What is innovation, and how do you execute on it successfully?
Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “doing something new.” For most of us, it means “something better, more beneficial” than what we were doing before.
In my experience, most — if not all — advisory firms and their owners need to innovate in order to grow. They typically need to do something different to attract more client — add new services and/or processes for converting prospects into clients, etc.
As we all know, the financial industry and it’s consumers are constantly changing. And, to stay relevant, independent advisors need to keep up.
The good news is that most people, including advisory firm owners, innovate naturally. As we do what we do every day, recognize problems and opportunities, and think of better ways to do things.
But, many firm owners have a tendency to address their innovations impulsively and often haphazardly. They see an opportunity for positive change, and they start working on it.
So far so good. But then, they see another opportunity and start working on this, tool, and then another and another. Or they may assign someone else to implement one or more of their innovations.
Can you see where this is going? The owners end up overloading themselves, their employees and their firms. And what would have been positive innovations either don’t work out as well as they might have — or don’t get implemented at all.
Make a Plan
The obvious problem here is owners ignoring what I call “innovation strategy.”
That is, they do not take the time to create a plan for the best way to implement changes to their businesses. And as a result, they don’t get the maximum benefits from those changes.
The first step in a sound innovation strategy is to recognize that successful innovation needs to be implemented in moderation. While change can be very good for a business, it can also be very disruptive when handled with little care.
Most owners want to start with the biggest — most impactful — innovation on their list. But I find, it’s almost always better to start with a smaller, more easily implemented project or two. This allows you to get some success under your belt and build up confidence in yourself and your staff.