5 Lessons Business Owners Can Learn from Innocent
In 7 years Innocent went from a turnover of £0 in 1999 to £75m in 2006. From 3 employers to 105. From 0% market share to a staggering 62%. It’s this kind of growth many small business owners can only dream of.
Today the company turns over £115m, and all this from a headquarters called ‘Fruit Towers’. So what’s the secret of this succesful British company run by three Cambridge grads and what can the rest of us learn from them?
Less is more
Innocent bucked the 330ml trend and brought to market their smoothies in 250ml bottles, a risky move that paid off as they differentiated themselves from the rest of the market. Another highly successful company that did the same thing with huge success was Red Bull, who’s slimline can is still immediately recognisable in the increasingly competitive energy drinks market.
If more, more, more was what made consumers tick in the nineties and early noughties then it’s less with a touch of luxury that’s what is grabbing the consumers attention today. This is good news for the small business owner who is more able to compete on these terms, no longer do we have to drown under the weight of the economies of scale that larger businesses can enjoy.
There’s a fine line between setting yourself apart and having fun and a pure marketing gimmick. Innocent appear to have towed that line quite nicely with quirky messages on their packaging, turf covered smoothie vans and knitted bottle cap covers. They know what their market considers cool and they work it.
Innovation isn’t all about inventions
Innocent didn’t reinvent the wheel. They took a fairly boring product in a market area they thought they could compete and differentiated themselves with clever marketing, a superior product and a commitment to their customers. Innovation takes many forms, taking a product and injecting new life into it and having the kind of success Innocent has had is equally as impressive as the bagless vacuum cleaner in my book.
Understand your market
Understanding your market is actually not enough. You need to live your market, breath your market, spend every day listening to your market. Innocent completely get their young and professional market and everything they do is geared towards that, from the name to the logo to the pop festival they host. They know what makes their market tick and they keep delivering.
You can be ethical and successful
On top of being wildly successful Innocent also do more than their fair share for the environment and community. From offsetting carbon emmissions to using only 100% natural products, Innocent’s commitment goes beyond most companies of it’s size and larger. Oh, and they also give 10% of profits to charity.
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