How Energy Costs Affect Innovation and Small Business Owners

Here are 4 tactics to stay on top of trends and use changing energy standards to your advantage

 

As a small business owner, you tend to feel the effects of global trends first and hardest — but this gives you the advantage of knowing when and how to innovate.

 

Changing energy trends are no different. As energy prices continue to fall, governments are slashing subsidies, and people are using less. As consumers’ energy use changes, so do their desires, paving an obvious runway for small businesses looking to capitalize on these new demands.

These trends don’t just create an opportunity for innovation; they practically mandate it. Innovation is imperative for long-term survival, so if you’re missing out on chances to strategically evolve your brand, you’re essentially setting yourself up to eventually go off the market or be acquired by incumbents.

Here are the four tactics to stay on top of trends and use changing energy standards to your advantage:

1.  Take stock of your strengths.

Start by revisiting your company’s value proposition.

What makes you stand out?

Why should a consumer choose you over someone else? What advantage does this offer from a global standpoint?

Assess what you do well, what makes you stand out, and which consumer mindsets are most conducive to your strengths. This exercise will help you better perceive opportunities for innovation that you may not have previously considered.

2.  Get up to speed on global trends.

Global trends create significant opportunities for innovation for small businesses, which can capitalize on changing consumer desires more easily and seamlessly than their behemoth corporate brothers. This applies to global economic trends in general, but right now, global economic conversations revolve around energy trends.

There are infinite ways to capitalize on global energy patterns, but to begin, you have to understand what these trends are and how you might fit into them. For instance, there is major support for the long-term production of renewable energy because renewables produced just 13 percent of electricity in 2013. You might use an insight like this to innovate products that work well with long-term renewable energy sources because that’s the way of the future. Draw parallels between your existing knowledge and the trends and changes taking place — both actual and potential.

3.  Make it an inside job.

Most of the time, companies’ innovation comes from their internal workforce. Before you hire fancy consultants or Ph.D.’s, look internally to your employees, who see consumer behavior on the front line every day. Empower your employees to voice trends they see or what they think the “next big thing” might be. Oftentimes, innovation comes from the sharing of ideas — from one industry to another or one department to another.

Next- 4.  Pivot positively.