Small business innovation – Some basics

It would only stand to reason that a smaller, more agile company should be best positioned to create the most innovative ideas. Well…this isn’t necessarily so. Lacking several key ingredients, such as money for R & D, available staff, and a lack of vision that big companies can make happen, small businesses have discovered that their challenge lies in learning to innovate in spite of, and sometimes because of these facts.

14072635_sResearch conducted recently by Erik Hurst and Benjamin Wild Pugsley of the University of Chicago called “What do Small Businesses Do?” found that less than 50 percent of new business startups were born from a “new idea”. Additionally, they learned that the majority of new businesses are essentially more of the same, offering one more coffee shop, bakery or tax service to a marketplace bursting with these services. Not much innovation, greater competition, and little chance at exponential growth.

So just what does it take for a small business to go from the ordinary to a business that is leading innovative ideas in their space?

4 Strategies to develop a culture of innovation in your business!

  • Encourage innovation - Rewarding your staff with solid rewards for helping to try new and innovative initiatives is a simple way to help launch your company’s venture into innovation. Aim to create a buzz around discovering new and better ways to conduct  business and improve products and services.
  • Know what your market needs and wants - Keep your finger on the pulse of latest trends and ideas in your market. Endeavor to not only keep up, but be on the leading edge, which is only doable if you are watching and listening!
  • Be sure to connect with your existing customers - Listening and taking into serious consideration what your customers say about not only your business and products, but about what their wish list would contain is extremely important in helping to understand a direction you may want to investigate. Keep the conversation focused on the customer’s problems, and use those to help forge solutions!
  • Be open to new ideas - Don’t be reluctant to try new things. A great example of this in action is Behance.net, a Web-based platform for creative works, where artists can present their work regardless of their resumes, hoping to turn more ideas into reality.

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