Every other week, On Small Business reaches out to a panel of young entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
Q: Which technologies do you believe will change the game for entrepreneurs and start-ups in 2013?
Marcus E. Ray, co-founder and COO of Provider Solutions in Plan, Texas:
We live in a fast world; to be a game changer you need to incorporate products and services to conduct business in a quick and mobile fashion. In a startup you are constantly hustling to increase revenue, grow market share, and connect with customers and team members while trying to maintain some sort of normal private/social life. The mobile market has seen great advances with apps and smartphone technologies, and it will be the creative owner who incorporates app efficiencies into their work process. Execute quality business in real time and your customers will notice a difference!
You can also outmaneuver your competition by incorporating software that allows you to check and forward messages/emails on the fly, remote into your CRM from your tablet, and go with software that personalizes your service to your market. Most of your competitors have forgotten what true customer service is — differentiate your brand by providing quality service in real time. They have a need you have a solution. Incorporate mobile efficiencies and you can enjoy a great cup of coffee in your favorite coffee shop and serve your client at the same time, in real time.
Robert Kraft, president and CEO of First Edge Solutions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
I am confident the mobile market will continue on its quest to strengthen and/or change the way startups and entrepreneurs do business. For example, at my company, we have three plants: Atlanta, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona, and our headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We will add more software to tie our plants in together so we essentially can have the three plants operate as one through mobile technology and other software integration.
One thing we continue to see and invest in is that every year, we do know the ante for technology in business keeps going up.
Eric Koester, founder of Zaarly in Washington, D.C.:
We’ve already seen an explosion of smartphones – but I expect us to see their impact on startups and businesses really grow in 2013. It’s amazing to realize that today’s smartphone is more powerful than personal computers of just a few years back, and new technologies are letting consumers search, engage, communicate, buy and act in more ways than ever before. We’re just starting to see consumers use mobile outside of communication, gaming and social networking. Expect to see more consumers paying right from their phones (mobile wallet), buying from their phone (Amazon, eBay, and more) and managing their businesses (billing, scheduling, and more) from their smartphones.
To me, we’re moving from phones as communication tools to phones as mobile computers with powerful apps to control real life. Watch for less Facebook or Angry Birds and more Square, Evernote, Quickbooks and Shopify. We’ll finally start to see businesses monetize their mobile investments in material ways – and that’s exciting. Then, coupled with tablets, I expect mobile computing to truly impact how business is being done in 2013.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of promising young entrepreneurs.
Do you have questions you would like to see answered by these young entrepreneurs? Share them with us in the comments below or via email and we’ll pass them along to the YEC for future series.