5 trends shaping the entrepreneurial landscape
Today's entrepreneur operates in a sphere where changes follow each other in rapid succession. In the coming years the interests of the consumer will once again become a focal point in business.
Entrepreneurs are advised to seek a personal relationship with their clients by taking account of their individual needs and desires. Social media and new technologies will play an important role in this process as it becomes easier to learn about people by what they post.
Below are 5 trends that are shaping the life of entrepreneurs:
Stalk your prey
Forming a relationship with your client is paramount and it is easier than ever with the prevalence of blogs and social media. Google or Facebook clients and find out their likes, and dislikes. Check LinkedIn and see where they interned after college and even view their Instagram to see photos from where they last vacationed. No business person hits their mark every time, having a personal relationship will help you get past the rocky times and live happily ever after.
Growth of personal and local
There is an increasing awareness and interest among consumers about the origin of the products that they buy. Local entrepreneurs can play into this concern of consumers, whereas multinational corporations often fall short in allaying consumer concerns. Their impersonal, rigid, and sometimes arrogant treatment of consumers is no longer acceptable now that entrepreneurs offer a valid alternative. Today's consumer has no problem switching providers of products or services. They like to shop around to find a flexible provider who is willing to offer them that little extra.
Importance of cloud computing
Cloud computing is going to become the entrepreneurs best friend. The giant network that is accessible from any location via the Internet can be used to store all of the business' data and software.
Cloud computing offers plenty of advantages to entrepreneurs. It enables them to access data and software at any time and from any location. They no longer have to invest in servers and server storage, nor do they have worry about software licenses and management. In cloud computing, you only pay for what you use, so there isn't any wastage of funds. Moreover, entrepreneurs can tailor the service to the needs of the business.
Surviving in a difficult economy
The economic crisis has driven growth among entrepreneurs. Businesses need a high degree of flexibility to be able to survive a difficult economic climate. Entrepreneurs have the advantage as long as they aren't afraid to innovate. Success comes from seeing new opportunities to work together with colleagues, as well as competitors.
Future growth will not be found in turnover alone. Attention to personal growth and becoming a better employer is gaining influence in areas such as sustainable development. The personal circumstance of employees will become an important focal point. This is another area where the entrepreneur can outshine big business. Employees prefer a varied job that enables them to meet the occasional challenge. Personal contact with the employer is also high on the list. This approach is valuable for entrepreneurs because valued employees take less sick days and perform better.
Banks have been hesitant in providing small businesses and entrepreneurs with the funds they need to grow their business. That is why new forms of financing have been developed. Crowdfunding is a popular new form of financing in which multiple investors come together, each providing a small contribution. This way of financing decreases the risk of large financial losses for investors.
Anyone can be investors in crowdfunding. Family members, friends, customers and suppliers can all contribute to the success of a business they believe in. Crowdfunding contributions can be returned to the investors with interest, just like regular lending, but it can also take the shape of financial donations, or the supplying or exchanging of products or services.
So, let's recap the most important current and future trends for entrepreneurs. Traditional business structures will become irrelevant. The future focus is on borrowing, sharing, and donating. The desires of consumers will be the focal point of the business. In developing a personal relationship with customers, entrepreneurs will rely on social media. Cloud computing will back up the operation of the business. Successful entrepreneurship will be innovative and backed by alternative methods of financing.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.