American entrepreneurism has been around as long as the country, but that spirit is getting younger every day. Fifteen percent of self-employed Americans are younger than 35, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and that percentage is growing.
Recent reports place the unemployment rate at 54 percent for Americans younger than 25. Driven in part by the decline in traditional job opportunities and in part by the innovative spirit that has long defined American small business, members of the millennial generation are going into business for themselves. And they’re using the same technologies that they’ve grown up with in their personal lives to facilitate their success as small-business operators.
Because the younger generation grew up using technology, they are using their knowledge to help them follow their entrepreneurial spirit – relying on technology to start their own business. Because of this use of technology, young entrepreneurs should look to these five areas where technology can help launch their new business:
1. Social media
Born in the digital age, millennials have grown up connected to the Internet, Facebook and Twitter, and texting is an everyday part of their lives. To avoid social overload and streamline communication, use tools that help bring networks together in one place. For example, users can connect Facebook to Hotmail and chat right from inside their inbox, as well as keep LinkedIn and Facebook contact lists organized with auto-contact linking across Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.
2. Network and build relationships
Millennial business owners have grown up in a mobile, digital world. So have their customers, and those customers will be connecting with each other in cyberspace. Youthful small-business owners are using social networking and digital media to communicate with customers about products and services. They also rely on a variety of mobile devices for their networking needs and choose operating systems that allow them to communicate across a broad range of devices while working from anywhere.
3. Increase personal productivity
Streamlining time spent on tasks means increased productivity – and improved profitability. Young entrepreneurs use technology, such as Windows 7 Professional, to get around their PCs faster than ever with one-click access to the information they need to get their jobs done. Performance improvements mean less time hassling with the computer and more time talking to customers.
4. Help improve security
Security is a concern for all business owners, especially those of small businesses who can least afford the costs associated with security breaches. Small-business owners need to ensure that their customers feel secure, and products such as Windows 7 Professional help achieve that. The operating system protects computer networks from malicious cyberattacks and helps safeguard sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and employee and customer information.
5. Reduce costs and save money
Keeping costs under control and saving money are key elements of any successful business operation, yet new businesses may struggle with these essentials during their first years of operation. Technology can help companies improve efficiency – and save money – by reducing time spent on traditional filing and retrieval of documents, bill paying and invoicing, and a myriad of other business functions that are time-consuming when done by hand.
Young entrepreneurs are assuming responsibility for the change they want to see in the business world, creating new opportunities for themselves and new ways of meeting consumer demand. With optimism, self-confidence and the right high-tech tools, youthful small-business owners are poised to redefine the spirit of American entrepreneurism for generations to come. More information about technology that can help new businesses is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/business.