Innovative Behaviors Small Business Owners Need In Order For Their Startup To Succeed

Innovation seems to be the hot topic of the year. From the latest Kickstarter project to new technologies, everything is being labeled innovative and world changing. However, innovation is not always about changing the world or creating the next big trend. It often starts as a simple change that might not even be noticed. This is especially common in the small business sector. Though small businesses were once thought of as rigid and less than innovative, this is far from the truth. Most flourishing startups include some level of innovation. These nine behaviors are ways to ensure that innovation drives your startup or small business to succeed.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. Be Open to New Ways of Conducting Business

The most innovative small business owners are those that are willing to try new ideas. When you continue to do things the same way, it is easy to fall into a routine. When this happens, innovation is unlikely. From finding new ways to attract clients and customers to changing your standard workflow or business model, each method could offer new and innovative ways to push your startup to the next level.

2. Understand Your Customers

Most major innovations in the past decade were not a matter of simply creating something that others had not thought of before. It was the result of knowing the market, knowing customers and acting on their thoughts and opinions. At the end of the day, customers are what will decide the success of your startup. By truly connecting with them and getting to know them, you can improve innovation within your company and always ensure that you are aligned with the interests of your target audience. This has an added benefit of strengthening your brand as well.

3. Analyze Everything

Innovation is not always about overcoming failure. Sometimes, innovation is a product of success. A major aspect of cultivating innovation within a small business is analyzing everything. From the efficiency of payroll to employee or customer ideas on how to improve the business, considering every idea and weighing the benefits can lead to surprising results. If you are not always tracking and honing your business endeavors, you are missing golden opportunities and chances for success.

4. Create Solutions Not Products and Services

Innovation is about changing existing methods, creating new solutions and solving problems in previously unseen ways. While most small businesses focus on providing a product or service, innovative business owners are providing solutions. In many ways, this leads back to understanding your customers and market. If you see a common problem, you might be able to exploit it for short-term success. However, creating a solution will providing long-term results. This is the essence of innovation.

5. Be Proactive

Innovative businesses are not simply following business trends and keeping the business afloat. They are leading the way, charting new paths and creating tomorrow’s trends. Instead of reacting to market trends or other common issues, be proactive. Market research, trends analysis and constantly working to improve your business are great ways to ensure that you are a leader and proactive in your market.

6. Communicate Openly and Often

Innovation is often the result of looking at something differently than the competition. This means that the more angles and opinions you receive on a given issue, process or product, the greater the chance for innovation to occur. A great way to improve the number of inputs available to your business is to encourage open communication. From clients and customers to your accountant or employees, each thought that they have could be the next big step for your business. By encouraging and promoting open communication, these thoughts can be shared, adapted and applied to your business to help push it toward further success.

7. Never Settle

For the innovative entrepreneur, nothing is ever good enough. This does not mean that you should never acknowledge your own successes or should devote every second of your day to your business. It simply means that innovators realize that there is always room for improvement. When your business stops striving to improve, it also stops innovating. Experiment, communicate, analyze and use every tool that you have available to push your business forward and innovation is sure to follow.

8. Be Resourceful

Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that innovation involves complex laboratories or massive investments. Not only is this untrue, it is actually the direct opposite of most cases. Small businesses are prime candidates for innovative discovery due to the lack of funding, size and stability that many larger businesses enjoy. This forces business owners to think of new ways to accomplish more with less. An innovative business owner does not merely invest money into problems—they invest minds as well.

9. Know Your Market and Your Competition

Sometimes innovation does not come from the inside of the business. Competitor successes and failures can be a valuable source of information for the innovative small business. Technology has made it easier than ever to keep in touch with peers, competitors and other sources of market information. Whether you are following major industry names on social media or networking at the local chamber of commerce, every piece of information you gain about the efforts of other businesses can help to spur change and innovation within your own business.

Innovation is not an event or process; it is a mindset. With the increasingly competitive nature of business in the digital world, small businesses are leading the way for innovation and driving new market trends. These 9 behaviors are ways to integrate innovation into any small business and improve your chances of success.

About the Author: Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. In addition to writing for firms such as IBM, Colgate, Transunion, Webroot and a multitude of private clients and websites, he also shoots, directs, and edits the hit celebrity web series “Teens Wanna Know”. Catch his rare blog posts on, and connect with him on Google+, LinkedIn.

3 Great Initial Investments for Small Businesses

Some may say that a business is only as good as the tools it uses. If you don’t start out with some form of efficiency, you could be doomed to fail. There are several initial investments you could purchase in order to start your business off on the right foot. While you don’t have to spend a great deal of money to provide stability, an investment of some kind is still required for immediate success in specific areas.

startup investments
photo credit: brianfling via photopin cc

1. Quickbooks – For the small business, Quickbooks can be one of your greatest assets. Not only does this program provide tracking for your bank accounts, but it also handles a large amount of your business practices. Inventory control, payroll, bills, and more can be tracked from Quickbooks providing a wide range of reports to help you analyze what areas your business needs to improve on.

Taxes and end-of-year business can be easily compiled and printed without putting much effort into it. As long as you entered the data correctly throughout the year, taxes could take you a fraction of the time and 1099s could be quickly produced for any contract labor you employed.

2. Computer Network – Having a computer network should go without saying. As nearly everything we do in today’s world requires access to the Internet, having a computer system can save a great deal of time and money. However, does your small business need an expensive server and network in order to function?

A file server could be beneficial if your organization uses a lot of files that need to be shared with one-another. For this purpose, a small $600 desktop server would suffice. Essentially, these servers are nothing more than a regular computer with a server software installed on it. It may not be a bad idea to increase the hard drive size as much as possible, but a file server doesn’t need to have a lot of power behind it.

For a small business, gigabit Ethernet capabilities are more of a luxury that shouldn’t be required. Again, this could greatly depend on the type of business you are starting. The basic 10/100 Ethernet network is far cheaper to build now-days and could serve your business purposes well. Unless you are planning to hammer the network bandwidth using a lot of streaming content, game playing, or other function that requires faster speeds you should save your money.

3. Website – As a large amount of people use smartphones to search for local businesses, you should have a website with all of your products and services described in detail. For less than $120 per year, you could have a website that could generate its own income or simply provide information about your business.

If you’re not interested in hosting eCommerce, your website could still serve a purpose to supply information to potential customers. With enough content, your website could generate revenue with Adsense by receiving money for hosting advertisements of other companies. There is a great deal of potential with a website and if nothing more, it can serve as a great way to advertise your business to the local community.

Although you can still start your business without any of the above tools, they are still a very wise investment. They can save you time, money, and stress from having to alter your methods of conducting business. As long as you track every dime and where it is spent, you can have a handle on how your business functions.

Author Bio: Nancy provides feedback on all elements of the site “” helping us to really make sure that we are making it as easy as possible for caregivers to sign up and find work.  In addition, she spends quite a bit of her time on freelance writing tasks.