In the ‘good ol’ days,’ (pre-dot com boom), if you came up with a business idea or started a business, you had to take to a phone book and begin a long day of cold calling — sometimes to no avail. If you had something to sell, you may have gone door to door. If you had something to offer, you may have invested in the paper products to mail out coupons and pamphlets (again, from addresses in the phonebook). Yikes.
These are just a few examples of how difficult pre-technology life was for entrepreneurs — and yet, they prevailed! But why do I bring this up? Because we can look at the tools we currently have at our disposal and find the inspiration to make our ideas a reality.
Thanks to the accessibility of the world through a device that can be held in the palm of your hand, entrepreneurs have a much easier time getting their businesses up and running, creating ads, and using analytics to tweak their approaches. So here’s a hard look at how exactly technology plays a new role in entrepreneurship.
By analyzing how much easier we have it in the 21st century, we can find the inspiration and the technological support to begin our own businesses.
1. Data analysis
We’re privy to more information than ever before about how our products are doing, how the message is resonating, and what forms of advertising to continue with. Every ad and every social media post enables a host of data information that tells us the number of impressions, a conversion rate, and engagement rate, which helps us to strategize our content or ad strategies moving forward.
Before technology, there was no real way to determine this information. It was a guessing game. If purchasing an ad on a magazine or a billboard yielded calls, that was good enough. But, there was no hard and fast data about how many people saw the ad but didn’t call, or who the message really got in front of.
This was particularly a challenge if your product wasn’t already in a store. If it was, you could receive some type of information regarding how many units sold each month, etc. Still, however, decisions to change packaging or switch ad strategy was a shot in the dark — which usually ended up being pretty expensive! Now, data analysis every week or following the launch of every ad campaign can result in almost immediate changes so you can make the most of your ad spend.
Now, ads are available for pennies on the dollar, and after a few social media site approvals, can be live by this afternoon. Furthermore, technology has enabled ad targeting. Imagine creating an ad for a billboard because it was your only option. How challenging would it be to come up with a marketing message that appeals to the greater population!
Targeted ads help you put your advertising dollar where it counts most, and a recent study found that 40.5% of respondents would prefer seeing ads that are targeted to their interests. This makes sense — if you’re looking for a new pair of UV sunglasses, it’s likely that you’d want some pop up suggestions from a brand while you’re making your decision.
3. Cold emails
Now, it’s no secret that cold calls aren’t very fun. Few sales people actually like them — and the success rate is a measly 2.5%. Thankfully, in the increasingly virtual world, cold emails are becoming more and more preferred.
Not only do recent software installations help you land the direct email address of exactly the person you’re hoping to contact, but there is even technology that can show you if someone opened your email — and how many times! This provides incredible information regarding if someone is interested or not.
Or, another step could be inserted before cold calls. Some companies invest ad spend in ads that simply ask for a respondent’s phone number if they’re interested in the service. That way, it’s a cold call to a lead rather than a true cold call. If they put down their number because they saw the ad, you can already bet that they’re likely interested.
4. Graphic design
That logo you just conveniently created for your new online course? Well, imagine if you had to hire someone to hand draw it, then make changes by starting from scratch — talk about a process that took HOURS! Now, you don’t even have to hire anyone to do your graphic design for you. Use a technology like Canva, armed with templates, so you can manage your own social media, website, newsletter, and any other graphic design that you need.
The combination of all of these technological changes and advancement from recent years has made it so that you can come up with a business idea one morning, and have a complete website, logo, social media page, and marketing plan up and running by the next day. With the ease and the speed comes a convenience that leaves no excuses.
If you have an idea, it’s in your hands — and, well, your technology’s hands — to bring it to life as soon as possible.