Entrepreneurs who innovate are the ones who succeed.
Innovation is the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.
When you innovate it requires a new way of thinking in order to achieve more beneficial results.
As Albert Einstein says, “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
This means that in order to achieve something new, you may have to look through a new lens and use a different perspective and frame of mind.
As an entrepreneur, it’s necessary to innovate on your product and/or service in order to separate yourselves from others in your industry or niche.
Innovation sets you apart from the pack and differentiates you.
Innovation is the difference between “good” and “great”.
As the founder of Leave Normal Behind, the modern day renaissance, I am always speaking with individuals who are rising in their industry and thinking outside of the box.
In this article I will share 4 Questions of Innovation, from my conversation with rising business leader Antony Levinson, CEO of Pearls and his partner Meyer Akhavan, President of Pearls, that you can use to have success in business and set you apart from others.
The cannabis industry is unparalleled in the complex, ever-shifting amalgam of regulations that govern it. A strong product does not guarantee success; companies must also effectively navigate a barrage of government imposed red tape.
Levinson, like many other cannabis founders, had to adapt due to rules and regulations in 2016, California approved the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA for short) which legalized recreational marijuana and introduced a broad set of rigid regulations. One of these new regulations included prohibiting cannabis retailers from selling tobacco and as a result, Barewoods, a company Levinson is partnered in, was forced to remove one of their signature products from shelves across California. Levinson had to innovate and he did by creating in 2017 a patented protected electric blunt that met new regulationations, sold millions of units, and even won the 2018 High Times Cannabis Cup for Best Product of the year.
Sometimes, you must innovate due to problems and issues that arise outside of your immediate control. What you can control is the actions you take.
Instead of losing money, Levinson immediately began looking for an innovative way around the problem. With the help of Roy and Meyer Akhavan, the idea for Pearls was ready to take shape. At only twenty-two years old, Levinson is the antithesis of corporate mundanities and rigid government bureaucracy. He conducts business with a futuristic mindset, seemingly unending energy, and a brazen ––even a bit rebellious–– attitude.
Levinson knew the Barewoods blunt was worth preserving and four years later, Pearls was born. Positioned as a “Pack Your own Cigar,” Pearls owned by Happy Products, LLC are premium cigars with a reusable glass tip and a patent-pending easy tobacco-exit system. One simply has to pull out the hand-rolled cone of tobacco and replace the insides with their choice of flower. It’s a clever workout that allows smokers to recreate the Barewoods experience.
Levinson was not content with simply emulating the Barewoods experience–– he wanted to take tobacco to the next level. After three years spent perfecting the tobacco used for Pearls, Levinson and his team created a premium cigar unlike any other. Each cigar begins as Madura leaves, grown on a family-owned farm in Nicaragua, then aged for two years for absolute peak flavor. Every cigar is hand-rolled into the final product. The end result guarantees an unbeatable smoking experience, with or without cannabis.
Everything that is innovative is a copy of a copy that’s modified to fit the modern time. Antony’s most successful product, wax cigars, saw an open space in the market for him to combine three products – Atomizer, a cigar, and cannabis oil which he was then able to patent by implementing some other key factors into it. To make it a one of a kind all-in-one product.
Here are some great questions for you to ask yourself if you’d like to innovate on your product, service, or brand.
4 Questions To Build Innovative Brands
If you want to innovate, use these 4 questions as a framework for thinking:
- Ask yourself, “What are similar products ?”
- Sometimes you do not have to recreate the wheel. Sometimes there are opportunities to create accessory products around products that are growing. Sometimes you use a product and become inspired to make changes and it clicks that you can make an improvement. Other times the product is just perfect and there are no changes needed to be made.
- Ask yourself, “Where is the white space and what is the plan?”
- The white space is the area where there is little competition and room to grow. You must make sure there are no patents that you are going to be infringing on. You need to have a full roll-out plan ready, not just the product designed and manufactured. The product isn’t everything. Proper execution is even more important and that requires having your production, marketing, & distribution taken care of so you are ready to scale from the start.
- Ask yourself, “Can I make a better quality product ?”
- Oftentimes there is opportunity to create a better “mousetrap”. It’s not about who does it first, it’s about who does it right. A lot of times companies rush their product to be first in commerce, but don’t take the necessary steps to be prepared in case the company actually succeeds. They don’t have enough supply for their demand, and because of that they rush the product and compromise the quality. You need to be patient, but not too patient. People always want to make changes and make it “perfect”, but with that mentality the product will never go to commerce. You cannot cut corners and rush things, but you also cannot wait for it to be “perfect” because that’s impossible. Do not experience “Paralysis by analysis.”
- Ask yourself, “How can I market and distribute this Innovation?”
- The marketing and distribution of the product is just as important, if not more important, than the product itself. Having an innovative product that no one knows about is setting yourself up for failure because you will be left with your supply and no demand. There must be an innovative marketing & distribution strategy in place before the release of any products. This cannot be a one man job, there needs to be a team and plan in place.
Innovating is essential if you strive to have longevity. It’s necessary to adapt to the challenges and obstacles that arise.
Using these 4 innovation questions will give you a good framework to use for your success. Implement them in your next brainstorming session and see what you come up with.
You may just stumble upon an idea that takes you to the next level.