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In general, it has seen significant changes to the infrastructure of entrepreneurship because there is now no longer a need for strong physical organizational structures or spaces. Albert Lin, of the American Technology Research Institute explains that in 2007, over 300,000 entrepreneurs will use Skype as the primary means of business communication. The freedom of mobility therefore, is one of the biggest advantages for entrepreneurial competency within the past decade.
The second area of communication change has been the increased speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness of data transfer. The telecommunication industry has spent as much as 580 billion dollars within the past decade in connecting the world via fiber optic technology. As a result, the entire world is now digitized and can send and receive information at a much faster pace than in past generations. The implication for entrepreneurs is the greater freedom provided through data transfers, this new medium allows for instant decision making and team working across geographic locations. The telecommunication revolution within data sharing is part of the reason that outsourcing and off shoring has become such powerful and appealing options for the majority of American companies.
Another major area of entrepreneurial competency that has been affected by the growth of technology has been consumer reach. Traditionally, one of the primary advantages of established businesses, and the largest cost to businesses in general has been marketing and building brand equity. The internet however has transformed marketing and allowed smaller players and new companies to build brand equity through the utilization of systematic searches as well as new communication mediums. Systematic searches allows users to target specific niche audiences, this is best demonstrated by Google Ad sense technology which allows individuals to select the specific key words for which they bid on in their website. Using a robust systematic search engine allows entrepreneurs to target niche audiences and greatly reduce their marketing costs. They no longer have to rely on broad market tools such as television ads or newspaper ads, the specialization and focus provided through online web portals have reduced their marketing cost dramatically.
The combination of technology innovation within systematic searching and the access of information, as well as growth within telecommunication have truly redefined entrepreneurship. From a cost saving perspective, it reduced the cost of due diligence, marketing understanding and communication to consumers. It also reduced the needs of a corporate entity in terms of organizational space and physical store fronts. From a convenience perspective, it has provided entrepreneurs the complete freedom to pursue their ventures through digital mediums without having to relocate or sacrifice their current positions. The result is that entrepreneurship has never been easier than it has been in today's world and will continue to grow at a substantial pace. The evident problem is that there are now lower barriers to entry for businesses that are already established and even startups that are currently on the market. This encourages companies to continue to innovate to maintain their current market-share and to expand their business at a rapid pace.
The growth of technology and the greater convenience granted to entrepreneurs however have also come at some significant costs. Since there are much lower barriers to entry for businesses, there is a perceived need to rush production and to execute on products and services as quickly as possible to "not miss the window of opportunity." The fact is that greater access to information and the lower barriers of entry also means a much more competitive landscape than previous eras. The result is that the majority of new entrepreneurs value execution before anything else. This has led to the erosion of very strong business plans and well conceived of ideation for the future of business practices.
Business plans are an integral part of entrepreneurial competency; this is because it is the established means by which a business explains their short- and long-term goals as well as their specific advantages and disadvantages. Although it is now traditionally viewed as a document for investors and external presentations, the real purpose of the business plan is for use as an internal guiding document. Entrepreneurial competency must focus on recapturing the importance of strong business plans for several reasons. First, it is the first step towards establishing real tangible goals for a company and allows for entrepreneurs to think of the scope of the business. Second, this is a tool that will serve as a guiding principle for to the company to refer to when they lack direction or are forced to "fire-fight" throughout the duration of their business. When companies do not focus on their business plan, they often lose sight of their overall goals and forget the feasibility of their idea. The dot.com bust of the 1990s was the evident result of this, when internet companies were built upon the premise of execute now, revenue later and thus did not accurately identify the holes within their entire operational scheme.
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Baird. M.L. Engineering your Start-up: A Guide for the High-Tech Entrepreneur. Professional Publications, 1997.
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