Everything is happening all the time. These days, you can’t turn around without having some new version of something you never really needed shoved under your nose. For those of us who are trying to carve out a business in today’s hectic world of non-stop updates and #lifehacks, it can feel like swimming upstream just to keep up with what’s going on around you.

In our darker moments, we can feel like everything has already been done. Yet, somehow our phones keep buzzing with the latest update. It’s true that innovation is an entrepreneur’s lifeline, and without it even the best laid plans can be swallowed up in an instant. The good news is there are more ways to keep your business on the cutting edge than you may have realized.

Follow Your Passion

This is advice you’ve heard a hundred thousand times - but it’s worth repeating. Find the problem that you are uniquely suited to solve, and set about solving it. When your work is important to your heart and soul, it will propel you through the times when it seems like nothing is going right and will give you a head start when you begin to dig into the work. People follow leaders who are following their passions.

Tap Into Your Innovation Ecosystem

The idea of an “Innovation Ecosystem” - a network of shared intellectual capital within a community - was introduced to us by Steve Justice. Steve is the Executive Director of the Georgia Centers of Innovation - a program that runs through the Georgia Department of Economic Development. At the Centers of Innovation, teams from 5 specific target industries help to connect business owners with the resources they need to solve problems they haven’t been able to solve on their own. This happens mostly by connection - largely to the State’s robust university system. If you live in Georgia and your business fits one of their categories, you can take advantage of this program - but even if not, there are ways to use the innovation ecosystem around you to your advantage. Contact the universities in your area to see if they’d be willing to partner with your organization on a research project. Reach out to the incubators and accelerators in your area to see if their programs would be a good fit for your business.

Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

There is a reason we’re on version however many of all the products that make our lives easier. There is always room to improve. But when we allow ourselves the opportunity to make and fix mistakes, we are able to strengthen our offerings to the market. Allow yourself to fail early and often. Failure is the only real way to find out what works and what doesn’t. And when we learn not to fear it, failure can become a powerful weapon in our arsenal.