Innovation – Why a small business owner should bother
Innovation is one of the commercial buzz words of the moment. It is usually found in the high-tech scene. It is often associated with the X, Y , Z generations. The question is should us other mere mortals, perched outside these categories, need to bother?
In the UK, the piercing role of innovation in SME growth was detailed in the Unlocking UK Productivity report, co-produced by Goldman Sachs, the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and the British Business Bank (BBB).
Across all sectors, it found that innovation boosted productivity and facilitated substantial growth in sales. Survival rates were also higher in SMEs that innovate, for the simple reason that they are better able to adapt to challenging market conditions.
This message was brought home to me earlier today, when I met up with a client in central Jerusalem. Now this was early days as their business mentor. However, they were eager to stress: –
- They constantly seek to learn about new techniques available in their profession.
- They look to boost sales via this acquired knowledge.
- Further, the knowledge appears to empower the business owner, who is totally committed to what they do. they love their job, and try to motivate others around them.
Interestingly, without having ready numbers available, it would appear that their sales have just about held their own, at a time when local competitors are struggling.
A few hours later, I received an email from another client of mine, Sonya Davidson, who is developing her start up company in the field of alternative energy. Summarising her trip to France, where she met up with potential investors, Sonya effectively spelt out how her technique to be innovative is beginning to pay off. What she stressed was that entrepreneurship does not just refer to new technology. It applies to all aspects of a business – client management, financial planning, logistics et al – and for all types of commerce.
Remember the lesson of the great manager of Manchester United Football Club. Even when he had a team conquering the best opponents in Europe, he was looking to recreate it around a small successful core of key players. Why? He was always aware that his opponents would catch him up quicker than could be anticipated.
There is an obvious lesson in this posting. Be you a shop, service provider, high-techy or otherwise, whatever your size, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels for too long, in any aspect of your business.