Business Tech Trends for Young Entrepreneurs

29 03 2016

photo-1451187863213-d1bcbaae3fa3Need 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.

Cloud Computing

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 Payments

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.

GPS Tracking

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.

Store Beacons

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.

App Usage

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!!****

PaulBryant

About the Author:

Paul Bryant is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and pitching topics related to finance, investing, and business.

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Best Cities for New Grads

8 03 2016

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If you’re a recent college grad or are going to graduate soon, you’re about to be faced with a choice — now that you finally have your degree, you need to move somewhere and start your career.

Where should you go? There are a lot of factors to consider.

One is the economy of the city you’ll be moving to — go where the jobs are! In a strong economy, you can not only land the job you want, but also get paid well to do it. Good local healthcare, access to transportation, shopping and other amenities are also worth examining.

Another factor is the city’s culture. Life shouldn’t be all about work, so consider what you can do for fun. If a city has a vibrant nightlife and great places to eat and hang out, you’ll probably be happier there. Local demographics are also key, as you’ll want to have people your age to enjoy the culture with.

Perhaps the most important factor for many college grads is affordability — how much does it cost to live in the area? Not everyone’s first job out of college is going to rake in the big bucks, and most college students have loan debt to deal with, too. Look for a city where the cost of living isn’t going to keep you from enjoying a life there.

With economy, culture and affordability in mind, the following cities all pass the test, making them a few of the best cities for recent college graduates.

Austin, Texas

Austin is known for its mild climate and for an unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” that attracts support for hip local businesses. The city’s home to a vibrant creative culture and to one of the biggest arts and music festivals in the U.S.

The city is also well known for its tech industry, with top employers that include Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Dell and Samsung. Austin ranks first in the nation for millennial population, which is 29 percent. The unemployment rate in 2014 was a mere 3.7 percent. At just $1,656, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is low, making Austin an affordable option for young graduates.

Seattle, Washington

Millennials are flocking to Seattle not only to rent — the median for a two-bedroom apartment is just $2,596 — but also to buy homes. The city is becoming increasingly trendy for young professionals, who make up roughly 28 percent of its population.

The home of the futuristic Space Needle and the headquarters of Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft is also surrounded by a scenic mountain landscape for those who love to hike and explore outdoors.

Denver, Colorado

The Mile-High City claims to have 300 days of sunshine a year — this isn’t quite true, but Denver still boasts great weather. What the city does have is the largest park system in the country, beautiful nearby mountains and a low cost of living for its 26 percent millennial population. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was just $2025 in 2014.

Denver’s huge, walkable downtown area is also home to a ton of breweries and pubs, so you and your friends will never get bored on the weekends.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

A perfect city for recent grads, Minneapolis boasts an incredibly low cost of living for the 31 percent of residents that are millennials, with a median rent of only $1,772 for a two-bedroom apartment.

A low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent means you’ll also have a good chance at landing a job with one of the many Fortune 500 companies located in the city, which include Target, Best Buy, General Mills, Land O’Lakes and St. Jude Medical.

Iowa City, Iowa

This one might seem out of place due to its small size, but Iowa City is a college town with a strong economy. The unemployment rate is low, at three percent, and Rosalind Greenstein of the American Institute for Economic Research says that “a growing technology corridor has improved economic opportunity in Iowa City, and low rents, more restaurants and bars, as well as a diverse population, also attract young people.”

The University of Iowa is a major employer, as are Oral B Laboratories, Proctor & Gamble and a host of other big businesses drawn in by the college population.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston has a diverse range of thriving industries for job-seekers — healthcare, social assistance, finance, education and biotech are all big fields in and around the city, which is home to 12 Fortune 500 companies. The unemployment rate in 2014 was only 4.9 percent, and the median income for millennials was $58,040 — which couples great with an average rent of $4,498 for a two-bedroom apartment.

About a third of the Boston population consists of millennials, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to hang out at after work. Lots of outdoor space — including the oldest public park and the first public beach in the U.S. — walking trails, a concentrated downtown area and comprehensive public transit make finding fun things to do both easy and affordable.

Washington, D.C.

If you’ve never visited the nation’s capital, it has a lot going for it — think free museums, beautiful parks and monuments, and a solid food and bar scene. Residents walk and bike everywhere.

DC is another young city with a millennial population of 29 percent, many of whom are attracted by government jobs on Capitol Hill. Unemployment sits at 4.9 percent, and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is about $3,287.

Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh is a part of the Research Triangle of North Carolina, where grads looking for a career in the tech industry will thrive. 26 percent of the population are millennials, unemployment sits at 4.8 percent and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,431.

Raleigh is a smaller city that isn’t quite as hustle-and-bustle as some of the others on this list, and it holds lots of outdoor recreational areas and great entertainment options.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is underrated and affordable — the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is only $1,586! It has a growing millennial population drawn by the vibrant social scene, who often work in the industrious health and science fields.

Excellent nightlife and public transit are a few more reasons why recent grads love Charm City.

Cincinnati, Ohio

A city with a slowly growing population of millennials, Cincinnati has an economy that, along with top employers like Kroger, makes it attractive for recent grads.

Ten percent of Cincy is park land, so the 27 percent millennial population can enjoy plenty of time outdoors. Unemployment in the city is below-average at 4.6 percent, and median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is an affordable $2,138.

No matter where you choose to move after graduation, make sure you do some research. Above all, have fun and make the most of wherever you land your first big job.

sarah landrum head shotAbout the author: Sarah Landrum is a graduate from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. She’s also a member of the Campus to Career family, serving as a featured contributor on a regular basis. You can find her tweeting during boring speeches @SarahLandrum

 





5 Awesome Career Lessons from David Bowie

1 03 2016

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One of the lessons I learned from ‘American Idol”, is that you can’t magically sing just because you want to be a rock star. That’s a life lesson.

Music is also a good metaphor for career choices, and a whole lot of interesting lessons can be learned for the rock scene. With the recent passing of David Bowie, it had me thinking about what we could all learn from his career.

  1. Create Your Own Brand

Be you a celebrity or not, nothing is quite as valuable as your own brand. You need to stand out and make a difference. That means creating a brand for yourself and being clear on what this brand represent.

This doesn’t mean doing a world tour (though if you could get away with that, go for it, because it would be awesome) but it can establishing yourself as a unique personality with specific skills set. It can mean knowing your strong skills that make you stand out from every other run-of-the-mill struggling college graduate.

  1. Have Flexibility

David Bowie was popular in the 70s because he had something to offer that crowd, and he was popular right up until his death because he had something completely different to offer the modern crowd. His career changed radically throughout his life because staying current is crazy important. As an young professional you need to take a page from his book and embrace flexibility.

Maybe you wanted to major in something back in high school, or you changed your passions 3 times during your senior year   – the important thing is circumstances do changed, and YOU evolve, grow and embrace new dreams. Good for you! You’re a kick-ass young proffesional who has the ability to reinvent yourself to match the new environment.

  1. Be a Go-Getter

One does not stay as popular as David Bowie without getting out there and getting things does. His persistence to keep his career hot and relevant is what made two whole generations know and love him, and guess what?

It was not always a walk in the park, but if you want to chase your career dreams, chase them down. If you want to build your own thing? Grab a glass of wine and start up your Facebook. Get excited about accomplishing things and get persistent.

  1. Take Risks

Oh man, anyone who ever opened up a tabloid knew about David Bowie’s risks. But while some of them paid off and some of them didn’t, risks were not something he stopped taking, and you as a young professional shouldn’t either. Yes it can get bumpy along the way, but hey when those risks pay off, that’s what you’re remembered for.

  1. Have an Open Mind

Anyone who’s ever stepped out of the comfort zone, knows that you have to be open for new opportunities to arise and accepting a different way of thinking. Bowie sure didn’t shy away from those.

The principle applies to starting your professional life as well. It’s vital to be open to “weird” changes, unexpected mistakes, and even some fun opportunities you never expected to knock. Not only will this keep you sane, but it’ll give you tons of awesome experiences.

Conclusion: David Bowie’s legacy is built on quality work and some crazy experiences. Who doesn’t want that? By taking a page from his book and applying some of the weirdest and best tactics to your professional journey, who knows, maybe someone will be writing an article about you some day.

****For this stardust-laden post, Campus to Career thanks Rita Golstein-Galperin!!****

Rita-newAbout the author: Rita Golstein-Galperin is a Career Makeover Strategist® for expat women and the founder of Renaissance Career Impact. She is also an author, entrepreneur, career and leadership coach and sought-after speaker. Rita speaks four languages and dreams traveling the entire world. Her message is meant to inspire and evoke change among fellow expat women.