SMBs 'need to completely reinvent' in next five years

Businessman by window

A quarter of SMBs in Europe expect to sell entirely different products and services with the next five years to stay in business according to new research from Ricoh Europe.

The firm surveyed 3,300 SMB leaders across 23 countries to better understand how the continent's small and medium sized businesses are re-evaluating their market offerings in order to keep pace with consumer demands in the digital age.

These heightened customer demands have led 59 per cent of SMB leaders to claim that innovation is now a top priority. Value for money, demand for choice and emphasis on the quality of experience were deemed by SMB leaders to have the most influence over how market offerings can stay current and relevant.

Of those surveyed, 91 per cent now expect to change their products and services to at least some degree to remain relevant during the next five years.

The need to innovate

Technology is seen as playing a key role in the innovation process with 45 per cent of SMB leaders planning to use data driven insights to help shape their product set. 

However, there are still concerns and 59 per cent are calling for access to improved workplace technologies, 42 per cent want clearer routes to funding and 39 per cent identified complex regulation as a key challenge.

Ricoh Europe's CEO David Mills explained how technology is allowing the company to innovate and be more agile, saying:

“Innovation offers us the opportunity to reduce our time to market. Our aim is to get customers the best solution possible, as soon as we can and at the lowest price. Technical competence is one of the key ingredients to our success. We’re constantly considering new ways to do business and conceiving original approaches to old problems. If there’s an incredible new product we want our sales teams to show our customers, then they need to have access to it the day after we’re updated by our suppliers. By using technology in new ways, we’re able to spread an agile mindset and innovative products throughout the company extremely quickly and ahead of our competitors.”