I’ve met many business leaders and entrepreneurs that don’t understand how to leverage innovation in small businesses.  These individuals often believe that business innovation is for large companies that employ scientists and have a large research and development department.  However, many small businesses can enjoy significant benefits from a well-designed innovation strategy.

In some cases, small businesses can do a better job at identifying and implementing innovations than a larger company.  These smaller companies can often act quickly to take advantage of creative ideas and get those ideas into the market by incorporating them into the company’s product or service.  This quick action gives the smaller company a competitive edge when they are “first to market” with a new product or a new feature.  I’ve seen countless examples of a small company acting quickly to implement a product innovation while bigger companies try to “catch up” with the smaller company.

When working with leaders of small businesses, I show them examples of other small businesses that have leveraged innovation to increase revenue, reduce expenses and create a competitive edge in their market.  Once these leaders understand the potential benefits of innovation, the next step is to educate everyone in the company about the innovation process.  An innovation disclosure program encourages all employees to submit creative ideas.  By celebrating and rewarding innovative ideas, these small businesses can generate a flood of creative ideas to grow the business.

If you’re a small business leader or entrepreneur, don’t think that innovation is limited to large companies.  You can benefit from leveraging innovation just as much (or more) than a large corporation.  I’ve seen it happen in hundreds of examples.