As I interviewed Gen Y entrepreneurs for this special, I heard one common thread from the majority of respondents when I asked this question:
What should young entrepreneurs know in order to grow a company?
Those of us who have been around a while may remember when the Internet first came along. I can recall sitting in my mom’s bedroom plugging into a very slow dial up connection and being simply amazed when a world beyond my fingertips popped up in front of my eyes.
Order shoes, without leaving the house? Fantastic!
Read about a company on the computer and not in a newspaper? Stupendous!
When I was a child, my mother owned a sandwich shop on the boardwalk in Wilmington, North Carolina. Spanky’s was a small place. Location played a large role in the success of the shop, as did her ideas and special touches. She didn’t have the Internet to rely on when it came to marketing. A tourist who’d run into the hotel room for a shower and change couldn’t look up ‘sub shop on Carolina Beach’ and find mom’s business. She relied on word of mouth, newspaper advertising, and sheer luck that the customer, hungry from playing in the sand, would wander by.
Today’s generation business owner doesn’t have to do this. They can utilize the Internet to increase profit, enhance the business, secure new customers, and talk about their products and services. The wonderful thing about today’s Gen Yers is they like to talk about their successes and share what has worked for them, so today’s post will revolve around our wonderful new generation of entrepreneurs telling business owners (and business owners to be) what to know about technology when running a company:
- Sarah Shaw, a former costumer designer to the Hollywood stars and now owner of Entreprenette, developed a felt purse that became a fashion success and appeared in the pages of such magazines as Lucky and InStyle. Says Sarah, “Have an online Pressroom where the media can quickly glance at your bio
and press release, as well as a list of topics you can discuss. You need
to make things as easy as possible to access these days.” Include photographs, she adds, so the potential client or customer can visually see what it is you do and/or how you do it, and also allow an electronic download of your media kit, catalog, or other materials relevant to your company.
- Lenny Kharitonov, President of Unlimited Furniture Group, Inc., says, “One of the biggest differences (between today’s business owner and the older generations) is technology and Internet. The new business owner will need to be good at both.” Websites, says Lenny, are mandatory, and social media networking should be as well.
- Christine D. Moriarity, CFP and President of MoneyPeace, Inc., says understanding technology is evident but, ” . . . often overlooked by career technicians who are very good at what they do.” Along with a website, the new entrepreneur must build a web presence. This can be done through a variety of measures; the first thing, though, should be a detailed plan that addresses what personality the company wants to portray and steps to do this. Include in these steps where you can go and how you can get there to build the type of presence you want to create.
- Websites aren’t the only thing you need. Steve Adams of Protus says, “Go mobile.” He adds, “Mobile phones and PDAs
are rapidly displacing the old land line phones among consumers. In
latest figures show that roughly 20 percent of all American households
wireless-only.” Services now exist that can take your company number mobile by signing you up for a virtual number that includes features such as an auto-attendant to greet and direct callers, assign extensions to different employees, and call waiting.