Thought leadership and innovation: Why your business is falling behind

There are many ingredients that make up a successful business. The recipe for this mix clearly includes a strong product or service, a clear brand, a healthy and ever-growing client or customer base and recruiting and retaining the best staff.

Idea businessman
You need to be an active player in your industry to become a successful thought-leader.

But, even with all that in place there is always a risk for any business. You might be able to get the recipe right for the market at one particular moment but by standing still and resting on your laurels that recipe could easily fall flat.

Failure to be flexible and adjust your business – whether that concerns products, services or structures – can easily lead you to fall behind.

It’s easy to say that you won’t rest on your laurels as a business but it’s much harder to actually do it in practice. There are two positive things that any business must look to do to keep up the pace, namely thought leadership and innovation.

Aiming to be thought leaders in your field is tough but brings big rewards. This is not about just saying that you don’t want to slip behind, but being positive and proactive and taking a clear lead.

Becoming a thought leader takes time. Firstly you need to be an active player in your industry. Start by reading and sharing the views of existing thought leaders and look at your business. What do you do really well? Bottle that, put it into words and spread it far and wide and encourage others to follow your lead.

It doesn’t matter if you have a niche or not – others in your field will want to hear your views and thoughts. So, if it’s industrial spray booths, waste management techniques, pioneering packaging solutions or digital marketing techniques – there’s a chance to stake a claim at the top of the tree.

Attend events in your field and put yourself forward to speak about the strengths of your business – maybe even create an eBook or hold a webinar. There are many methods to help spread your message to others in your industry.

You’ll find that by doing this you naturally sit back and analyse the things you do and get a feel for the practises of competitors. That alone spurs you on not to fall behind.

But being a thought leader isn’t simply about talking about analysing what’s happening now though. It involves looking to the future too – and that’s where innovation comes in.

You need to spot emerging trends, embrace new practises and adapt to changes in technology and taste. Innovation isn’t something to aspire towards – it’s necessary for a business to move forward and guard against falling behind.

You’ll need to spot emerging trends, embrace new practises and adapt to changes in technology and taste.

This process goes hand in hand with being a thought leader as talking about how you’re using new innovations in your business will gain attention and followers and help you to become established as a respected industry figure. Just as you can’t rest on your laurels if you want to stay as a success in business, you can’t rest on your laurels as a thought leader either – regurgitating yesterday’s news is not thought leadership.

By driving ahead as thought leaders and innovators you will enrich the rest of your business. It’ll help you define and refine your brand, develop new products or services, boost your standing among clients and customers and become an employer of choice that can more easily attract the brightest new talent. Businesses who do this well forge ahead – those that ignore it completely fall behind.