In­no­va­tion – a bit like bak­ing a cake

CityPress - - Tenders - WIL­LIE VAN STRAATEN news@city­press.co.za

En­trepreneurs to­day face a rapidly chang­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment brought about largely by the speed of tech­no­log­i­cal change. The com­bi­na­tion of rapid change and the re­sult­ing un­cer­tainty about what the fu­ture holds presents fer­tile ground for new op­por­tu­ni­ties. It is es­ti­mated that, five years from now, 80% of all prod­ucts will be brand new or rad­i­cally re­designed – good news for those en­trepreneurs with a proac­tive, op­por­tu­ni­ty­fo­cused and in­no­va­tive mind-set, bad news for those who don’t like change.

To un­der­stand what is meant by in­no­va­tion, it is use­ful to draw an anal­ogy with mak­ing money by bak­ing cakes:

you must have the in­tent and mo­ti­va­tion to get in­volved in the gen­eral busi­ness of cake bak­ing.

you must be able to think of a new type of cake that you can bake – some­thing that will be tasty and at­trac­tive and sur­prise and de­light prospec­tive cus­tomers.

you have come up with a recipe for a new cake, you must try to find out if you can turn this into a money-mak­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.

out if the idea for the cake will stand out if com­pared with other cakes; not in­fringe on the recipes of other cake mak­ers; al­low you to per­haps ob­tain pro­tec­tion for your own recipe; ap­peal to prospec­tive cake eaters; have mar­ket­ing and chan­nel ac­cess to cake eaters; be able to be baked given avail­able fa­cil­i­ties and tech­nol­ogy; com­ply with reg­u­la­tions; and al­low for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to even­tu­ally come up with an amaz­ing fi­nal cake.

what you will be of­fer­ing cus­tomers, how your cake will ben­e­fit them, how it will be dif­fer­ent and su­pe­rior to com­pet­i­tive cakes and how much it will cost.

up a busi­ness that will en­able you to cre­ate and re­pro­duce the cake, mar­ket the cake and make money from do­ing so.

cost of the in­gre­di­ents, bak­ing the cake, mar­ket­ing and selling your cake must be added to­gether. Deduct this cost from the in­come you gen­er­ate from selling the cake. If the in­come gen­er­ated mi­nus the cost is pos­i­tive, then you have a prof­itable cake busi­ness.

your cake busi­ness to be­come an in­no­va­tion, more and more peo­ple must pre­fer your cake to any other and con­tinue buy­ing it. If this con­tin­ues, you have turned your cake-bak­ing idea into a suc­cess­ful and prof­itable in­no­va­tion. Van Straaten started Ver­i­mark and, af­ter selling it, started In­ven­tec.

He is a reg­u­lar guest at Gibs

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