Welcome to the second installment of our special series on global entrepreneurship in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week! Yesterday, we discussed the emerging role of small businesses in a globalized market and the different factors that are important to consider when deciding to begin exporting. Today, we'll focus on one of the factors that have made it much easier for small business to conduct business abroad: the growing accessibility of technology.
Into the Future
Over the last decade, increased access to computer and communication technology has been one of the greatest factors in the emergence of small businesses in the international playing field. "The barriers to entry for start-ups are enormously lower than they were a generation ago," says Mitch Kapor, founder of Foxmarks, an internet based bookmarking application for the Firefox browser. The recent Inuit-IFTF Future of Small Business report cited advancements in technology as the factor that will impact small businesses the most in the coming decade. The report cites technology as the key factor in current small business growth as well- growing technological infrastructure hasn't only made connecting to consumers or suppliers easier, but it has also significantly lowered the cost of running a business and increased efficiency, making business ownership more accessible to a broader range of entrepreneurs.
Business all day (and night)
Obviously the biggest of these advances, well understood by us here at globalEDGE, is the internet. "[When] you do a consumer facing internet service, you get immediate feedback from people", says Kapor. "You can tell what they're doing, what they're not doing, what they're clicking on, whether they like it, whether they don't like it, and it permits extraordinarily rapid evolution of your business model." The internet has completely revolutionized the way that business is done for large and small businesses alike. Instead of waiting for snail-mail, face to face meetings, or telephone calls, the internet has allowed business transactions to occur any time of day (or night), every day, all year.
The ever-open internet store front has completely restructured the way that companies do business and manage clients, staff, product, making it easier for small businesses to take off. All thats necessary now is to "find a good starting point and then get in a very tight iteration with the community views to evolve the product in ways that give you critical mass. And that was simply not possible without the internet and everything that comes with it."
You can see the rest of Mitch Kapor's interview with the Stanford Technologies Venture Program here.
INTIUT Future of Small Business Report- A report by The Institute For The Future on the role of technology in small businesses and its projected importance in the coming decade. The report focuses technological advancements and their impacts of business management, formation and operation, and marketing.
Stanford University Entrepreneurship Corner- "ECorner" is a collection of lectures and interviews developed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Videos and podcasts feature guest speakers from noted companies and organizations such as Expedia, Harvard Business School, Facebook, Google, McGraw-Hill and Warner Music.
Keeping Up With Technology from Gaebler.com- A few tips on how to prepare to integrate new technologies into your small business including what to buy and how to buy it.
Small Business Technology Magazine - A Non-profit magazine focused on increasing information technology use in small businesses. Topics discussed include technology and software reviews, internet resources, and productivity case studies. Readers can subscribe to limited digital viewing privileges for free.
Smallbiztechnology.com- A small business news site that focuses specifically on using technology to promote growth in business. Features news articles, discussion boards, resources, and events calendars.
BusinessWeek Technology Section - Part of BusinessWeek's general publication, this section emphasizes technology news and the business applicability of new tools.