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How to bring an unconventional approach to a conventional business? Here are some tips from experts Martin Wielemaker, a professor at the University of New Brunswick, and Elspeth Murray, a professor at Queen’s University.

Go with what you know

While you might be tempted to look for the next breakthrough technology, it is best to start out with something familiar. If you have a background in a field, it’s easier to figure out what a novel direction might be to take.

Play to the customer

You might think that you might have an idea that flies – but will customers share your vision? Know your customers and their needs. To find out, ask them. Talk out potential changes you are thinking of making and gauge reactions, and whether customers would buy in.

Ignore conventional wisdom

You might be inclined to follow industry norms, but you do so at your peril if you need to take a fresh approach. Put away the industry journals and newsletters, and ignore the discussions about what’s usually done in your sector. Look for alternative sources of information on an unconventional but growth-oriented path.

Keep on top of changing trends

Customers have needs but they shift over time. Stay ahead of your competitors by analyzing changing demographics and circumstances.

Hit the window of opportunity

Many entrepreneurs just can’t seem to make a decision. They dither and analyze, evaluate and debate for too long. They miss the chance to run with the idea first, and someone else does instead.

Be fearless

Don’t be dissuaded by naysayers if you’re confident an unconventional path is the right one to take. Young or bold entrepreneurs shouldn’t be put off a good idea by conventional veterans who say it can’t be done. Trust your own business sense and read of the marketplace.

Mark Leger – Globe and Mail – May 11, 2012

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