How to Challenge Large Companies with Innovation


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Friday, December 13, 2019

Facing competition from large companies is a major challenge for SMEs, but a bold, innovative mindset can help you hold your own against even the biggest rivals.

Article 3 Minutes
How to Challenge Large Companies with Innovation

For small businesses, competing with much larger corporations that have vast resources at their disposal can sometimes feel like an impossible task.

It's certainly true that holding your own against bigger, wealthier organizations is no easy task, but there are always strategies you can use to carve out a niche in the marketplace and give yourself a foothold for growth.

One weapon in your arsenal that could prove particularly effective in the battle against big businesses is innovation. It's much easier for small, agile enterprises to innovate and change how they do things than it is for large corporations.

Here are some of the things you can do to unlock the benefits of innovation:

Start small

Major innovations have the potential to disrupt entire industries - for example, consider the impact of digital media and streaming on the music and video rental sectors.

However, change within a business doesn't have to be revolutionary to deliver real advantages. Small, easily actionable innovations such as mixing up your teams to generate new ideas can have big consequences.

"It can be tempting to either spend all of your time thinking [about] the current business challenges, or to dream about visionary 'what-if' innovations at the expense of more obvious, smaller-scale initiatives that can drive critical short-term returns and customer satisfaction." - Tanya Hall, CEO, Greenleaf Book Group, writing for Inc.


Get everyone's input

The more people you have focused on a particular problem or thinking about how to take the business forward, the more innovative you’ll be.

Every individual in your firm is a valuable resource, because they could provide the unique angle or fresh perspective you need to take your next bold step and evolve as a business.

Encourage every member of staff to give constant thought to how the firm could be growing, modernizing and getting better. If they’ve experienced an issue with a client or encountered a tech problem that hindered them in doing their job, what changes could be made to stop the same thing happening again in the future?

Don't be afraid to try new things

'Fail fast' is a common business mantra that argues you shouldn't be afraid of failure, as long as you learn something from it and move on quickly.

As a small business, you could have a lot to gain from being bold and trying new things, since you have the agility required to make fresh changes and continue evolving if one strategy doesn't work out.

"You have to think you're smart and try things. If you don't, your competitors eventually will. The prize goes to the people with the guts to try." - Jim Hogan, president and co-founder of VMAC


Never get complacent

Regardless of how big you get and how much success you achieve, there’s always scope to improve and continue evolving. By maintaining a small business mindset that prioritizes agility, innovation and improvement, you’ll never lose sight of the principles that brought you your first taste of success.

There are many strategies that can help you avoid the pitfalls of complacency, such as constantly measuring yourself against competitors, gauging trends in customer feedback and setting ambitious goals.

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