The Institute of Chartered Accountants recently reached out to me regarding an article they were writing on Innovation in Public Practice.
This prompted me to review the past 18 months of business and put together what I believe are the keys to innovation that we have implemented at Inspire CA.
1. No excuses
No one could have warned me just how challenging it is to hang your own shingle. Even though it got really hard, I gave myself no excuses – no “out”.
Put yourself in a place where there’s no going back, no plan b. Think of Alexander the Great when he landed on the foreign shore: he burned his boats.
We’re in a “Connection Economy” as Seth Godin says. Customer (and prospect) relationships are more important than ever. Connections create value.
Nurturing relationships takes time – and this can be the biggest source of customers – via a recommendation from an existing one.
Embrace new technology and cloud software. Embrace online marketing. Embrace social media. Even embrace outsourcing!
I am certain if you don’t do this one, your business will eventually be overtaken by the ones that do.
Get through the ‘fog’ of messages out there.
We’ve differentiated our accounting firm through things like: no time sheets, no hourly rates, no office politics, no clunky pieces of software, no jargon in letters or communication.
Even Inspire Cafe has points of differentiation: we accept AMEX, we’re totally gluten free, free wifi, meeting room hire, free zymil, soy and almond milk – if people have allergies, why should we make them pay more?
Something we’ve created at Inspire Cafe is a community of business owners and entrepreneurs. We’ve achieved this through regular events at the cafe, keeping in contact through LinkedIn and Facebook groups. The community we’ve created is a supportive network, and it’s great to see the synergies that are happening as a result!
We’re a part of Global Giving Initiative, B1G1: Business for Good.
It works very simply:
- – for every meal that is sold in Inspire Cafe, a child in need receives a nourishing meal
- – for every planning session we hold for a client of Inspire CA, we provide training for 75 women in India to run their own micro-businesess to support their families
- – for every single email that we send, and every coffee that is sold at the cafe, a child receives access to live saving water for the day
Together both our clients and us, just by doing what we ordinarily do, make a massive impact!