Now, perhaps more than ever before, it’s important to give your business a much needed boost with new and innovative business practices. Particularly as we adjust to a new sense of ‘normal’, and the world starts to open back up again following the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to look at ways in which you can change your business and its practices to bring your SME into a modern era.
Afterall, it’s a fast-paced world out there, and innovation really is the aim of the game to separate you from the hundreds of potential competitors you may have, particularly as the world moves increasingly more online. So, if your business is not continuing to invest in new and inventive ways to operate, the chances are you will end up falling behind.
Read on to find the top three ways you can drive innovation in your small business, and how this will help you to take on the challenges of operating a business in the digital age.
1) Embrace technology
This one might seem like an obvious place to start. The modern world is a world that stems from the boom in technology. From operation automation to artificial intelligence, technology now runs through every single department of any business. So, with that being said, surely the introduction of technology can help to spark innovation and change? It certainly can!
By giving your employees access to greater technologies, you are enabling them to find new and innovative ways to achieve business goals. Plus, by freeing up their time with automated processes, you are allowing your employees the freedom and time needed to develop exciting new ideas.
2) Monitor your progress
The world is evolving every single day, and one clear evolution that has come to the forefront of many businesses is the development of IIoT, also known as the Internet of Things.
The boom in IIoT has led to more and more data being available at our very fingertips. Whether that is customer data, industry data, market data, or even data relating to your business and its performance, data truly is nothing without analysis and interpretation. This is why it is so important to monitor your businesses performance and interpret this data to understand how your business is performing, whilst also highlighting valuable opportunities for innovation and performance improvement.
Keep an eye on all of the relevant insights you can think of, from competitor insights to sales data and so much more. These insights can be used to fuel your innovation strategy. Plus, they will help you to understand what is working and what is not so you can scrap costly, ineffective, resources-draining activities before they start to take too much of a toll on your time and bottom line.
For a truly innovative plan, be sure to research the needs of your customers’ demographic and highlight any pain points that you can respond to.
3) Invest in research and development
Research and development is a natural part of innovation. By developing new and exciting products, services or business practices, you can work to be a part of the change that drives innovation in your business. Research and development covers a wide range of developments you can make as a business to improve and innovate. These are things such as:
● The design and development of new products
● Creating more cost-effective processes as a business
● Developing more time-efficient processes for your business
● New project development
● Improvements in processes, services, materials or devices used by your SME
● The design and development of prototypes and all associated testing
● The design and development of software and IT solutions for your business
● Improving any form of process across the business to boost your productivity.
Another simple and straightforward way to innovate and improve your business is to invest in skilled technical staff who can support that need for innovation and business change.
Plus, did you know that when you invest in research and development for your business, you are not only working to drive real innovation and change, but you can also claim R&D tax credits? These tax credits are a great Government incentive designed to reward all British businesses, including SMEs like yours, for creating innovative processes, products, and services. Claiming R&D tax credits can help to boost your cash flow in the form of a lump-sum cash payment, or a way to offset your corporation tax bill.
These funds are then a great resource to be reinvested into your business to help drive forward real change and innovation over the next financial year. To find out if you’re eligible, why not complete an R&D eligibility checker.
Drive your business forward with innovation
We’ve outlined three straightforward ways to drive real change in your SME through the development of innovative new business practices, products or services. Plus, when you work to create innovative change in your business, you may be eligible to claim back tax credits to offset against your corporation tax bills – all of which can be reinvested to give your SME the vital funds needed to boost your business!