You rarely find creativity in the mainstream of almost any industry. I’m talking about true creativity – as in edge, as in pushing the envelope, experimenting, and discovering new forms and ideas.
The most innovative products and ideas almost always come from the fringe, which in turn pushes the change in the mainstream. This means that for your business to succeed, you must create conditions that allow your business to either create (ideally) or catch (not ideally) innovation when it occurs. This is how social entrepreneurs can thrive.
Unfortunately, too many businesses become bloated operation-wise or loaded down with extra expenses that limit their creative drive. As a result, they play it safe, become conformists whose brands don’t stand out from anyone else’s. Their guiding concern switches from being the innovator, to protecting the company’s assets. This shift may stem from logic, but logic is often the enemy of confidence and inventiveness, which rely upon right-brained, spontaneous, and often illogical thinking. However, the good news is, solutions do exist…
Why Staying Lean Works for Your Business
Staying small and lean in terms of overall employment and expenses offers many advantages for newer companies. This has been particularly true over the past few years, as worldwide economic growth has been slow and the future ahead looks most uncertain.
Flexibility: By staying lean in terms of expenses, social entrepreneurs can remain nimble when it comes to selecting new strategies, investing in new technology, and/or taking advantage of basic innovation. And by retaining a higher amount of money for spending on new ideas, these entrepreneurs can take advantage of new changes in the market and go on to make a considerable impact.
Cost-Saving Techniques: By focusing on keeping costs to a minimum, companies not only free up more money to take advantage of new technologies and innovations, they leave themselves facing less risk when the capital is poured into a new project. Even if the project fails, the damage to the company itself is minimized, because the core business is so lean as to not be a real target for significant damage.
Why Social Entrepreneurs Should Stay on the Fringe
Among all the good reasons for taking a nontraditional path with your business efforts, is that it helps your company stay relevant in today’s marketplace. Reason being, you’ll simply be keeping your business at the forefront of innovation, thus yielding considerable advantages.
Bottom line: social entrepreneurs who are skilled at building businesses should emphasize a lean approach while staying on the fringe. All too often a business moves from being innovative, to so successful, that they expand in ways that remove their ability to ever be innovative again. Such businesses tend to not last long, as the shift required to recapture their innovative spirit is akin to trying to scratch the top of one’s back: It’s too tricky. Just too hard to reach. And it tends to hurt at least a little in the end.
But by doing things differently, you can remain a leader in your field, not only benefiting your business, but the other companies in your industry who’ll be keeping an eye on what you’re up to. This is a key secret to success for the social entrepreneur, and for all those who want the “good old days” to never slip behind them.