How can I ensure my business is innovative?

Hi All 

It would be great to get some thoughts on how I can ensure my business is innovative. 



  • hmmm, for me I am always trying to look at technology and see what direction it is going and see how it can improve what we do as a business. Unfortunately I am not one you would classify as an 'early adopter', so i tend to look what is happening and wait for others to lead the way.



  • Hi Paul 

    Innovation isn't just the playground of tech giants or huge corporations. Nor is it confined to iPhones, Teslas, or rockets to Mars. It's about tackling real-world problems that beg for solutions. Let's be honest. Can large corporations innovate at a rapid pace?

    Most often, they can't. Their size, procedures, and culture can hinder agility. This is where SMBs have the upper hand, with their inherent flexibility and adaptability. However, SMEs often perceive their budget and capacity as limitations.

    This mindset only holds if you think innovation always has to be big / disruptive. It doesn't.

    Here's 7 ways you can foster innovation in your SME:

    1. Stay Curious: Thinking you have all the answers is a one-way ticket to stagnation. Cultivate a culture of curiosity within you and your team. Encourage questions and hold regular brainstorming sessions. Found a problem? Brainstorm, vote, try, reflect, and repeat.

    2. Adopt a Customer-Centric Approach: The simplest way to innovate is by listening to your customers. A simple "How can I improve your experience, next time?" can provide invaluable insights. What can you implement from this feedback?
    Don’t think too much. Just do it and reflect.

    3. Invest in Continuous Learning: Skills and perspectives evolve. Encourage your team to study your competitors and pursue (free) courses & workshops. Ask yourself, what can we learn today to improve tomorrow?

    4. Collaborate Outside Your Circle: Strategic partnerships can provide fresh perspectives. For instance, a coffee shop might team up with a local bookstore to elevate the customer experience. Who can you partner with for mutual growth?
    The best innovations come from collaboration & intersection.

    5. Stay Tech-Savvy: Saying "I'm not tech-savvy" is no longer an option. The world will increasingly rely on AI. Start by engaging with AI platforms like ChatGPT/Bard to familiarize yourself. How can AI support your business goals?
    The trick to getting good responses is:
    - Setting the context
    - Explaining the format
    - Asking the question
    - Iterating, until you’re happy

    6. Encourage “intrapreneurship”: Empower your team to lead initiatives or pilot new strategies. Both successes and failures offer learning opportunities. What's an innovative initiative you can greenlight today?

    7. Revisit and Revise: Markets and needs change. Regularly update your strategies, processes, and products. What worked last year might be outdated today. Remember, innovation isn't just about big disruptions or inventions. Sometimes it's the small, consistent tweaks that keep a business relevant and efficient.

    SMB owners, what's one innovation you've successfully implemented in your business? 

  • I agree Nick I would always wait for others to lead on innovation. However, I have started to take more of a leap of faith and try things for myself first. It's all about the learning curve. 

  • Thanks Fred really informative advice given. 

  • I like to keep an eye on what my competitors are doing.  Not so I can copy them, just so I can get new ideas and make sure I'm keeping up with everyone else.  I often find that there are great ideas out there that haven't been fully explored, so with some careful research I can do better than what I've seen somewhere else.

    I also like to take advantage of free webinars from my accounting software (Sage!) and website provider (Wix) which is a great way of finding out about new products and what's coming up.