Need a job? Invent it.
This is the title of a New York Times article that was written almost two years ago about the changing nature of young professional life. In part it discussed how even those lucky college graduates who find their first “real” jobs early on will need to learn to adapt and innovate in order to keep themselves relevant. But it also discussed the motivation and curiosity young people in today’s world need when entering the work force. People need to be just as ready to create their own opportunities as to find existing ones.
It’s this mindset that’s largely behind the surge in entrepreneurship we’ve seen in the last several years. Entrepreneurship is on the rise pretty much across the board-in various industries, for men, for women, and even for active students. Last fall it was determined that 14 percent of the working age population is accounted for by entrepreneurs, and that’s the highest rate since 1999.
But being an entrepreneur in today’s environment isn’t just about curiosity and motivation. It also requires several distinct skill sets, regardless of the specific industry you plan on entering. Modern entrepreneurs have to be equipped to deal with all the technological changes affecting places of business. And that doesn’t just mean knowing how to build a company website. These are a few more tech trends that young, hopeful entrepreneurs need to take note of.
One of the biggest trends for small businesses in today’s world is that they operate on the cloud. This is probably not news to modern college students and young professionals, but there’s a big difference between recognizing the importance of cloud computing and being able to make use of it. Generally speaking, a cloud network is cheaper than other data and collaboration systems to maintain, and it can also help employees to work together on everything from internal projects to marketing campaigns. A lot of small business owners even use cloud networks to better track company finances.
Digital payment does not necessarily refer to a single service. For some, Apple Pay may be the first thing that comes to mind; for others, it may be Bitcoin. Whatever the case, a modern business with brick-and-mortar locations needs to be equipped to handle digital payment methods, because a growing number of consumers want to use them. This means having the equipment needed to process various forms of payment that can be executed via a mobile device, rather than simply the ability to read cards and collect cash.
Shipping and fleet management may not immediately be concerns of yours if you’re starting a small business of your own. However, the goal of any business is to grow through sales, and you could very well end up needing at least a small shipping division. If this is the case, it’s important to know that technology plays a role here as well. Specifically, it’s through WiFi systems that can be put into fleet vehicles in order to track routes and even monitor vehicle diagnostics for cost effectiveness and driver safety. A survey of over 1,000 business owners actually showed that 41 percent are using GPS-tracking systems. Furthermore, close to 50 percent are already seeing a tangible return on investment after just six months, indicating that vehicle management can truly save money.
If you’re considering opening a store location and you haven’t heard about beacons, it’s time to study up. These tiny Bluetooth devices are increasingly being used by large and small businesses alike to improve store experiences for consumers. Basically, they can be placed throughout your store in strategic locations, from which they will become aware of new customers entering your store by reaching out to their mobile devices. This alone makes them pretty valuable tools in analyzing customer volume and floor movement. However, beacons can also directly assist customers with various needs in the store, such as finding a given product or even sending notifications about a sale.
It’s still worth mentioning that a modern business just about requires an app. Running a smooth website is one thing, but we know that building an app makes your business that much more accessible to your customers. Additionally, it gives you a direct channel to those customers. With a website alone, it’s up to the customer to visit you. With an app, you can send alerts and notifications or release updates to get their attention.
Technology in modern business goes well beyond these factors. But these are some absolutely crucial concepts and tools for young entrepreneurs to understand when going into business today.
**** For this thought-provoking post, Campus to Career thanks Paul Bryant!!****
About the Author:
Paul Bryant is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and pitching topics related to finance, investing, and business.