Small business innovation – Some basics
While on the surface it would make perfect sense that the smaller, more agile entrepreneurial companies amongst us would be the most innovative. You would think this would be true. And you also would be wrong. It's not for a lack of trying or desire. It's simply that smaller businesses do not have the R & D budgets, the staff, and the vision that larger companies can commission. Needless to say, the challenge for small business innovation is to break past the glass ceiling keeping it from innovating, and get into the game! Fewer than half of small businesses were brought into being as the result of a new idea, according to a study by Erik Hurst and Benjamin Wild Pugsley of the University of Chicago. They assert that most new business is another ‘Me-too' venture, providing the already crowded marketplace another grocery, plumber or florist. Little innovation required, and thus little growth.
So how exactly does a small business get from the morass of just another business to one that is offering new and exciting services and products people are clamoring to try?
4 Tips for developing a culture of small business innovation!
- Reward and encourage innovation – Give your staff incentives and tangible rewards for identifying and helping to implement new and innovative initiatives. Creating some enthusiasm around finding new and better ways to run your business should benefit them also.
- Understand your markets' desires and needs – Keep abreast of the latest trends and ideas in your market. Make sure to be hooked in to all the news and views that are effecting your company, and take action on what you hear and see!
- Connect with existing customers – So that you can truly understand what may be a great idea for your customer, you need to talk to them. And even more than that, you ought to keep the conversation centered on customer's problems, and shape your recommendations to provide those answers!
- Be ready to try something new! – Don't be scared to be innovative. A shining demonstration of a company happy to fill a need is Behance.net, a Web-based platform for creative works, where artists can present their work regardless of their resumes, aiming to turn more ideas into reality.