High impact, technology and the keys to success in the age of digital transformation
Even today, when we are without doubt witnessing the fourth industrial revolution, there are those who perceive the world as divided into two: an offline world and online one. The reality is that, now more than ever, we are living in a digital world. This is something that younger generations understand perfectly: the digital age is here to stay!
Technology has revolutionized the way we consume, communicate, think and work and has radically transformed the ways in which we do business. This is evident in the solutions offered by the Endeavor entrepreneurs we support and in the ways they are transforming the industries in which they participate.
Today, approximately 60 percent of enterprises that pass through the selection process at Endeavor Miami are markedly digital companies. However, the remaining 40 percent are companies rooted in traditional industries, which find in technology a great ally in staying relevant. It is obvious that technology has become a determining factor in the success or failure of most enterprises.
THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF ACCESS
Digital transformation has completely democratized access to information, knowledge and data, opening up a wide range of possibilities for entrepreneurs to access markets and consumers directly and in an informed way, without the barriers created by time and space. The DEMOCRATIZATION of access is without a doubt the most important and transformational benefit offered by the use of technology in the current era.
Digital transformation has completely democratized access to the information, knowledge and data, opening up a wide range of possibilities for entrepreneurs
Similarly, through tools such as crowdfunding platforms, technology has encouraged access to capital, and entrepreneurs can now raise funds more rapidly in a variety of ways. The traditional channels have broken down, and it is possible to obtain financing from hitherto unimagined sources, thereby multiplying opportunities for growth. Technology also enables investors to access projects that previously would have been impossible to evaluate, even with relatively small amounts of capital.
THE ADVANTAGES OF TRYING AND FAILING QUICKLY
In the current context, growing a business and keeping it alive certainly takes more effort and requires a much greater connection with the world than it did before. However, the good news is that failing has ceased to be “tragic,” and is clearly influenced by the cultural milieu that surrounds entrepreneurs.
Technology has reduced entry barriers for anyone wanting to set up a business because it enables new entrepreneurs to validate the relevance of their products or services more quickly and cheaply than in the past. Access to social media channels, websites and a host of other technological tools has made it a great deal easier to carry out market testing to determine whether there is demand for a product or not.
In a world where speed is the rule, failure may also come more quickly. Faced with frequent change and competition, the risk of failure is higher, and this can increase when it comes to 100 percent digital companies. So picking oneself up and starting again is nothing unusual for entrepreneurs.
On the other hand, the opportunities to grow and generate a return on investment –the positive potential– are also greater. There is risk, of course, but if the execution is good, it is possible to achieve success in a much shorter time than the large corporations of today had to spend on their development.
One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when they think about technology is believing that being present is everything. This is not the case; it is essential to know where and how to invest. I would sum it up with three key concepts:
1. Have a clear strategy: Technology is an investment and must be evaluated as such. What we want to achieve and how we will measure it is something necessary to consider before beginning a technological process or choosing a tool.
2. Learn how to choose the right tools: Given the wide variety of tools on offer in the market, getting to know them and selecting the best ones for each situation is quite a challenge. Although there are tools that are relatively easy to replace, the issue gets more complicated when it comes to assessing those that are used internally (for example, customer management tools) and that may involve large investments for an entrepreneur who is growing rapidly. Prior analysis is therefore essential. The secret is knowing how to differentiate between “fashionable” tools and those that keep companies at the forefront.
3. Good execution: A perfect example can be found in social media channels. Creating them might be easy, but doing so on appropriate platforms, maintaining them, measuring results and optimizing them involves a sustained effort – a committed execution.
In this regard, market and competitor analysis tools, network management, design and data analysis must not be lacking in the technological mix for entrepreneurs.
TECHNOLOGY IS NOT EVERYTHING
To create a business, it is necessary to bring together different elements, among which an understanding of technology is just one. That is why successful enterprises are those that manage to integrate technology or foster it without forgetting about other parts of the business.
An entrepreneur may be wonderful, technologically speaking, and an ace at product development, but will not be able to succeed without a good sales, marketing, access, management and customer service apparatus. It is not enough to be good technologically; scaling up requires a diverse team, whether it is a digital or traditional company.
STAYING RELEVANT WITHOUT DYING IN THE ATTEMPT: THE GREAT CHALLENGE
Never before has the world moved so fast; today things happen at such a pace that keeping up to date and moving with the times it is quite a challenge. For companies, innovation has ceased to be an added value and has now become an essential factor.
Successful enterprises are those that manage to integrate technology or foster it without forgetting about other parts of the business
As suggested by Salim Ismail in his book Exponential Organizations, the growth of a company used to be projected in a linear fashion. Nowadays, it must be understood that organizations that manage to grow exponentially are always ahead of the growth curve. Entrepreneurs are always obliged to think in terms of that curve: how they might change the scenarios they face, what innovations may break into their field of action, what the competition is doing and how to take advantage of all that in order to innovate. The pressure to learn, innovate and transform as the world changes is extremely high.
That is to say, technology in this context can be a double-edged sword: at first it provides immediate access to markets and tools, but in the medium- and long-terms it means finding the formula to grow and remain relevant in an environment that is changing every day.
One final point to emphasize is that in this age of high innovation, well-used technology also provides an opportunity to make important changes for the benefit of our communities and the world; it enables us to make a significant impact through entrepreneurship and it is therefore essential to observe it while thinking about how to contribute and add to it.