Companies that rest on their laurels often wither and die but those that are always improving their products or services will thrive.

Without innovation any business is going to become stagnant. You just can’t rest on your laurels and wait for something good to come along. You have to do something to make sure this happens. Innovation is an ongoing process of staying ahead. As soon as you think you have got it right, you need to tear it up and start again, because the hounds are always snapping at your heels. The minute you think you have got it right, warning bells should go off.

The secret of successful innovation was being brave enough to take the plunge – and then being committed to seeing it through.

Small businesses in particular needed to think carefully about how they were going to approach the concept of innovation because getting it wrong could be costly. The whole process of innovation is innately risky and no matter how good they are, most innovations simply will not stick. Innovation is expensive and time-consuming so you may need to consider other options – for example, can you quickly copy something you have seen which you think is a good idea? A lot of Japanese businesses used to do this very successfully.

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