Why it pays for small businesses to be innovative
Innovation is key to the success of any business. If you want your company to thrive in today’s competitive market, you need to be constantly innovating the way you do business.
Being innovative allows businesses to be more agile and flexible, which helps them respond quickly to new opportunities, stay ahead of the competition, and ultimately improve their bottom line.
Consumers are often attracted to brands that are constantly innovating and improving because they know that these businesses will be able to provide them with the latest and greatest products and services.
Today’s most successful global brands that began as start-ups set themselves apart from their competitors by leveraging innovative technology or practices (think Uber, Airbnb and Amazon).
But you don’t have to be a billion dollar business to benefit from innovation. In fact, many Australian SMEs have used innovative ways to pivot their businesses during the pandemic.
And in 2022, with international borders reopen, international expansion is back on the table.
How to become innovation-active
Looking for innovation inspiration? Here are 5 ways to make your business more innovative:
- Look beyond day-to-day tasks: To be innovative, you have to think beyond the day-to-day tasks and look at the big picture. What new products or services can you offer that will make a difference for your customers?
- Explore new ways to solve existing problems. Finding new and better ways to tackle challenges can save you time and money, and help deliver better value to your customers.
- Use technology to speed up or automate time-consuming tasks: This frees up time for you and your staff to focus more on what’s ahead.
- Encourage creativity: Innovation requires creativity. Encourage creativity in your organisation by providing employees with opportunities to brainstorm new ideas and giving them the freedom to experiment.
- Encourage collaboration: Innovation often happens when people come together and collaborate. Don’t just encourage collaboration internally, look for mutually beneficial ways to partner with other brands.
What’s holding businesses back?
Not all businesses are able to innovate successfully. Data collected from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that innovation fell during the pandemic, with only around half of all businesses being innovation-active. As 86% of Australian businesses were impacted by Covid-19, it’s no surprise that innovation took a back seat for a couple of years.
Now with the pandemic peak in the rear-view mirror, SMEs are ready to grow their businesses and expand to new markets. However, they face new barriers preventing them from becoming more innovative.
According to the ABS, the biggest barriers holding businesses back from being innovative include lack of access to additional funds (20%), and the cost development or introduction/implementation of innovation (15%).
How to kickstart your innovation journey with a small business loan
If you’re looking to fund innovation in your business, you may be able to do so with a business loan. Business loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including funding research and development, purchasing new equipment or machinery, or expanding your premises.
When applying for a business loan, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for how the funds will be used and how the innovation will benefit your business.
At OnDeck, we understand that innovation is essential for businesses to grow and succeed. That’s why we offer business loans to help businesses fund their next big innovation.
Get in touch with our expert team today to find out how an OnDeck business loan can kickstart your next innovative project.
How do I know if my business is ready for innovation?
If you’re not sure whether your business is ready for innovation, it’s a good idea to consult with an expert. They can help you assess your business’s needs and capabilities, and develop a plan for how to best approach innovation.
What are some common innovation mistakes businesses make?
Some common innovation mistakes businesses make include: failing to define what they want to achieve, not involving employees in the innovation process, not considering customer needs, and trying to do too much at once. By avoiding these mistakes, you can set your business up for success.
Can small businesses be innovative?
Yes, small businesses can be innovative. In fact, they often have to be in order to compete with larger businesses. However, there are some challenges that small businesses face when it comes to innovation, such as lack of resources and expertise. By taking some or all of these steps, you can encourage a culture of innovation in your business and overcome the barriers to becoming more innovative.
What do lenders look for in a small business loan application?
When applying for a business loan, lenders will need key information they to assess your suitability for a loan, including:
- Basic details about you and your business
- Proof of identity documents
- Business financial statements
Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at October 2022. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.