It depends on how well capitalized you are.  Usually innovators are very well capitalized to be able to take the time to develop their technology, business systems or products or they have limited money but invest incredible amounts of time into something they are passionate about to make it the absolute best it can be.  Either way it requires a huge investment of time or money and there is still no guarantee you will end up being the leader or innovator in your industry. 

There is something to be said for being number two or even number three in an industry.  Number two in any given industry is usually doing half as much in business than what the leader does with typically a tenth of the development budget.  Why? Because they studied and learned what the leader does and they made their offering a bit different and unique in some way.  Maybe it’s the speed with which they communicate with their customers or deliver their product but there’s usually some unique difference between them and the leader. 

The question of innovate or follow is actually a conscious one that most businesses must make.  You might decide to innovate in a particular part of your offering and in that case you are both an innovator and follower.  Whichever way you go, don’t kid yourself.  Make a conscious business decision no matter which way you go, Make it happen! 

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