Even if you get frustrated or overwhelmed with technology, there’s no denying that technology has made it a whole lot easier for entrepreneurs. In fact, technology could even be considered an enabler when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Thanks to technological advancements, it’s never been easier to locate educational resources, conduct market research, connect with customers from all over the world, and accept payments in real-time.
While technology has definitely improved the entrepreneur’s journey, it still hasn’t changed what it takes actually to become a successful entrepreneur…
Technology hasn’t changed love
Being an entrepreneur is all about love. In fact, I would say that love is the most important part of being an entrepreneur.
It’s the passionate type of love — you know, the type you have for the services or products that you’re offering, and for your customers. The love is what keeps you going forward during trying times. That love that wakes you up in the morning, to excitedly change the world. It’s what gets investors, co-founders, employees, and customers to buy into your vision.
During a TED Talk, anthropologist, human behavior researcher, and self-help author Helen Fisher said that technology hasn’t changed in love. For example, think about how we choose the people that we love. “People, very expressive of the testosterone system tend to be analytical, logical, direct, decisive, and they go for their opposite: they go for somebody who’s high estrogen, somebody who’s got very good verbal skills and people skills, who’s very intuitive and who’s very nurturing and emotionally expressive,” says Fisher.
I can draw parallels to entrepreneurship here. Let’s say that you just launched a start-up, and happen to be more of an introvert. Wouldn’t you want an extrovert as a partner so that they can help you share your vision and make your pitch to potential investors, employees, and customers?
Technology hasn’t changed what it takes to be an entrepreneur
The most successful entrepreneurs possess key characteristics like:
- Sense of ownership
- The ability to listen, process, and take action
- Being a team player
- Being able to recognize their own, as well as their teams, strengths and weaknesses.
There is no amount of technology that is going to replace these essential traits of successful entrepreneurs.
Boosting your entrepreneurship IQ is about life experiences
I would never knock higher education, I’m for it. Reading books and continuing to keep current on all topics that are to do with business can make all the difference in yours. Podcasts, conferences and events can all be significant assets for entrepreneurs. There are, however, certain things that entrepreneurs need to learn outside the classroom by coming out from behind their computer screens.
For instance, working in the food service industry forces you to think on your feet, the importance of staying organized, and how to read and interact with people. Again, technology can not replace these life experiences, which in turn, can boost your entrepreneurship IQ.
Disruptive technology doesn’t mean you’ll be successful
“It may not be as sexy, but starting a new business that builds on an existing technology or business model is usually less risky than introducing that ultimate new disruptive technology,” writes Angel investor Martin Zwilling. “There are many levels of innovation that go beyond copying someone else’s idea, but stop short of pushing the bleeding edge.”
In fact, as Zwilling points out, there have been plenty of successful businesses that started this way. “McDonald’s didn’t actually invent the fast-food model — it simply improved on the cookie-cutter White Castle process. Before Wal-Mart made the low-cost, high-volume business model famous, there was Ben Franklin (stores) and Two Guys, which touted the process way back following World War II.”
In other words, being a successful entrepreneur isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s about improving existing wheels in the form of products or services that makes the life of your customers easier. That’s not to say that you won’t ever need technology to accomplish this goal, it means that disruptive technology isn’t a necessity to launch a thriving business.
Technology can be a distraction
Finally, some entrepreneurs are so focused on incorporating new technology, such as building mobile applications, that they allow the technology to actually become a distraction. Remember, not every business model requires building a mobile app, for example. While an app can improve the experience of your customers — your customers may be in industries where the audience isn’t as tech-savvy.
Additionally, entrepreneurs can become so hung up on integrating technology that they get distracted from making the best product or service possible for their customers. The entrepreneur can be devoting too much time and energy on a tech feature that’s currently not a necessity, nor even wanted.
Get your product out to market first, and then start incorporating technology to enhance the consumer experience.
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