WHEN you think about innovation, do you think about Silicon Valley and technological advances and companies with big research and development budgets? Most people do, but the truth is that even the smallest businesses — from one-chair barbershops to popcorn vendors on the street — are capable of coming up with ideas that capture customers’ imaginations. When that happens, you are on your way to building a great brand.Although it might be hard to believe now, the story of the Virgin Group is one of a small business that succeeded because of our team’s innovative spirit. When my friends and I started up our first business, Student magazine, we were a bunch of young hippies barely managing to scratch a living, yet we knew we had an idea for a product that people would want: a publication geared toward young people like us. I lived in a friend’s basement, and our office was based in a church crypt that a vicar let us use. We eventually turned our camaraderie and enthusiasm into a global...

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