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

(Image credit: Image Credit: Totojang1977 / Shutterstock)

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.”

Image Credit: Totojang1977 / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.