Social media and technology – is it opening doors for young entrepreneurs? What role social media and technology is playing in opening up new business opportunities for young business people in the world.
The rise of the digital age has provided us with some exceptional benefits. The prevalence of smart technology has had a positive impact upon many aspects of our personal and work lives; from greater access to useful and entertaining consumer goods to fostering deep connections to cultures very different from our own. One of the areas technology has helped to encourage a greater degree of freedom and democratization, is entrepreneurialism.
For young business people, our digital landscape is a land of opportunity — and not simply from the perspective of tech making practical aspects of business more streamlined. It has birthed an entirely new, accessible industry — from web design to blogging, to cybersecurity. The widespread adoption of social media has assisted in the building of brands, and consumers are able to make clear what is most important to them when making purchasing decisions.
These platforms and hardware are tools with which young entrepreneurs are empowered to make their mark on the business world. We’ll take a look at a few of the areas that technology and social media are having a significant impact on the new wave of enterprises. What are the opportunities being offered, and what challenges does this also present?
Access to Knowledge and Mentors
One of the continually challenging aspects of starting any business is, well, actually getting started. Coming up with the concept for a business is often the easy part, but many prospective entrepreneurs get a little stuck on the practicalities of turning their vision into a reality. What are the next steps, and how to access resources? This is one of the areas in which the digital boom has been a massive benefit.
Technology and social media have both become a vital source of education for young business people the world over. Not all potential entrepreneurs have easy access to degree programs or traditional schooling, and the prevalence of free or low-cost online courses has provided the widespread dissemination of knowledge that may have been unthinkable to those in a similar position 30 years ago. Even the simple ability to utilize search engines to retrieve information and advice has been revolutionary; business plan templates, step-by-step guides, even sources of finance are a click or two away. Though of course there is still the challenge of how to apply due diligence; knowing which sources to trust, and taking a keen analytical eye to the advice given.
Among the most profound ways in which social media and technology are assisting young entrepreneurs is virtual networking opportunities. Social media platforms have empowered us to make connections with people that — through geographical limits, or simple lack of opportunity — we would have a slim chance of in the real world. Business giants, fellow entrepreneurs, industry leaders all tend to have public social media accounts on which they share information and experience, and are often open to making meaningful connections. This is not just useful for obtaining information, but also for the potential to create mutually beneficial relationships or even mentorships. Social media has in many ways helped to support the development of a worldwide entrepreneurial community.
Our greater access to technology has in many ways been liberating. Instrumental in removing many traditional gatekeepers to opportunities, or providing greater insight into cultural and community nuances. For our business environment, social media and technology have also helped to support a wider range of entrepreneurs — making greater diversity practical across multiple industries.
This means that our digital landscape has become instrumental in changing the face of the business itself. Technology has made it easier for potential entrepreneurs in often marginalized demographics to connect to tools and opportunities to start their own businesses. From a practical standpoint, more young women with families are able to build their businesses around home commitments utilizing smartphones and tablets to access virtual operating spaces such as e-commerce. The low cost of connected technology is also helping to break down socioeconomic barriers; young people from low-income backgrounds are able to start small businesses with just a smart device and access to the internet.
That’s not to say that there is anything resembling equality in business right now. However, the rising generation of entrepreneurs, as digital natives, have mastered the use of social media and have a deep understanding of how to use it to make more meaningful connections with their peers worldwide. Both as businesspeople and consumers, users of these platforms have been discerning in supporting and perpetuating cultural figures and brands that reflect their neighborhoods, political leanings, environmental concerns, and personal belief. Social media has provided young people with a marketing tool that emphasizes their diversity and can capitalize on their commitment to causes or ideals.
It is clear that, perhaps above all else, the rise of affordable advanced technology has provided the rising generation of entrepreneurs with an amazing toolkit. For relatively little capital, enterprising individuals can get their business up and running in their own homes. Within the space of a few hours, a new company can be set up — whether this is a full-time occupation, or as a side hustle to save money for retirement. This isn’t just the case for eCommerce enterprises or freelance blogging, commonly available technology is providing tools with which young business people can access high-profile industries.
In the last decade or so, small independent entertainment production has become not just feasible but profitable. Platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo have provided young entertainment entrepreneurs with access to audiences, and the tech boom has allowed them access to production tools that would have required significant capital in the past. Aside from the cost of physical items such as cameras and green screens, free training on the use of editing suites, advanced animation software, and post-production tools is widely accessible online. Technology has provided young entrepreneurs in creative fields the ability to compete in arenas which were previously only accessible to those with significant investment behind them.
While the internet certainly provides a useful operating space, technological tools are also helping young entrepreneurs in more-traditional environments. Those who have a physical, public-facing business presence— such as trades, antiques dealing, or brick-and-mortar retail — have access to tools such as credit card readers that attach to their smartphones, or apps to track package delivery. Meaning that they no longer have to rely on working for more established businesses that have a budget for infrastructure.
Among the key investments, any business will make is its employees. For entrepreneurs of previous generations, this would have usually necessitated obtaining capital for physical premises, possibly full-time human resources staff, and additional expenses that may have priced many potential business people out of the market. Our current digital landscape means that young entrepreneurs are able to utilize a vast and diverse talent pool via remote working.
This has often been a useful method of progression for those who begin as sole traders, looking for ways to make some money online, and have built a client base that necessitates expansion. However, it is just as practical for those who are building a new business from the ground up. Over the last couple of decades, digital tools have been developed with remote working teams in mind. From project management software such as Trello and Asana to e-learning platforms to train staff that may operate from an entirely separate continent.
Technology also provides young entrepreneurs with useful recruitment tools. It is becoming more commonplace for companies of all sizes to utilize social media to streamline the hiring process. Occupational platforms such as LinkedIn can instantly connect business owners with the curriculum vitae of potential candidates from across the globe. However, by less specialized services such as Twitter and Instagram intelligently, the new generation of digital-native business people are also building brand identities that potential remote candidates will not just wish to work for but commit to.
Social media and technology – is it opening doors for young entrepreneurs?
There is no doubt that technology has helped to create a more diverse and competitive global business environment. Perhaps the greatest advantage that young entrepreneurs have today is the fact that they have an almost innate understanding of advanced technology and creative ideas about how it can be used to operate fascinating new business models. Between the benefits of having access to tools that require relatively little capital, to the potential to connect with global audiences, technology, and social media are proving to be a gateway for an exciting and diverse range of business minds.
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