This paper examines the contribution of external inputs to the innovation performance of small manufacturing firms (SMFs) in New York State. Survey data from a 4-sector sample of SMFs is presented. Particular attention is given to recent patterns of external spending on technological, management, and information services. The results suggest that innovation performance is enhanced by external sources of scientific, technical, and professional support. SMFs with well developed internal technical skills are found to exhibit above average spending on external help. Elaborate patterns of external knowledge acquisition are found to be particularly prevalent among innovative firms that derive a substantial proportion of their current sales from new or significantly improved products. The empirical results are compared with the findings reported by other North American and European studies. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implication of the survey results for regional development agencies and R&D managers.