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5 Ways to Stay Innovative and Fuel Business Growth in Nigeria

As a business owner, innovation is an indispensable strategy to stay afloat in the business world. Innovation can be defined as a new or improved product or process (or a combination thereof) that differs significantly from the unit’s previous products or processes and that has been made available to potential users (product) or brought into use by the unit (process). From this definition, you can’t afford to be innovative, else you’ll be forced packing by your competitors. In this article, I discuss 5 ways to stay innovative and fuel business growth.

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1. Do Your Research

Do you know what is new in your niche or industry? Do you know why big companies thriving while others are downsizing? How best can you improve your products/services? The answers to these questions and more lie in researching. Any business without a research arm is headed for an untimely death. Reading industry publications and related research materials will keep you informed, advanced, and help you take appropriate steps towards innovating your business. Some publications that may help you include Forbes, World Economic Forum, WIRED, CanadaOne, etc. Academic journals like the Wall Street Journal, Journal of Business Research should be your best friend as a businessperson.

2. Networking

Sharing ideas is at the heart of innovation. No company grows in isolation. As a businessperson, it’s advisable to attend tradeshows, trade fairs, business conferences, and similar events that are in relation to your niche or industry. These places are spots for engaging like-minds in sharing and getting information.

3. Keep An Eye On Your Competitors

It will be self-deception to think you’ve no competitors in your niche or industry. It is good to network with your competitor for the sake of averting unhealthy rivalry but go further in studying their strengths and weaknesses. Find out the gaps in their mode of operation and fill them, and make them stronger for your business. Furthermore, understand what your competitors are good at and emulate the same, but apply the modification to give it originality. Here are some spots to keep an eye on your competitor:

Company websites

Press release

Online and print news articles

Company blogs

Social media accounts

Company newsletters

Annual Reports

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4. Fund Your Innovation

Lack of money should not be an excuse why you shouldn’t pursue innovative ideas in your business. There are various ways to fund your business. They include bank loans, personal savings, government programmes, Angel investors, private grants, and so on. In Nigeria, there are several organizations that invest in businesses, such as Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), YouWIN Connect Nigeria, Bank Of Industry (BOI), GroFin Fund, Diamond Bank BET Programme, AYEEN Financial Grant, and Lagos State Entrepreneurs Trust Fund (LSETF). In order to get funding for your businesses ensure your books (bank statements, annual statement of account, tax statement, etc.) are ready because investors will be asking for them.

5. Feed On Customers’ Feedbacks

Connecting with your customers is a way of boosting the innovation drive of your business. Bill Gates says ”customers are always right.” This statement is right in many respects. Your relationship with your customers cannot be overemphasized. In today’s digital world, it’s easier to connect with them through multiple platforms, especially on social media. For example, you can introduce a new product design through your company’s social media handles and watch the reactions of your audience.  From their feedback, you can tell if the new design is good or bad or as well still improve on it till.

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Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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