Is your business innovating?

Businesses can follow one of two models: innovate or stay complacent. For most, the option to innovate is most appealing because it means companies will stay ahead of their competition. However, executives don't always make a conscious decision to put off innovation. Sometimes, policies aren't simply adapted to changing times, and by the time any sort of change is enacted, it's too late. On the other hand, some businesses are OK with holding their ground and not rushing into poor decisions and practices.

Every business, small or large, has to identify areas where innovation has to occur. Luckily, there are a few key areas and reasons why businesses have to innovate, especially as the workforce continually becomes younger and older workers retire in large numbers.

Appeal to younger generations
According to The Motley Fool, 100,000 Americans will retire every day for the next 20 years. Businesses should take these predictions seriously and start making plans to replace workers who will soon be leaving. The impending hires can be seen in positive and and not-so-positive light: Your company will be infused with some younger talent, and will need to train them to replace recently retired, dependable workers. As such, your business may want to start researching ways to effectively communicate with younger workers, who have grown up in  different learning environments than their parents and grandparents, and as a result, have learned important methods and skills in different ways.

However, it's not just in the workplace where businesses will have to target and appeal to millennials. This generation has grown up with computers and cellphones and as a result, will turn to these devices for daily needs. If your business doesn't have a strong online or social media presence, it may get passed over. Instead of relying on paper applications, be sure to have online forms that can be filled out digitally, according to Marketing for Millennials.

"Innovation can help a business stay ahead of its competition."

Embrace open innovation
Sometimes the solution to an internal problem is found outside the company. According to Fast Company, open innovation is an idea being leaned upon by more executives today than in previous years. Essentially, companies that are having difficulty solving problems may look for solutions by examining other businesses, some of which may not even be in the same industry. The publication stated open innovation has now emerged as a risk worth taking, despite the fact open innovation will likely expose goals to competitors. In such instances, transparency and clarity is key in order to work together to solve difficult issues.

For example, large corporations such as Kraft and Siemens regularly collaborate to generate new marketplace ideas.

Don't fall behind
Innovation can help a business stay ahead of their competition and ensure enough revenue to pay back bank loans and other financial obligations. Reacting too slowly to a new trend, no matter the industry, can have disastrous results. Innovation can push a company on a new and more successful path and it's one that needs to be continually explored.

For more information about how you can grow your business, contact Landmark Bank.

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