Lord Digby Jones: Be Innovative to Grow

Lord Digby JonesSmall firms must “rediscover innovation” if they want to expand this year, former Confederation of British Industry (CBI) chief Lord Digby Jones has urged.

Speaking at the launch of Vodafone’s new London-based small business store, Lord Jones said firms had to adapt to changing needs in order to stay competitive in 2010.

Businesses often became stale, he added, because they fail to reinvent themselves. said Jones;

“They don’t reanalyse what they’re doing. They think ‘this is working, let’s leave it at that’. But when China wants your lunch and India wants your dinner, they’ll reinvent your idea for sure.”

He also stressed the importance of cash in a growing business, and called on small firms not to “bankroll” their clients by giving extended credit.

“Cash is king,” said Jones. “Firms must ensure bills go out on time and are paid on time.

“Having the courage to constantly seek out new markets and better customers is also vital for growth,” he added.

Commenting on Lord Jones’ advice, a Forum of Private Business spokesman agreed that cashflow was key for small businesses, but said that many found it difficult to stay innovative in the current climate.

“It’s unrealistic to expect businesses to behave as if they’re in Dragons’ Den. However, sometimes small firms do need a gentle reminder that they’ve got to think for themselves and stay ahead, even when times are tough. Too often, businesses get drawn into negative thinking rather than sorting out problems or finding new customers.”

For further reading see the business advice article on innovation.

Lord Digby Jones

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