Using insights gleaned from the BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Summit, the previous segment of our BE Study Guide Series focused on how small businesses can best leverage technology to support their marketing, finance, and press efforts, and ultimately grow as a company and brand.
Now, we will address how small businesses and startups can utilize current trends in technology to increase their potential success, based on takeaways from the Entrepreneurs Summit panel “Spotting Trends & Opportunities in Tech,” which included Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder and president of COSIGN; James Andrews, CEO of SMASHD Ventures; and Tunisha Walker, senior vice president of Capalino & Company.
Watch the Entire Session Here:
Takeaway 1: When considering where technology is headed, The Third Wave, by author Steve Case, is a great reference point.
During the session, Andrews describes each tier mentioned in Case’s book as follows:
“In the first wave, we built the internet. In the second wave, we built the mobile app. The third wave is the idea that we are living in this era of the ‘ubiquitous web.’”
He then poses the question, “How do you solve for tomorrow’s ‘X,’ if you don’t know [what] tomorrow’s X [is]?” Elaborating further, Andrews says that he sees a trend around solving real-world problems, not necessarily only first-world problems in the tech space.
Takeaway 2: The government is catering contracts to minority- and women-owned enterprises.
“It’s surprising that a person that is a minority is not certified,” Walker says.
Takeaway 3: Alternative forms of funding are readily available.
Look for alternative ways to fund your business, and consider applying for grants or using equity crowdfunding.
Takeaway 4: Influencer marketing is a game changer.
“You find people who match the brand’s story, and you target their audiences through social media,” Ighodaro says. This tactic is not only popular with larger conglomerates, but smaller mom-and-pop shops have found success leveraging the power of influencer marketing, as well.