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Article Archive >> Business

ask SCORE: Successful entprenurial ventures by building on the twin powers - innovation and collaboration

ask SCORE
Successful entprenurial ventures by building on the twin powers - innovation and collaboration
By Richard Walton
Assistant District Director for SCORE

Entrepreneurs and existing business can tilt the odds strongly in their favor by building their ventures on the twin powers of Innovation and collaboration. Here's why and how to do it.
Innovation - The First of the Twin Powers
The first of the Twin Powers of Entrepreneurial Success is innovation. Innovation is new ideas, new methods, and new and improved products and services. An innovation can be utilized anywhere in the value chain and when it solves real problems that customers have been facing, or creates new opportunities for users to gain increased satisfaction from their purchases, it represents the key to success.
Innovation can occur when entrepreneurs see a gap in a service or product line that they can fill, such as a newly designed item that is clearly better than those currently available. Existing businesses can also be entrepreneurs by improving their current products and services and providing greater value to their customers. Innovation is the cornerstone of successful business management and when it is practiced continuously there are few if any limits on what can be achieved.
Collaboration - The Second of the Twin Powers
The second of the Twin Powers of Entrepreneurial Success is collaboration. Collaboration is the sharing of problems, opportunities, ideas and solutions with other individuals and firms. Firms that collaborate enlist the knowledge and interest of others who bring to the collaboration new ideas that go beyond the limits of the firm's internal resources.
Improving response time, adding new services that could not be provided without collaboration and the potential of finding solutions to pressing problems are all potential benefits from collaboration. There is also the potential for the synergistic effects differing viewpoints and ideas that can create novel solutions to thorny problems and other issues.
The Twin Powers in Combination
Utilizing the Internet and thereby the capacities of Crowd Sourcing and Open Innovation can add even greater synergy. Crowd sourcing involves offering a reward (not necessarily cash) for solutions to problems that the firm cannot solve with its own resources. Open Innovation can enlist the entire world in a quest for improvement and new ideas. Best of all, the combination of the Twin Powers of Innovation and Collaboration effectively removes any limitation on the firm to achieve Entrepreneurial Success.

Mr. Walton teaches Financial Management, Operations Management, Corporation Finance, and Entrepreneurial Finance at Frostburg State University. He is also Assistant District Director for SCORE, Western Maryland, and the President of ERMACORP, a Hagerstown based Management Consulting Firm. He may be reached at 301-462-9850, or by email to Richard@ermacorp.com.

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