While at first glance it would make perfect sense that the smaller, more agile entrepreneurial companies amongst us would be by far the most innovative. You’d think this would be 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.

Clearly, 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 state that most new business is another “Me-too” venture, offering 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 services and products people are clamoring to try?

4  Ways to generate a culture of innovation in your business!

  • Encourage innovation – Rewarding your employees with tangible perks for helping to implement new and innovative initiatives is a simple way to help launch your company’s venture into innovation. Seek to create a buzz around discovering new and better ways to conduct  business and improve products and services.
  • Understand your markets’ needs and desires – Keep abreast of the latest trends and ideas within 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!
  • 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 paramount in helping to understand a direction you might want to investigate. Keep the conversation focused on what are the customer’s problems, and make use of those to help create solutions!
  • Be ready to try something new! – Don’t be scared to be innovative. A great example of a company willing to fill a need is Behance.net, a Web-based platform for creative works, where artists can show their work regardless of their resumes, aiming to turn more ideas into reality.

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