“Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.” ~George Kneller
In 1976 two young men started a fledgling company. They had little money, but lots of passion and plenty of time. They called it Apple. Its mission was to make an easy to use computer that both educational and business institutions could use.
They worked long and hard on new computer models; spent millions of dollars on research, and countless hours developing what today would be a laughable product. But at the time it was state of the art. One such computer was called Lisa. It was introduced in 1983 and was one of the early computers made by Apple. Lisa cost $50 million to develop, and took 5 years to bring to market. It ran a 5 MHz processor and had 2 Mb of RAM (random access memory). Compare that to today’s computers running a 3 GHz processor with 8 to 16 GB of RAM. (Here’s the conversion: 3 GHz = 3000 MHz and 16 GB of RAM = 16384 MB of RAM)
Whether you understand the terms or not, you can tell that incredible advances have been made just by comparing the numbers.
And it’s not just speed improvements I’m talking about. Apple’s revenue went from zero to $42.1 billion with a net profit of $8.5 billion – and that’s for just one quarter. Two guys in a garage to 98,000 employees. From no store front to 425 retail stores spread all over the world. From a no-name company to become the most admired company in the world from 2008 to 2012, and surpassing the well known Coca-Cola brand in 2013. All this in a very short span of 38 years. Almost unbelievable.
Each year Apple presents a new lineup of updated products and new products. They call these presentations Apple Events. Every year, without fail, they introduce products that surpass the products they introduced a mere 365 days before. Each year I wonder, “How are they going to top that?” And in addition to updated products, as if that wasn’t enough, they recently decided to make a major updates to their operating system for their desktops and their mobile devices every year – and give them away for free.
Ask yourself how you got to the point you are now? Are you happy with your progress? How innovative are you when it comes to your business? Have you made changes in the past year which have made your business significantly better?
Every person, no matter what their standing in the company, is a leader. As one of the leaders in your company, it is your duty to prepare for the future. And without improvements and changes your future will be predictably dim. I know we all get into routines which quickly become ruts. How can you avoid getting into a deeper and deeper rut as the years roll by?
One way is to listen. Listen to your staff. Listen to your subcontractors. Listen to friends who know your business. Allow those around you to speak freely. Great companies succeed because they innovate. And they innovate by listening to everyone involved in the business; from the person going to fetch coffee, to the project supervisor, to their clients.
Conduct regular meetings to discuss changes that may improve a process, brainstorm new ideas, and polish routines. Going back to the Apple analogy, what do you think they do right after an event? Do you think they all take a two month vacation? No, they are already hard at work on next year’s products. They are under pressure, no doubt. And in a way you are too. Call it a challenge. Your challenge is to continue to recreate an already incredible company. Incredible, but not perfect. What was great and wonderful a year ago can be improved. Stand still and in two years your competition will have leap-frogged you with innovative ways to market, produce, or sell.
Continue to educate yourself and your staff. New technologies and tools are making their way to market every day, many of which can streamline your business. And make it much more profitable. Yet, this requires constant nurturing. Continual education. Thinking outside the box. Daring to be different from the status quo.
More than ever, the challenge to innovate is a necessity. One that, if ignored, may leave you in the dust. Take this challenge. Hold frequent meetings and allow everyone to speak their mind. Accept each idea for what it is, without belittling anyone. Gather information and sift through it, looking for a golden nugget here and there. Continue to do this on a regular basis. Don’t rely solely on your own instincts to grow your company. Yes, you need to lead. But good leaders rely heavily and trust those under them.
A few people will take this to heart. Most won’t. It involves a lot of thought and work. And many people think they know what’s best for the company. But the few that do take this challenge, I guarantee will become outstanding in many ways. If you continue to innovate, year after year, you too will become incredibly profitable, and become the apple of your client’s eye.
Wishing you the best of fortune, Randall
This article was written by Randall Soules, remodeling coach, adviser, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System, showing you better ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to discover better ways to run your business, click here. He also provides his uniquely customized one-on-one coaching to a select group of contractors. Feel free to contact Randall at Randall@scientificremodelingsystem.com.
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