Seven Innovation Skills that Can Double Sales and Profitability | Turnaround Tuesdays with Mark Faust


Looking for some powerful ways to super-charge your business continuity plan and carry you long past pandemic challenges? Consider putting these creative ways of turning things around to work ...


Seven Innovation Skills that Can Double Sales and Profitability

1. Connecting the Unconnected

One innovation skill has to do with the ability to connect two unconnected issues for a new solution or dynamic. Get your team to look at solutions and innovations from outside your company, industry and business.

2. Challenge the Status Quo

Continually encourage your team to ask why, why not, and what if, of the many givens in your business. Great innovations come from someone asking a great question. I have seen some companies benefit by actually having a list of these questions that they will pull out when dealing with their top objectives, challenges and constraints.

3. Flipping

Taking a position or issue and flipping it (or your conversation or consideration about it) to the opposite view is a common technique innovators use to change paradigms and discover new solutions. Playing devil’s advocate or flipping an issue to the opposite possibility tends to create a synthesis and thus a new idea. If you were to have sales or marketing people regularly attempt to persuade you or others as to why a customer should buy from the competition, odds are you will all learn something, and perhaps innovate a new marketing or sales approach.

4. Embracing Constraints

Great questions create nonexistent constraints. For example, ask your team questions like, “If we weren’t currently carrying this product or selling to this market or conducting business in this manner, would we even consider beginning to?” Or, “If we were legally prevented from selling to any of our existing customers, how would you make money next year?” A false constraint challenges one’s mind to think of alternatives and is an excellent exercise to facilitate with a sales team to help them innovate ways to sell to more non-customers.

5. Study Customers Like a Scientist

A common Japanese saying used in many businesses is “genchi genbutsu,” which means, “going to the spot and seeing for yourself.” The concept is to go to your customers as they are using your product or service and actually watching and intently studying them and their situation.

6. Experimenting

Perhaps you are already familiar with test marketing and the “A/B Testing” of alternate advertising campaigns to continuously improve your customer acquisition, but how much more experimentation could you do? When leaders talk about wanting to encourage their team members to be unafraid of failure and to learn from their mistakes, they expect their team members to engage in calculated risk-taking and continual experimentation to improve processes. Encourage your team to test and experiment more often for improvements they could implement. Consider holding lunch-and-learns where people share their experiments, lessons learned, failures and of course, successes.

7. Networking

In one company there hangs a sign in most everyone’s office. It reads: “The insights required to solve many of our most challenging problems come from outside our industry and scientific field. We must aggressively and proudly incorporate into our work, findings and advances which were not invented here.”

As a leader, you must work to expel the “Not Invented Here” syndrome and encourage your people to network widely inside and perhaps outside the industry. Some have said that changes only happen to people because of the books they’ve read and the people they’ve met. Finding places where best practices are shared, and where productive yet diverse relationships are built, will help to bring more innovation into your workplace.


About Mark Faust

Each Tuesday, turnaround consultant Mark Faust will be sharing his expertise on how to turn around your small business. His blogs will be filled with practical insights and basic turnaround strategies designed to guide you through crisis leadership and change management.  You'll be able to tap into tips on everything from profitability issues, business continuity plans and pandemic pivots to operational processes, marketing and customers additional value.

As one of the companies he helped grow, we know first hand how inspiring his leadership is and just how well it works! Mark has also agreed to make his best-selling book ‘Growth or Bust’ available, free of charge, to any small business to help them create  their own effective turnaround plan. We’ll be sharing that with you soon.

You can learn more about Mark and his company, Echelon Management, by clicking here.


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Topics: small business owners, innovation, leadership development, transformation, breakthroughs, change management, Mark Faust, growth strategies, grow your business, business insights, strategy and growth, Echelon Management International, effective corporate turnaround, turnaround plan, basic turnaround strategies, small business turnaround strategies, turnaround mindset, strategic planning, growth opportunities, strategic thinking, thinking out of the box, A/B Testing, networking, genchi genbutsu, customer acquisition

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