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Innovating in Distribution to Meet Your Customers' Objectives

Steve Epner, President — the Startup Within

• competitive strategy • distribution management best practices • Innovate for the Future • efficiency • innovation

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Creating a culture of innovation in your organization is the topic in this video featuring Randy MacLean and Steve Epner, President of The Startup Within. Innovation only happens when there is a culture that supports it. What does this mean for you? What can this mean for your customers?

What is Innovation?

Innovation doesn't need to be revolutionary. It can mean taking something already invented and finding a new and innovative use, or doing something differently or better that others haven't thought of yet. Inspiration is everywhere, as soon as you get out of the "this is the way we always do it" mind frame. This is a sure way to kill new ideas.

Innovation is taking an idea and creating something to sell. And, innovation can be company specific. It can change the way you operate. It may not be an industry-changing innovation, but innovation can sure change your company's profits.

Do Some Pain-Storming and then Take Action

Ever heard of pain-storming? The idea is to brainstorm and come up with ways to do something that will solve your customers pain. This is what they're willing to pay more money for. Pain-storming means coming up with ideas and then implementing them, taking action.

If you want to maintain your relevance, you must change through time. You must change as your customers change. Your company must have a mission to help your customers meet their objectives. And, WayPoint studies have shown that innovations, put into action, produce results.

Avoid the Traps

To truly innovate, make sure you avoid the traps that prevent people from taking action. Stay far away from these killer phrases:

•It won't work

•We've never done it that way before

Also, never accept a no from someone who can't say yes. In other words, don't ask those who cannot or are afraid to make a decision. Choose the path to success and go to the person who can say yes.

Lastly, remember that as a manager or executive, if you're afraid of doing something different, your people will be also. Be willing to change, and your culture of innovation will create a steady stream of ideas to constantly improve your operation.

For more information about Steve Epner, visit: www.thestartupwithin.com

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