Running a small business, often in niche service provision, leads to a narrowing of vision. Ironically this focus is what makes the small to medium enterprise good at what it does, becoming specialised. As such SME’s have a very important place in the wider economy as functional parts in broader supply chains or eco-systems. However the niche position, ecologically speaking, is also very vulnerable and being a link in any chain threatens the success of the larger system.
So how can we protect ourselves, sustain our livelihoods and grow? As a mechanic, I’d grease that chain, tighten the bolts and examine the diagnostic results to avoid catastrophic failure. If I was a biologist examining my niche, I would look for threats to my supply of resources, risks of predators and assess the competition of my peers. If I was an economist I would be looking at the whole system and would scrutinise my part in it, looking for trends to avoids pitfalls and capitalise on opportunities. A politician would develop grand schemes and sell a vision to the masses, gaining support in order to change the state of the nation. But as an SME there is a requirement to be all of these things and more. No one can be an expert in everything but occasionally a bit of structured help and advice can keep us on track in order to survive in the eco-system.
Survival is the result of evolution, but evolution takes generations to make an impact. In business we need a faster version of this and “Innovation” is that process. Innovation is the process of applying new or different thinking, methodologies or technology to a set of resources to gain advantage over that which went before. It can come in two main forms, incremental and disruptive and it is the introduction, management and enhanced capacity for innovation within businesses what will separate the survivors from the competition. Getting this advice and applying it could be the single best investment in time and money an SME could make to enhance its chances.
Innovate2Succeed, a business support programme, funded by Enterprise Europe Network and Innovate UK provides the free and diverse support, coaching and mentoring that helps SME’s enhance their innovation potential. Through our eclectic network, coaches and mentors, we can help develop new thinking, doing and supporting in your company to make sure the links in your chain remain strong and your ability to thrive helps you to grow.
Our advice is publicly funded and shown to be of high value. Call us now to secure your allocation of support.