The key to success in the information age is how quickly you can receive, process, and act upon information. – Chris Wise
Being an entrepreneur has always had its challenges, but entrepreneurship in the information age requires some very particular knowledge that, if you master it, can have many positive impacts on your success.
This is not your grandfather’s start-up environment!
Handling Intellectual Property
If you invent, discover or create the “next big thing,” you’ll want to protect it so that no-one else claims it as theirs or exploits your valuable intellectual property. You can protect it by keeping it secret, but that won’t make you much money, so your best option is to get a patent so everyone will know who it belongs to when you present it to the world.
To obtain a patent, your invention must:
- Have Novelty – It can’t have been known previously.
- Offer Utility – It must have a useful purpose.
- Not be an obvious reproduction or variation of something already known.
- Be disclosed so that a skilled person in that genre would know how to make/use the item.
In addition, you must file for a patent within one year of 1) publishing your invention anywhere worldwide, 2) publicly using it in the United States or 3) making it for sale in the United States.
There are many other specific procedures that must be followed for a patent, so it’s good to either check out the government’s website or hire a qualified patent attorney.
Leveraging Overseas Talent
When it comes to your bottom line, using overseas talent can be a viable option. This is as true for customer service and help center work as it is for performing R&D on a pending product. The price of an hour’s worth of work in the U.S. can procure many more hours of work in another country.
Many small companies can find the specific expertise they need in the global marketplace, a practice that’s known as Open Integration. Your company may produce something that no-one in the U.S. understands but that people overseas may know in very great detail. Additionally, if you need a particular innovation for your business to move forward, you may find it at the right price by putting it out to bid in the global market.
Your best strategy is to start small with one or two key challenges and go forward based on your success.
If your business is stalled because you fear the time and expense of a brick and mortar location, today’s virtual workplace can be the answer. So many small businesses are operating online with employees all over the globe that virtual operations are becoming the norm for more and more companies.
Since your website becomes your “store window” in a virtual operation, be sure that you create the best one possible using talented, experienced web designers. When building your team, remember that a “traditional” management structure might not work as well with employees who can only see or hear you over a computer.
You must also commit to becoming a social media expert, as this is the place you’ll market yourself through blogs, tweets, and posts on Facebook and Google+. It’s important that you know how to compete in this arena.
Becoming An Information Guru
As you build your business, information will come at you from all sides. You must cultivate your ability to find, handle and act on information that will benefit your company as a whole and you as an entrepreneur. This blog is a perfect example! There’s lots of good information here–how will you use it?
If these traits don’t come easily to you, hire a business coach who can help you develop them. It’s worth whatever money you’ll spend to be able to quickly see and respond to new business trends or other important information that can keep you ahead of your competition.
The information age has changed the playing field and game rules for all businesses. The ones who best learn to adapt and work with these new standards will find their way to success in short order.