Posted 25th July 2018 | By Nick Evans, Chairman

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ExtraMile Communications uses Research and Development (R&D) to keep ahead of its competitors and to ensure that its products and services are leading edge. In that context, the company benefits because it innovates, it works more efficiently and profitably and it also delights its customers with great solutions to their online marketing problems.

Enough about us. How about your business? Do you innovate? Do you work to push the boundaries of what is possible, daring to venture into realms of uncertainty in order to find new techniques, design new solutions to old problems or simply to invent something that will take the market by storm? Most companies do a small amount of that, but innovation through R&D can help build your business in ways that you might not expect. Here are six great reasons why, if you’re not already doing it, you should invest in R&D:

It helps keep your products and services lively and relevant. No one likes stale food, tired ideas or repetitive conversation. If you give your products and services the freshness test, how do they stand up? Is there room to make some progress in developing newer versions of the things you sell - newer, fresher and, oh, perhaps you’ll stumble across something that others have not considered.

  1. It helps you stay ahead of your competitors. Any company worth its salt watches its competitors and you don’t want your company to be “me too”. You want to lead the charge so, innovate because those other companies are thinking of doing the same.
  1. It helps your company grow when you innovate and produce new ideas and new features. Constant revisiting of your portfolio of products and services helps you understand where they fall short in terms of others in the marketplace. If you are invested in your products and services you’ll be watching market trends and seeing how new ideas are changing what people in your sector are doing. Don’t be a passive observer - be one of those who actively pushes things forward, tries new ideas (and fails from time to time - this is not a bad thing), dares to venture outside the comfort zone of “we’ve always done it like this”. Your company will grow as your offerings become more relevant to your customers. Put yourself in their shoes - what are the problems they experience? Are you giving them what they actually want, or what you think they want?
  2. It makes your business sustainable, maximises your profitability and helps reduce your cost of goods. Innovation isn’t just about inventing things. It’s about improving processes, streamlining production, reducing costs and, of course, making your product or service more relevant. When you do all of these things, your cost of goods goes down and so your profit goes up - simple.
  3. It makes your business more interesting to potential investors and purchasers. This may never have occurred to you, but businesses with an innovation culture, where people are actively looking for the “next thing” and are driving ideas from concept to production, this sort of business is attractive to people with money. They may want to buy you out, amalgamate you into their business or simply invest in you to have a ride on the success train that you are creating.
  4. The government will pay you to do it (if you conform to their requirements). This is the good bit. For SMEs, the government offers R&D Tax Credits for your corporation tax that reward much R&D activity very generously. These credits apply when your company is incorporated, meets the definitions of SME and follows the guidelines for eligibility. You can find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-research-and-development-tax-relief-for-small-and-medium-sized-enterprises. However, your best bet is to get a specialist to work with you on making your claim - they’ll help you to maximise the opportunity.

 

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