Entrepreneurs today: to be and to want to be

The technological revolution and talent to innovate are two great engines of the digital economy. However, aside from ideas and input, entrepreneurs need to have appropriate attitudes. 

The only thing we know for sure about the world economic stage is that it’s constantly ‘on the move’. In an era defined by constant technological change and the rising value of ideas, businesses are no longer a mere matter of calculation and profit: they have become a field where information and its management require new skills. 

Digital tools have dramatically changed the way of undertaking. Today, with the advantages offered by the online world, you can create operational structures that are flexible, scalable and global, which can provide greater efficiency and ability to adapt quickly to a context marked by the speed of change. 

Undoubtedly, the skills and competence that are required of an entrepreneur today are not the same that were needed ten years ago. The network proposes a new structure interaction, new forms of contact between businesses and consumers and, above all, new challenges to which businesses must respond. 

The age of entrepreneurs 

Conjugating the verb ‘undertake’ in this dominated by technology era is very tempting. According to Google, every hour 16 new companies related to the Internet market are created worldwide. This figure merely reflects that, unlike two decades ago, starting a business now is much easier and much less expensive. 

But this does not mean that success in the business world is simple. The era of online business is a stage characterized by visibility and transparency, and this breaks down many operational paradigms that companies were applying in the past. Although technology has dramatically shrunk the amount of initial investment, and nearly any company today has the ability to achieve global presence, it is also true that any strategic error committed by entrepreneurs is much more visible and detrimental to their business. 

In this context, there are some fundamental ideas that anyone wishing to do business in this new era must understand: 

  • Not everyone can be an entrepreneur in this digital age. It seems very simple; someone creates a website promoting a product or service through the network and automatically becomes an entrepreneur. However, a business leader is much more than that. First, his project should have clearly defined objectives. He has to carefully study the market he’s entering. He has to be willing to take risks (investment of time and money to achieve his goals) and have the knowledge and skills needed to adapt to the changing context and rethink his plans if necessary.
  • A company is no longer a place. In the new era of online business, companies become more like contact and relational networks rather than physical spaces. The size of the offices or the number of employees is not important and neither is a company’s distribution around the world. The key is to create flexible structures that can respond quickly to market changes and adapt to specific needs of each project. An entrepreneur must be prepared to set up teams quickly and efficiently. It is therefore essential for him to build up an extended contacts network and to establish operating procedures that minimize fixed costs and maximize task performance. 
  • Visibility is a vital factor. Keeping secrets is not a recommended corporate policy for the stage of social networking and online interaction. On the contrary, more and more projects that succeed go for maximum transparency both to public and to competition or clients. Showing work in progress, providing the highest possible visibility of products and services on their development stages, and even raising the difficulties and challenges awareness for the businesses are all excellent alternatives to awaken market confidence and avoid crisis that damages project reputation. In the age where it is virtually impossible to control the informational flow, maximum transparency is certainly an option that can save more than a headache. 
  • Ability to adapt is essential. To succeed in today’s business world, it is necessary to be able to respond quickly to market demands. It is essential to have sufficient scalability to expand the productive capacity of our projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. Today, opportunities arise and vanish with a speed never seen before and our willingness to respond to this changing context can be the difference between success and failure. 

What has been said here does not imply that there are direct paths to success. In any case, the task of undertaking a business venture – without dying in the process, means understanding that in this era dominated by the speed of knowledge and technology, attitudes remain key, a ‘third capital’ we often lose sight of.