European SMBs could go out of business if they don't innovate

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The business landscape for small and medium-sized businesses is changing dramatically, and if they don’t adapt – fast – they’ll be put out of business.

This is according to a new report by Ricoh Europe, which says fundamental changes like digital disruption, regulatory requirements and economic shifts are forcing businesses to innovate or die.

Out of 3,300 SMB leaders in 23 countries that were polled for the report, a third (34 per cent) said they’d go out of business by 2020 if they don’t do something.

Just over half (56 per cent) are looking to increase profit and grow their operations (54 per cent). More than nine in ten (92 per cent) understand how important digital disruption is, yet 59 per cent can’t reap the benefits just yet.

“While the research is something of a wake-up call, the good news is that SMB leaders are acutely aware of the change happening in their markets and of the need to innovate,” says David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe.

“Now is the time to take a proactive stance and face disruption head-on. Any business that misjudges how to adapt their processes and strategies risks leaving their future open to chance.”

 The report doesn’t just observe, it also offers a few pointers for SMBs looking to make it through these challenging times. It says there are three key areas where SMBs should be applying technology, and that is 1) to build closer customer relationships; 2) to create a smarter workplace; and 3) to foster the full potential of talented individuals.

Mills concludes: “We work with SMBs across Europe who are already realising the benefits of approaching innovation in a new light. Whether that is streamlining operations to introduce products to the market in half the time, using cloud services to speed-up processes or experimenting with new ways to engage with customers and employees, the more innovation-minded SMBs are levelling the playing field against their larger rivals.”

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