Small businesses are the vanguard of innovation They create the most jobs, account for an increasing share of patents, and introduce new disruptions to established firms.In order to succeed, though, a small business has to be smart.

A small business cannot be all things to all people. You must know where to compete and how to compete in order to succeed as a small business. There are two dimensions that will help characterize the opportunities.

One important dimension to consider

is the scale of Research & Development required to develop technologies in an industry. Some industries feature quite substantial economies of scale, such as petrochemical refining, semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceutical development, and mass market retailing. Other industries, however, do not exhibit these economic requirements, such as the toy industry, the medical device industry, and the fashion industry.

A second dimension to be considered

is the size of the market opportunity. Markets typically evolve through a life cycle, starting very small, progressing rapidly in a growth phase, plateauing in a mature phase, and then declining in the end-of- life phase.

Combining these two dimensions yields the 2-by-2 matrix shown below

Different Innovation Strategies for Small Businesses

The point of this matrix is that small businesses need different skills to succeed in different quadrants of the matrix. Niche businesses need to differentiate themselves, but do not need to worry about scaling up their business or investing heavily in technical skills. Specialist businesses must make greater investments in technology. Breakout businesses must race to stay ahead of rivals, while Dominant businesses are the domain of large companies, where small businesses do best by partnering or supplying the large firms.

Three Keys to Success
Know where to play

Don’t try to compete in multiple areas. Focus on your natural spot in the matrix.

Know how to play

Right size your investments in people, skills and technology. Too much investment can be as damaging as too little. Don’t invest beyond what the market will support. And pay attention to your key staff, since they embody the knowledge your company needs to succeed.

Don’t fear the large businesses

While large companies have more resources to work with, they also have many more meetings, bureaucracy and in-fighting to deal with. Small businesses move faster, learn quicker, and respond better to customers. Many innovations begin at the periphery of an industry, and small businesses are often in the vanguard of these new innovations.

Entrepreneurial Learning

If you innovate something, doesn’t mean you will gain success. It can only be successful when you make money out of it and when the company survives. Use of new process to introduce your product/service is innovation in business terms. seek innovative ideas that can be applied in the real world practically. This will create new products and improve services which makes your business run better.

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