By 2027, it’s estimated that just 25% of today’s S&P companies will exist. 75% will have gone by the wayside likely due to the fact that they didn’t keep up with the changing dynamics of the business landscape. The entrepreneurs of the future are forward-thinking, patient risk-takers who possess a list of character traits that allow their companies to be successful. From How to Create Your Brand Strategy to how to leverage big data, below we’ve outlined a list of some of the best things to keep in mind in becoming an entrepreneur of the future.
Recognize Shifting Consumer Needs
Perhaps one of the most defining qualities of entrepreneurs is the ability to anticipate future changes in fundamental social needs. Indeed, designing a successful product or brand today has as much to do with future consumer needs as it does with current demands.
For example, millennials now make up one-quarter of the world’s population. Think about that — a chunk of population that only covers 15 birth years now accounts for 25% of the entire living population. While there are certainly demands to be met for other demographics, business-minded entrepreneurs should plan accordingly and align their product for this demographic.
The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, recently stated that the upcoming developments in artificial intelligence will be “more profound than electricity or fire.” 73% of CEOs in select startup incubators said they plan to embrace some form of AI in the next two years.
Despite the social emphasis on employment, entrepreneurs of the future are focused on minimizing manual labor and ridding their business operations of jobs based on repetitive, menial tasks.
The automation of these menial tasks will, in time, vastly increase creativity and innovation. As employees have more time freed up to focus on interaction and ingenuity, innovation will always follow.
Fuse Profit and Philanthropy
Whereas companies in the past were pretty explicit in their emphasis on profit and the overall bottom line, entrepreneurs of the future are focusing on doing social good. More than surface-level public relations campaigns, philanthropy is becoming increasingly embedded in the framework of the world’s best companies.
For example, Damon is a company that has taken a social problem (motorcycle accidents) and built a business model around resolving that problem. With self-learning AI algorithms and data-based research, Damon motorcycles are able to anticipate accidents and warn riders with a number of multimodal feedback mechanisms. Flashing LED lights, vibrating handlebars, a digital rear-view mirror, lane change assistance — these are the kinds of features that come about when companies put social good at the forefront of their business model. Learn more about how Damon is creating the Perfect Storm for a revolution in Motorcycling.
Big Data, Big Returns
In the modern era, new information is being created, analyzed, and stored at an astonishing rate. Consider the fact that 90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years. Big data has already created a massive paradigm shift in the way entrepreneurs think about their plans and operations, but don’t expect the revolution to stop now. The research consultancy firm Gartner predicts 6 million jobs will be created by big data over the next four years in the U.S. alone.
British retailer Tesco collects 1.5 billion pieces of data on its consumers’ shopping habits every month and uses that information to adjust prices and devise targeted marketing campaigns. Just as Facebook, Apple, and Google rely heavily on big data to understand their consumer base, the entrepreneurs of the future need to implement some degree of data analytics to understand their market and stay ahead of the curve.
Earlier this year, Corporate Knights released its 15th annual list of the 100 most sustainable companies. Topping the list in 2019 was Chr. Hansen, a Danish bioscience company which uses “good bacteria” to provide a natural means for preserving food, protecting plants, and reducing overreliance on antibiotics in livestock farming.
Second place went to Kering S.A., a French apparel and accessories company that pioneered how to account for “environment, profit, and loss” and factoring those externalities into their bottom line.
Taken in aggregate, the world’s 100 most sustainable companies actually outperform the standard MSCI ACWI index in terms of financial returns. The most profitable companies pay more taxes, have a lower CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio, have a higher percentage of clean revenues (from products or services with beneficial environmental or social impacts), and have a higher percentage of women on their boards of directors. Speaking of which, here are some Profitable Small Business Ideas for Women in 2019.
When considering entrepreneurship, it’s important to remember that sustainability does not need to come at the expense of profitability, and often times they go hand in hand.
Of course, there is a set of personality traits that set most successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest. Perhaps the most critical is the capacity to take calculated risks and to learn from your mistakes. The person that believes in him or herself, remains patient, and takes mistakes in stride will undoubtedly be more successful than one who does not.
Second, it’s important to find a mentor. Be it a special counselor, an advisor, a sensei, your parent — what matters more than their official title is the service they provide as a guide through the entire entrepreneurial process.