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South Gloucestershire proves innovation is the key to business

The South Gloucestershire 7th Annual Business Forum took place at Bristol & Bath Science Park on 5th July 2017.

The event, which is aimed at SMEs in the area, provides opportunity for networking and collaboration along with the chance to hear from local businesses.

This year’s event was on the theme of Innovation and four local companies gave a fascinating insight into what innovation means to them. Red Door Coaching & Training; Enzygo; HiETA and Marshfield Bakery demonstrated that they have been able to go from strength to strength by actively innovating. Also on the panel was Gabriella Cox from Business West helping companies to hear about new schemes.

The event concluded with eight top tips to help you innovate your business

1.Think outside the Box

If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Listen to your client or customer needs and get one step ahead of the game. It’s the product that you develop that is important to the customer not the journey, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

2. You are not alone

Collaboration is key to business success. Find out what your business neighbours are doing and even your competitors! Can you work with others? You never know you might have the solution that someone else needs. By helping others, you can promote innovation through the delivery chain.

3. Use specific organisations to help you

Organisations such as the West of England Growth Hub and Business West can provide access to mentoring; match making services and much more. There are lots of free workshops and seminars you can attend to further expand your knowledge.

4. Talent

Make the most of the talent in your team. Can you upskill a member of staff and encourage them to grow? If people are empowered and valued they’ll work harder for you and be loyal to you. Think of different ways to recruit your team. Apprenticeships and internships are a great way to find new people with different skills sets. Look for people who challenge the norm, ask questions and have the commitment to drive the changes you want to see in your business.

5. Job Sharing

Poeple no longer want to work nine to five. Flexible working will become the norm and job sharing is a great way to use this tend to your advantage. Do a health check of your organisation – are you working effectively and do you need to encourage new ways of working.

6. Embrace new tech

Embrace new tech and keep up with the changes. Don’t get left behind and lose customers or clients as a result. Ask around and find out the latest tech thinking to keep your customers coming back. Ask yourself, if you were your customer would the service you offer work for you?

7. Look to scale – up

If you want to scale – up make sure you’re connected to the latest funding and grant opportunities out there. There are lots of websites and organisations who can help you, so check out your local business support and use the economic development team in your council.

8. Crowdfunding and investment

Find out who’s undertaking crowdfunding or investor pitching workshops in your area. If you are tapped into your business networks you might find you’re eligible to apply for help with crowdfunding. Lots of cities and large towns now have co-working spaces – take advantage of this to sit somewhere new and hear what your peers are saying. Sign up for newsletters and as with our scale-up tip make the most of your local council Economic Development team.

For further information on the Annual Innovation Breakfast or for help with your business needs please contact the South Gloucestershire Council Economic Development team T: 01454 863645

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