The Startup Magazine Must Everyone Innovate? A How-To for the Uninspired

By Rhonda Dibachi, CEO,

We all get stuck in ruts of the comfortable and familiar.

And yet, the demand for “new” and “innovative” is constant and relentless.


The best part of being a startup, though, is your ability to be more flexible and nimble to meet the evolving and specialized needs of your market.

So, how do you get that spark?

Instead of calling yet another “ideation session” with your product team, use the following tips to instantly innovate for increased revenues with the least amount of effort and wrong turns: 

1. Let Your Customers Show You the Way:

Your customers’ requests are more than just orders; they are potential gold mines for new product ideas. 


When you receive a unique quote request, view it as an opportunity to expand your product line. Start by outsourcing to meet these new demands, which allows you to gather essential information about pricing and specifications. 

Once you have successfully fulfilled a unique new order, incorporate what you’ve learned into your catalog. Use the pricing and specifications from the initial order to launch a new product line. 

This strategy puts the customer at the heart of innovation, allowing them to guide your product development. By listening to your customers, you increase your chances of succeeding with new products, since they originate from the very people who are already looking for them.

But, how do you get more input from your customer base (and your future customer base)?

2. Ain’t No Hold ‘em (so lay your cards down, down, down) 

You need to attract more people to you – specifically, to your website.  

Attract more potential customers by showing off!  

Show off your great prices (don’t just say, “call for prices”).  Show off all the different customizations you can do.  Show them your magic, your bells and whistles.  If you give potential customers instant pricing, online catalogs, and the ability to order with the click of a button, you gain their trust by speaking their language.  

Exposing your pricing data is usually an emotionally laden decision. There are ways to make it less scary by defining minimum quantities and lot sizes, and the intelligent design of base models.  

Customers will seek you out because you offer them something they can use: product specifications, initial price, and leadtime. This will generate more traffic to your website.  

But how to land them?

3. Prioritize Speed Over Cost:

For example, leadtime is as important a purchasing decision as price. Customers will pay for instant gratification, and sometimes being faster wins deals because it’s the only thing the buyer cares about on that first visit.  And potential customers visiting your site are likely just going to order a small sample, to test you out.  

So, consider making production speed a core business strategy. 

Working on offering quick turns on samples and other order types will lead to larger orders.  

4. Focus on Sustainability:

Most for-profit share-holder lead organizations prioritize profits above sustainability.  Which is why it is so surprising to many execs that most buyers care deeply about sustainability – because their customers do.  

This one stymies many organizations, but applying lean principles can help innovation here.  

Where do you have waste in your purchasing process?  Your sales process?  How many email blasts do you send out to get one response?  

Use six sigma on all business processes to weed out waste and make your organization more sustainable.  

Can it Really be that Simple?

Listening and learning.

It sounds too simple, but think back to the last time you got some negative customer feedback. 

Don’t dismiss complaints as “cranks.” Mine them for information on improving your products, processes, and services. 

And give serious consideration when a customer or potential customer reaches out asking for a variation on your usual fare. Those are golden opportunities, if you’re savvy enough to take advantage of them.

Meeting those needs can open new revenue streams while creating happier and more loyal customers—because you “get it,” and, now, you’ve got their business.

About the Author

Rhonda Dibachi is the co-founder and chief executive officer of HeyScottie, an artificial intelligence-powered platform delivering superior sourcing options for manufacturing finishing services,  She is also American business executive, entrepreneur with several success startups and an enterprise which went public, and author.   She started her career as a nuclear engineer and is now a champion for AI and sustainability in the manufacturing sector.  Rhonda has served as a Board Trustee and Advisor for a number of educational, non-profit, government and educational organizations.

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