Ever had an idea, saw an exciting opportunity or attractive challenge in the market but didn’t know where to start in coming up with an innovative solution? Maybe you are an expert in your field but the business management end of it sounds Greek to you? Know what you want to do but need a second opinion to arrive at an objective perspective?
What you need is a Business Coach; someone specifically trained to use coaching and a solution-focused approach in solving problems to help you turn a challenge into a business opportunity!
In his book The Five Disciplines of Innovation, Curtis Carlson explains how to create successful innovations and turn them into sustainable businesses.
“Innovation is the creation and delivery of a new or improved product that results in lasting value for the customer and sustainable profit for the enterprise.”
When I first began developing products for a financial company, and later as I chaired the bank’s committee responsible for building a culture of innovation, I relied on these five disciplines of innovation:
Important Customer Needs: Focus on what the customer needs – there is an abundance of ideas in the world and you have to hone in on those that are primarily important for your customer; Its about what they want, not what you think they need. To do this well, you must gather customer insights from the very beginning, and continue to do so as you build your business.
Value Creation: Once you know the customer’s needs, focus on creating VALUE for them. It is about making something better, thinking innovatively and solving a problem in the most imaginative way to enable your customer to obtain lasting positive impact. Also, consider WHY you are better than your competition at serving your customer.
Innovation Champion: That is you – the entrepreneur! You are the biggest cheerleader and the star player in this game. You are the leader who will constantly move the idea and business forward – gather support and remove road blocks along the way.
Innovation Team: Every entrepreneur thinks they work alone, but that thought can make the climb up an already steep mountain even longer and harder. By bringing in like-minded individuals who understand your vision and have expertise you might lack, you can ignite the energy you and the team needs to succeed. Find those people who will work with you to meet your execution milestones on time and deliver results you couldn’t otherwise achieve on your own. Running a start-up often requires you to outsource and delegate – there really is strength in numbers.
Organizational Alignment: If you work for a company and are an intrapreneur (an employee who thinks and behaves like an entrepreneur), look for signs of support from your organization. If you are entrepreneur, you might want to explore joining a community of like-minded people to share your journey. Either way, you will benefit from “not doing this alone” and even more when organizational support propels you forward.
“Silicon Valley is not a place. It is a state of mind. It can be anywhere”
When building your business, consider hiring a Business Coach. A business coach is someone trained to use coaching techniques to help you unlock your ideas and execute them to build your business. Having this support at the beginning of your journey is critical to helping you manage and grow your business in a reasonable time. An investment in the right coach can build your confidence in knowing your solution is really what your customers have been waiting for!