Innovation in Small Business

The latest Intuit Future of Small Business Report, written by Emergent Research, focuses on the key factors that drive, enable, amplify and shape the outcome of innovation, and the six characteristics of innovative companies. The report is part of the ongoing Intuit Future of Small Business series, conducted by Emergent Research and the Institute for the Future.

Small business owners are natural innovators, the study found, with their inspiration driven by three needs: necessity, opportunity and ingenuity. Whether prompted by changes in the marketplace, competitive pressures or simply the desire to create something bigger and better, small businesses are constantly refining and redefining how they work and what they produce.

Innovation Enablers

Compared to large corporations, small businesses have a number of innovation advantages that enable them to more readily identify opportunities, quickly react to changing conditions and remain competitive. Their smaller size makes it easier and cheaper to try new approaches faster than larger businesses. These six enablers include:

  • Personal passion: Personally invested, most small business owners are willing to try new approaches to make their business more successful.
  • Customer connection: A deep and direct relationship with the market and customers helps small businesses understand customer needs, identify new opportunities, and fix problems quickly and efficiently.
  • Agility and adaptation: Unlike large corporations, small businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and implement new business practices.
  • Experimentation and improvisation: When pursuing new opportunities, many small business owners and managers aren’t afraid to experiment and improvise, accepting failure as part of the path to success.
  • Resource limitations: Small businesses are adept at doing more with less. And these resource constraints lend to their innovative mindset.
  • Information sharing and collaboration: Small businesses traditionally rely on strong social networks to share information and inspire innovative thinking.