Innovation Lessons From Entrepreneurs

A female entrepreneur at a Dell event.

Photo Credit: Dell, Inc.

The Wall Street Journal’s recent honoring of small businesses and entrepreneurs brought up some ideas that any start-up or small business owner can implement. You don’t need to be an honoree in order to adopt the innovation techniques used by the winners’ companies, especially in the economic downturn. Many of the ideals that can be taken from the winning business philosophies are applicable for founders and CEOs of organizations across verticals, ideals such as:

  • Offering your customers what they can afford;
  • Lowering your operational costs by using freeware or by keeping the work in-house where possible;
  • Provide solutions to problems;
  • Shorten the time it takes to bring new products to market (but dno’t sacrifice quality):
  • Continuous process improvement;
  • Don’t be afraid to say no;
  • Don’t be afraid to discard a business plan that isn’t working;
  • Don’t be afraid to scrap a product that isn’t selling;
  • If your core business is weak, create new offerings;
  • Broaden your base;
  • Don’t trap yourself in a business cul-de-sac — you should always have a way to move forward, or at least laterally, never backwards.

These are just some of the takeaways from the Wall Street Journal’s Most Innovative Entrepreneur competition. What will you learn from the winners?