He said: “Innovation has become a really important way of communicating with customers. Sales rarely happen these days as a result of a single moment; they are nearly always dependent on dialogue, conversation and rapport with your customers.”

He added: “Being innovative enables you to have ongoing conversations with customers who aren’t going to be irritated by the intrusion and will instead be curious or even delighted to hear from you, because people want to know what’s new. They like the idea of being thought of as early adopters.”

Devonshire said that SMEs relying on the launch of one product a year to take their business forward should think again, saying that businesses should ideally be creating new products and services, or ways of getting them to customers, twice a quarter. “I would encourage small businesses to innovate their proposition once every six weeks. Six weeks in the life of a customer is a long time. If you are only launching one initiative a year to grow your business you are asking a lot of it.”