Creativity is a continuous activity for every small business; always seeing new ways of doing things with little concern for how difficult they might be or whether the resources are available. But creativity must be combined with the ability to innovate, to take the idea and make it work in practice.
Doing things differently, better, quicker, and more cost efficiently are what innovation is about in small businesses.
As competition for customers and resources become more and more intense the ability of a company to innovate is often more important than any other factor in its sustainability.
As a small business owner you should apply innovative ideas to all areas of your business; production, finance, planning, human resource management and marketing.
The advantages of small businesses in relation to innovation relate specifically to size; dynamism, internal flexibility, short lead times and responsiveness to change. Meanwhile, the barriers to innovation have been identified in general as: -
- A general lack of suitably qualified technical specialists within small firms;
- Lack of time and resources to identify and use external sources of information, technical and scientific expertise.
Pathways to Innovation Advice
There are many pathways to advice and information on aspects of innovation for your new business. Many of these will be very particular to the sector that your business will be operating in, whilst others will be more general.
Networking is one of the powerful tools for learning of new ways of doing things – and is also the cheapest. Many of the agencies listed in this Guide are in a position to help you further in developing new ideas, products or services.
If you are looking to research a new product or service, organisations including Enterprise Ireland (www.enterprise-ireland.com), and the International Research and Development Group (www.irdg.ie) will offer assistance.