Tuesday, March 05, 2013

What it Means to be an Entrepreneur in 2013

Gutenberg printing press on BIM
Gutenberg Printing Press
An entrepreneur is a visionary; someone who sees the world as it could be with the introduction of some new product or service. Gutenberg brought the printing press to spread information. Franklin brought electricity to light and power our homes. Bill Gates brought personal computers and Steve Jobs made them attractive, along with introducing us to the ipod, iphone and ipad. Each of these great entrepreneurs made life easier for the common citizen and very profitable for himself.

While the essential qualities possessed by an entrepreneur remain constant over time – ambition, above average risk tolerance, persistence and work ethic, to name a few – the landscape in which today’s entrepreneurs operate has changed significantly.  This change has important implications for what it means to start a new business. 

The internet has shrunk the world in a very real sense, bringing Marshall McLuhan’s notion of the global village to light. People are connecting and communities springing up across borders, oceans and continents. Facebook groups comprised of members from all over the world exist on interests ranging from knitting to bungee jumping (https://www.facebook.com/bungyhilmi).

Through the internet and social media, it’s less expensive to start a new business; new options exist to raise capital; and there are powerful, accessible platforms with which to communicate directly to potential consumers without paying a cent. 

The Reshaping of Business and Commerce

Starting a business doesn’t need to be expensive:
All you really need to get started is an idea, a plan and a website. Your web page is your storefront, and it’s a lot cheaper than renting or purchasing a bricks and mortar space. It’s where your customers come to shop, interact with your brand, and purchase whatever it is your selling. Luring customers onto your site is achieved through online promotion. This includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which can be done for free, social media, which can and should be used to interact with potential customers, and paid online advertisements.    

New options to raise capital:
Websites like Kickstarter allow entrepreneurs to raise capital to start their businesses without giving up ownership in the form of stock, or owing money on loans. If you have a good idea, present it well, and people believe in it, Kickstarter is a great option to look into (http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/kickstarter%20basics?ref=nav)

New platforms to promote:
Social media is a powerful way to promote online and it’s free. If you haven’t already, create an account on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Learning to harness these tools to yield results (i.e., pull customers into your website) will take some time, but is well worth the personal investment.

How to Take Advantage

The internet is a great thing for Entrepreneurs. It encourages creativity by reducing the risks and financial barriers involved in taking a chance on your visionary idea. Take advantage: go build a website, open a Twitter account, and start working on your new business today. 

Matthew Moses (info@biztoolz.ca) is an editor and regular contributor at www.biztoolz.ca, which provides tools and resources for Entrepreneurs. 

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker  
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