Innovation does not have necessarily have to involve a massive change to your business, such as a launching a new product launch, changing your service offer, or implementing major adaptations to the production line. Smaller innovations that improve some part of your business can have an equally long-lasting effect on your business – especially if you focus on cost saving ideas.
When talking about innovation, people tend to focus on things being brand new, and never seen before in the market. However, that is not necessarily the case. If a product, service or process is new to your business, then that is an innovation. You do not necessarily need to have had the idea yourself, as long as it is something that new to your business. For example, if another business has developed a more efficient way of producing a similar product to yours, you could learn from their methods and adapt it to your processes.
There are lots of ways that you can bring innovative cost saving ideas in to your business, and the best place to start is to look at the types of waste your business is producing. By looking at what you are throwing away, you can often come up with new solutions to convert them in to something profitable, or to increase efficiency.
Turn waste in to profit
Anything that is wasted in a business is an additional cost, especially if you are having to pay to have it sent to a landfill site. It is highly unlikely you will be able to eliminate all waste from your business, but it is likely that you will be able to convert some of what you are wasting in to something commercially viable.
There is a big market for different types of fuels, and if your business is producing a lot of food, wood or cardboard, or agricultural waste, it could be possible — with some innovative thinking — to convert that in to some kind of bio-fuel. You can then sell this by-product, rather than having to pay to have it taken away. This means that you are not only cutting costs, you could be actively making a profit. Further, it is more sustainable option for your business.
Increase your efficiency
Sometimes, it is necessary to spend a little to save a lot. If the way you manufacture your products or deliver your services is outdated, it is likely that you are not as efficient as you could be.
Innovations in processes to increase your efficiency or streamline your service can save your money in the long term. You can identify parts of your production or service that take the most time to achieve and see whether you can implement a change that reduces it.
Remove features that your customers do not use
If you offer a product or service that has lots of different functions within it, take some time to evaluate whether or not it is actually adding value to your customers. There is no point continuing to develop something that people do not use or want to buy.
Take a look at the reviews of your businesses and see what consumers are saying, or conduct a market test to get some direct feedback. If there is something they love, develop it further and see if you can increase its value, but if there is something that your customers do not like or do not find useful, take it out. For tips on how to conduct a market test for your business, click here for advice written by one of our experts.