Small businesses thrive on innovation in a fast-changing world

21 Nov, 2017

Technological innovations are coming through at a rapid pace; forcing industries, especially small businesses, to adopt change in order to stay in the game against competitors. The benefits are undeniable, from artificial intelligence to automation technology that controls and monitors the production and delivery of products and services, ultimately eliminating human error.

With technology advancements, smaller companies now have the ability to do business with larger vendors, without making major investments before they are ready.

A picture of a man frustrated - Nashua banner

The small business sector is diverse and forms a vital part of the economy. Small businesses are identified as productive drivers of employment, inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa. Research estimates indicate that 91% of formalised businesses provide employment to about 60% of the labour force and total economic output accounts for roughly 34% of GDP. With that said, innovative and technology-based small businesses can provide a platform for international growth, especially in the BRICS economies.

Many think wrongly of innovation as a separate activity – something that exists independently of the regular course of business and that has to be pursued intentionally. However, a thorough understanding of your customers is vital for successful innovation. Small-business owners are often much closer to their customers and intimate customer knowledge positions them optimally for innovation.

Small businesses are flexible and optimally structured for fast decision-making, allowing them to be first to market with innovative ideas. When a valuable idea is discovered, a small business can quickly evaluate, approve, develop and launch to potential customers. This rapid implementation is what distinguishes the business as an innovator, and causes its competitors to play “catch up”.

To compete effectively with the big boys, small businesses need to make the correct ICT investment a priority. However, making investments, comparable in size and scope to large enterprises, is often not a financial reality for small businesses.

Innovation allows for small businesses to actively add technological capabilities without making huge investments in their infrastructure. Traditionally speaking, this demands that your physical infrastructure change in conjunction with your business size, opening the floodgates to additional costs associated with hardware and maintenance. Adjusting with cloud technology is a quick phone call or mouse click away and involves much smaller capital outlays.

Actively investing in technology advancements as the business grows, allows the organisation to increase in size at a manageable pace, keeping it competitive in the market without breaking the bank.

Nashua professional services is a department tailor-made to address issues by providing strategic guidance and consultancy during the planning process. It finds and custom designs the most appropriate technology and works closely with employees to maximise the benefits, thus ensuring total acceptance of new systems. Faster onboarding means faster revenue generation for customers and partners, which has a direct impact on the bottom line.

Effective scaling has often been a pain point for small businesses. Innovations in the technology sector have levelled the playing field to empower organisations with the tools they need to compete with large enterprises. It is critical that small businesses adapt accordingly, or face the reality of never making it onto the Fortune 1000 list.

The world is moving ever closer to becoming ‘online only’, and the possibilities the future holds for small businesses are endless. By embracing the technology that Nashua has on offer and combining that with a spirit of innovation to push boundaries, there are incredible things yet to come.