networks and make them more user-friendly. The result was that these social networking sites grew into giants, while other sites like Friendster vanished by the wayside.
A good exercise is to think about some of the current ways your industry does things. What are the standard practices or processes? Once you have a list of them, brainstorm some ideas on how you could improve them. If you can significantly improve on an old idea, your startup will be innovative without having to come up with its own idea.
Identify and Address a Pain Point
Finally, the best and most innovative startups all do one thing well – they identify what their audience wants and they provide a solution. If your startup isn’t solving some sort of problem for an audience, it won’t last very long.
Therefore, you need to first identify a pain point within your audience. Think about what they struggle to do or have issues with. If you can identify a pain point that is not currently being addressed – or it’s not being addressed well enough – you’ll be ahead of the game. From there you just need to figure out how your startup can best address this pain point. Finding new ways to help out customers is a major component of being innovative and it’s the basis for any strong company.
Being innovative isn’t easy, because if it was, every startup would do it. However, taking the time to find new ideas is typically worth it, so be sure to dedicate time and resources towards this goal for the best results.