Adding something new to your existing product or service offering can significantly increase your business revenue.
However, it’s not always easy for a busy entrepreneur to spot a genuine opportunity. You need to be open to discovering the next big thing for your busines and learn to look in the right places.
New and innovative ideas can come from inside or outside a business. Innovation can be exciting new product that perfectly complements your existing product line. It can take the form of a service provider who adds incredible value to your offering. Even a market scan, business conversation, or magazine article might reveal a brilliant idea.
The first step toward finding new opportunities for your business is being open to receiving them. If you resist change, you’ll quickly dismiss any opportunity that comes your way.
Here are some other promising sources of innovation and ideas.
1. Attend industry events and conferences
There’s probably no greater way to find opportunities than an industry event. They are designed to help participants generate new ideas and make connections.
The purpose of industry events is to give participants useful insights into their industry that they might not otherwise obtain.
Event organizers do that by putting several hundred people in a conference space where they can soak up information from seminar speakers, talk with their peers, sample new products, and hear about industry trends.
2. Read business publications and websites
The more you read, the more opportunities you’ll discover. Publishers do a wonderful job at serving up ideas for innovation.
Go online or head to your local newsstand or bookstore to pick up a copy of insightful publications, such as Inc., Entrepreneur, Canadian Business, Forbes, Fast Company, or WIRED for a healthy dose of inspiration.
3. Review academic research
Universities and colleges perform cutting-edge research projects, with most publishing their findings for public consumption.
Find out what you can about institutions doing research related to your industry.
4. Spy on competitors
While keeping current on your direct competition is always good business practice, try digging deeper to see what they’re up to next.
Do things like subscribe to their newsletter, read their promotional literature, and even become a customer. Go online to read their annual reports, monitor key moves in human resources, and pay attention to strategic alliances.
For some unique insights, you can also learn what you can about suppliers to your competitors. For example, some savvy stock market investors make their money by investing in suppliers about to do more business with Google.
5. Travel more
It’s difficult to be innovative when we do the same thing every day.
In addition to rejuvenating a weary entrepreneur, travelling is one of the best ways to discover a new product, service, or method that you can apply to your own operation. Book some time away from your business in order to discover some new ideas.
Entrepreneurs should always be looking for new opportunities. But it takes time, and it’s difficult to innovate on a schedule. Whether the innovation comes to you within weeks, months, or even years, be sure to start now. Otherwise, you might just miss the next big thing.
Before you take action on any of the information above, we recommend consulting with a qualified business advisor that understands your unique needs and situation for your specific business and/or personal plans.