Innovation for SMEs ‘as standard’ with the right approach.

Scalable transformation and growth requires strategy and bravery, but the process needed is common to businesses of all sizes.

Start with inside out, then outside in. Be objective and rational, look at performance, your wins, and your losses. Think big picture, identify trends, do your SWOT analysis. Who are your competitors and who’s lurking? What are their strengths, weaknesses? Plot your sector landscape and see where you fit.

From the outside, observe and evaluate. Speak to staff, stakeholders and customers as well as potential customers. Be brave speak to your detractors and critics. Be hungry for their perspective, listen and learn.

Evaluate your business model, ask difficult questions. Is it still relevant and working hard enough? Are you optimising revenue streams? Does it need an overhaul or just an update? Why are your customers buying from you and why aren’t they? Get under their skin- what are their pain points, how do you ease these? Don’t underestimate the importance of your brand’s ‘who, what, how’ – does it still resonate?

Be collaborative, seek partners and play to your strengths.

Be smart with technology, re-calibrate legacy systems to more efficient processes, alleviate the unnecessary and free up time. Use tech wisely and when appropriate, don’t waste time, effort and money just because you think you should.

With new products and services, be agile, test, drop what doesn’t work and move on. Don’t be afraid to fail, you’ll learn precious insights and it’ll help you adapt.

Anticipate change and be curious. Look to parallel industries for inspiration, become a sponge. Listen, observe and then listen again. In short, be brave, think creative, act smart, stay rational and get excited.

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