Updated: Nov 5
Entrepreneurship is no easy task. While we've all witnessed an incredible number of rags-to-riches stories over the last decade, much like social media, most people only see inspirational and positive stories. For most, it's headed down, 24/7, roll up your sleeves and struggle to get off the blocks and show a profit -- much less raise multiple rounds and join the herd of unicorns. While grit and passion are necessary qualities to succeed when starting an entrepreneurial effort, those qualities might no longer be enough.
That's where new technologies and tools have evolved to augment our existing skills to make us stronger, faster, and wiser. With more entrepreneurs than ever competing for every dollar in this market, it's critical to look for any way to gain a competitive advantage. With this in mind, here are three of the best ways you can use technology to increase your chances of success as an entrepreneur.
1. Amplified Financial Intelligence
Poor money management is one of the biggest reasons startups fail early. In order to establish a successful startup, you need to focus on creating efficiencies to free up time and other valuable resources, especially during the early stages. Whether you are handling things all by yourself or have a small team behind you, ensuring that all of your business' resources are being properly allocated is key.
Begin by looking at your bookkeeping and accounting processes. Do the tools you're using allow you to pay your team on time? Are you able to act on the reports and data you receive in a timely manner? What are the current bottlenecks that a financial technology tool could help you improve?
Once you know what's working and what's not, you can look for tools that will fill in those gaps. For example, tools like Ageras, Tellow, Zervant, and Zoho are used to automate quoting, bookkeeping, and invoicing and simplify payroll. These mundane and complex tasks are unavoidable. Automating as much as possible enables your company to scale.
2. Gamified Skill Development
With a new world full of coaches, masterminds, and learning tools, prioritizing self-growth appears easier than ever. Not everyone has the means, time, or patience for these options, though, and people tend to grow more quickly when they truly enjoy the process.
As children, gamification was used to help us learn new concepts and retain information. Once we became adults, however, the continued education gamification options were limited, especially in entrepreneurial education. But there are now companies coming out with new platforms and educational tools to help bring fun back into training and continued education.
AllRealms, founded by Emmy-winning serial entrepreneur Travis Fox and his partner Michelle S. Fox, is one of those companies. They developed a gamified entrepreneurial growth platform called Ultimate Business Quest to make self-growth easily accessible to budding entrepreneurs globally. The platform provides entrepreneurs with assets like business blueprints and leadership training, using gamification tactics to increase skill retention.
If you find gamification isn't for you, there are still those traditional methods to fall back on. There are many books currently available to help entrepreneurs gain new skills. Invest in yourself by learning every day, even if that's by reading, watching Ted Talks, listening to podcasts, or building your vocabulary with a word-a-day calendar. Any skill development and motivation to learn are great.
3. Advances in Shipping
Shipping hasn't changed much in decades. We've had FedEx, UPS, and USPS since almost just after carrier pigeons. Printing technology company Rollo has partnered with the three industry giants to bring its high-volume partner pricing to entrepreneurs and small businesses through an air-print capable shipping label printer.
Used by 100,000 companies and growing, the company is trying to take an old-school industry and bring it up to speed through a series of enhancements and partnerships for the entrepreneur and small-business community. As shipping processes improve, e-commerce businesses are better able to quickly and efficiently get their products into consumers' hands. This increases customer satisfaction and user experience, but it also sets higher expectations for competitors.
Studies show that shipping costs and times heavily influence customer acquisition. Many abandoned carts happen after shipping costs are revealed mid-purchase. As shipping advances, entrepreneurs will ideally be able to be transparent about the process, giving customers what they want. This advancement is already changing businesses and their bottom line. It will be exciting to see how this tech continues to change how entrepreneurs handle shipping.
While it may feel like entrepreneurship means being able to do it all, that's not always humanly possible. Leveraging these advances in technology can put your business ahead and allow you to focus on your other strengths. With tech advancing to supplement entrepreneurial skills, the business world will need to prepare for exciting change and growth.