How much has the world changed in the past 15 years?
Let’s take a walk back in time...
- Cell phones were sporadic and bulkier.
- Chubby laptops were the way to take computers with you.
- Businesspeople carried Palm Pilots.
- The Internet was taking the world by storm (though no major social networks, yet).
All of this, only 15 years ago. With everything evolving so quickly, what will society resemble in the future?!
If you’ve seen Facebook inundated with venture capital and webinar ads, you’re not the only person. Some are calling this the Age of Entrepreneurship—it has never been easier to start a business, gather resources, and educate yourself in the history of time.
After so many layoffs during the Recession, many people lost faith in job security and took matters into their own hands. No longer feeling they could rely on employers, a new wave of entrepreneurs took up arms. This trend has only grown, even with the Recession fading out. Add to this that more Millennials are maturing and saturating the workforce, bringing their values for meaningful work and expression.
According to the 2015 Global Entrepreneur Indicator, 90% of US entrepreneurs are open to starting a new business today and 86% expect a revenue increase over the next 6 months. The attitude of society right now is extremely hospitable to emerging entrepreneurs.
Technology is also fertilizing the soil. So many sophisticated tools are available to the average person now that weren’t 15 or 20 years ago—anything from CRMs to online team management systems to an array of creativity suites.
You can use Elance to find partners and use Fiverr, Etsy, or Amazon to set up shop. Social networks can be useful in marketing strategy. And portable devices and Cloud computing allow for the ability to work anywhere, anytime.
What can we predict about where entrepreneurship is headed?
These trends will only become stronger. Here are some specific changes we will likely see, though.
Many entrepreneurs believe that communities of entrepreneurs will become more common. Steve Case, Co-Founder of AOL, says, “The next generation of companies will…require more partnerships.” With bigger problems to tackle and heightened competition, working interdependently will be essential. Of course, technology will aid this process, but in person interactions will also be important.
You can prepare for this by networking with people in your field with diverse skills and talents. Instead of seeing them as competitors, see them as allies working for the same causes and toward similar goals. They can offer valuable insight, camaraderie, and support. Be willing to provide these, as well, in a spirit of humility and generosity.
The youth are the future. Millennials will one day be running things, so seek their vision and help. They might have different values than you—that’s okay. Reflect on what those values are, how they might be important, and how you can embody some of them in your business. If you are a Millennial, remember to collaborate with multiple generations to gain different perspectives, but also stay true to your ideals.
Keep in mind that the newer generations are more committed to doing work they love and are not strictly bound to any one job. If you have younger employees, see how you can help them build and utilize their strengths. Appreciate them, but don’t hold onto them desperately, because they will pursue another avenue or a higher position in another company if they feel it is right for them.
Future entrepreneurs will have adaptable and malleable teams in a constantly changing world, and they will seek to empower their employees, because that will be the hot ticket to finding great team members.
Loosen the Reins
Forbes predicts 50% of all business employees will work remotely by 2046. This, among various other factors, means the old hierarchy is going to need a eulogy. You’ll be ahead of the times if you open up to some of your employees telecommuting. Also, attempt to make the actual workplace a bit more fun, personalized, and welcoming. Google is an excellent example of this strategy.
Instead of being the commander, invite feedback and constructive criticism from your employees…and really listen! Trust and develop them more, taking away superfluous layers of management. Help them to organize their own teams and support each other, and don’t be afraid to “walk amongst” them. Businesses in the future will be a lot more fluid and employee-friendly.
Keep an eye on the trends. As an entrepreneur, it is absolutely vital to stay current if you want to stay afloat. It’s even better if you have an edge. The world is changing quickly. If you close your eyes for a minute, a whole new environment could await you when you open them.