While on the surface it would make sense that the smaller, more agile entrepreneurial companies amongst us would be the more innovative. You would think this is true. And you would be wrong. It’s not for a lack of trying or desire. It’s simply that smaller businesses lack 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 managing to keep it from innovating, and actually get into the game! Fewer than half of small businesses were brought into being as a 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 so how exactly does a small business get from the morass of just another business to one that is offering new and exciting products and services people are clamoring to try?
4 Tips for building a culture of innovation in your business!
- Encourage innovation – Rewarding your employees with tangible perks for helping to implement new and innovative initiatives is an easy way to help launch your company’s foray into innovation. Aim to create a buzz around uncovering new and better ways to conduct business and improve products and services.
- Know what your market wants and needs – Keep your finger on the pulse of current trends and ideas in your market. Endeavor to not only keep up, but be on the leading edge, which is only possible if you are watching and listening!
- Be sure to connect with your existing customers – Listening and taking into serious thought what your customers say about not just your business and products, but about what their wish list would contain is extremely important in helping to recognize a direction you may want to explore. Keep the conversation centered around what are the customer’s problems, and use those to help forge solutions!
- Be open to new ideas – Don’t be afraid to try new things. A great demonstration of this in action is Behance.net, a Web-based platform for creative works, where artists can display their work irrespective of their resumes, hoping to turn more ideas into reality.