“Innovation” bubbled up a few years ago to join “synergy” and “thought leadership” as business buzzwords. Business leaders talked so much about innovating their companies that they eventually had to put their money where their mouth was: 74 percent established processes to spur innovation, and more than half hired chief innovation officers.

Seeking innovation isn’t easy — it takes approximately 30 years to transition from proposing an idea to making a real market impact. But these innovation efforts pay off. Not only are consumers more intrigued by and engaged with innovative companies, but innovation is also profitable.

However, most leaders are pushing themselves — and their teams — to dream up futuristic products and services, enabling them to outpace their competitors. Once-in-a-lifetime ideas rarely appear on command, and it would make more sense for most business owners to simply think of new ways to approach their industries — they can make a real impact in a market that’s primed and ready.

Doing Real Estate a New Way

While people have sold their homes without realtors for decades, the FSBO road hasn’t always been easy. Nicolas Jodin, the co-founder and COO of Beycome, tried to sell his first home without a realtor. “I realized almost immediately that hardly anyone was willing to work with a FSBO home,” he said.

Seeing how for-sale-by-owner opportunities were treated was frustrating for Jodin. “All you’d find would be horrible and scary articles stating that this is the worst thing homeowners could do…almost as if selling your home — YOUR home — was the most ludicrous idea a person could think to do,” Jodin explained, “but it’s absolutely ridiculous — it is not a law that people need to use an agent to sell (or rent) their home, so why are you paying strangers 6 percent of your final sale (or 10 percent of your annual rental income) if you could do it just as well?”

That led to the development of Beycome, a property listing online platform that makes it possible for homeowners to complete the entire selling or renting process online. The platform offers three types of listing packages; users provide details about their property, along with photos. They set their price, receiving two estimates from the software’s algorithm. The platform then helps automate the home showing and marketing processes; the platform also allows homeowners to review and accept or decline offers virtually. Once all parties have agreed, Beycome provides a digital contract that’s legally binding.

This process takes out the middleman — the realtor — and ensures homeowners pay nothing in commission fees, saving more for themselves. The platform boasts a 96.5 percent sale-to-list ratio and has saved an average of $13,667 per sale. While Jodin and the team at Beycome didn’t come up with a new concept — FSBO existed long before the internet — they did come up with a new way to make FSBO opportunities more enticing for buyers and simpler for homeowners.

Removing the Hassle From Moving

Americans move about 11 times in their lives, and 37 percent of people say they would move anywhere in the world for better career prospects. That means a lot of people are grappling with packing, setting up utilities, and finding new schools, vets, and healthcare providers.

That realization led to the creation of InMyArea, a home services comparison shopping site. The platform was established to serve as a one-stop shop for consumers, who could compare prices and packages on everything from internet to home security systems. Consumers could then use the platform to purchase those services and streamline the setup process. InMyArea sought out partnerships with several well-known providers to make the process even easier for consumers, counting businesses like DIRECTV, Mediacom, Charter, Cox, and Time Warner Cable as partners.

Michael Gleason, the founder and CEO of InMyArea, knows how difficult it is to move on one’s own, particularly with competing obligations, such as family, work, and school. “My wife and I had our first child when I was a graduate student 3,000 miles away from family, so I empathize with [those] who are starting their families,” Gleason explained.

His company’s approach has garnered positive feedback: The brand’s data analysis and customer service have resulted in the highest rankings possible with the Better Business Bureau and TrustPilot. InMyArea examined a frustrating process for consumers — moving — and found ways for a third party to make it less stressful. Combining technology and data on the InMyArea platform allowed service providers and consumers to find each other more easily.

These companies didn’t create new niches within their industries; they simply found new ways to manage their industries’ work. Innovation doesn’t have to be complicated, but it absolutely has to have a payoff — for both companies and their customers.

Bart Schachter

Bart Schachter

contributor

Bart Schachter is an investor, operator, and tech affectionado, with a passion for business operations, team building, product design, finance, and deal making. Bart has been an entrepreneur, VC, corporate executive, and turn-around operator. He lives in San Francisco and all his view are his own.