When looking to grow your company, it’s important to consider new opportunities that can be driven through evolving existing products or expanding it new markets” says Dave Challis, VP of Innovation at RB. Coca-Cola, Velcro and Bubble Wrap are just some of our most well-known products that started life with completely different uses. Their original functions were pivoted and evolved into the consumer brands we know and love today.
The key to changing the nature of a product is recognising attributes that can be transferred from one use, with one specific audience, to another. Today, British entrepreneurs and small businesses (SMEs) recognise this approach and are optimistic that they can do the same. New research from Enterprise Nation, commissioned by RB, found that despite an imminent Brexit, 77 per cent want to drive growth by repurposing their existing products, with 78 per cent planning to scale and grow domestically and internationally over the next two years.
What it takes to drive innovation
Driving innovation is important for all companies. However, as many of us know, juggling the excitement of a new discovery alongside the day-to-day of running a business can be a challenge.
Transforming an idea into a real-life product that consumers want takes more than just passion, no matter how good the concept may be.
As the saying goes, it’s often not what you know but who you know. To take an idea from a concept into a fully-fledged business proposition generally requires help from those with market expertise and consumer insight, who can make investments in areas such as product development, marketing and PR. But getting in front of the right people can be tricky. In fact, while 66 per cent UK entrepreneurs would consider partnering with a multinational organisation to scale their business or take it in a new direction, they haven’t yet. The vast majority (86 per cent) do not even know where to start when it comes to seeking these prized potential partners.
UK entrepreneurs are missing out on opportunities to draw on the expertise of large corporations that could help them leverage existing product innovations and, ultimately, boost their bottom line. But how can they join the dots?
- Target prospective partners
Rather than blanket pitching numerous companies, identify only a handful to target. You then need to investigate what they have to offer you – are they the right fit? Consider how you would benefit them, so that you know what both would bring to the table in the partnership.
- Connect with corporates
Getting your ideas heard can be hard. That’s why you need to look out for opportunities to connect with big corporates, whether that’s at key conferences, trade shows, and networking events; through online portals, and on LinkedIn. Once a connection has been made, focus on making an impact straight away. Critically, have an elevator pitch ready to grab their attention!
- Get in the mind of the consumer
When it comes to preparing to pitch for a partner, you must be clear on what your unique offer is from a consumer mindset. This means translating any technology jargon and technical benefits into consumer benefits – the stronger the consumer insight, the better the pitch.
- Understand the opportunity
You’ll need to show a potential partner that the competitive landscape has been identified on a national and ideally, international level. You must be clear on where the opportunity lies, while also having an understanding of potential challenges to navigate such as regulations and exporting.
- Soften the pitching
Of course, corporates want the facts, the details and the data, but a stand-out presentation is about much more than that. The best pitches are the ones where you tell a story and really engage prospective partners. Don’t be afraid to delve into the different members of the team, their personalities and how they can help grow the business.
- Be open to new directions
Once all is unveiled to prospective partners, they may have new, different ideas to help propel your business. Be prepared to explore a new direction. Innovation stems from collaboration and fresh perspectives. Stepping back and listening to suggestions, no matter how outlandish they may initially seem, can be rewarding in the long run.
In as little as 12 months, an agile partnership can deliver a new product to market. While it may be a daunting prospect to pitch to a corporate, there’s a lot to gain – market expertise, help navigating regulations, product development and more. Equally, they’re looking for fresh ideas to grow into innovative consumer products, it really is a win-win situation. So, what are you waiting for?