The divide between the level of importance SMEs place on new technology for their business and the amount they actually invest in it is large.
According to Business Matters, more than 75% of small business leaders think technological innovation is important for the future of their business, yet one in ten have failed to invest in any new tech over the past 12 months.
Barriers include a lack of budget, concerns about the security of staff skills and the potential uncertainty over the future of Brexit have been, but in reality these investments are extremely important for the future of UK business.
The power of R&D
Research and development is so important when setting up a business. It is what will enable your business to develop, design and enhance its products, services and technologies.
The benefits are very clear, as it presents opportunities for new product lines and increased productivity. There are even government-backed incentives and funding schemes to promote research and development.
The government schemes you can explore could bring you funding of between £25,000 and £10 million through organisations like Innovate UK.
There are also the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), both of which offer tax relief for investors who purchase shares in higher-risk trading companies – a great way for small business to attract much-needed investment that can be put into building for the future.
The human touch
Of course, investing in the future is not just about a financial investment.
Leaders must make an investment in their people if they want to retain employees with the hunger to grow and expand their business.
The employee lifecycle consists of advertising, recruitment, training and lost productivity, and every time an employee moves on you have to go through this cycle again, pushing costs higher and higher.
By offering good salaries, staff benefits and nurturing environments/structures where your employees can grow, you make a good investment in your human capital. And by developing the skillsets of your team, you get the very best out of them and they will give the biggest return on investment for your company.
No resource is more scarce than your human capital, and the success of your organisation lies in the contentment, competence and expertise of the people that make everything happen.
Look to your investors and board members for perspective on the structure and skillsets in your human resources, but also listen to what your team says about their experience.
There is no more transformative investment in the future of your business than creating a work environment that unleashes the full potential of employees.
An inspired employee is a productive one, and by investing in new technologies and broad skillsets, your business will grow in ways you never imagined.