I will start with a short personal story. In 2013, when I was working on one of my ventures, I had to find people to cooperate within the electronics field in China to proceed with the venture. Well, the first thing I did was, of course, go to Google. The Google search engine was the first place you could look for any connections with the Far East or at least try to. Western social networks such as Facebook and Twitter were hardly used in China at that time. Moreover, if you had to search for a specific supplier in a certain field or industry, it was almost impossible. Let’s keep in mind that sites like Alibaba, for example, were at the very beginning of their journey, they were not the giant monsters we know today and did not provide the requested solution.
So, what did I do? I began an arduous search around the web (using Google, as mentioned) to find a clue. After three weeks of frantic searches, I found a site that only two weeks before did not appear in the Google search results (probably appeared after the Google algorithm was updated in 2013). I did not waste a moment; I collected every piece of information from the site and sent an email to its owner.
Two years later, the site owner and I became business partners when I moved to China.
Why is the story important? Because it can explain even a little bit the enormous importance of the Internet in turning the world into a small global village. Internet use has become so common that it has penetrated every possible industry and made the accessibility and collaboration of entrepreneurs worldwide more possible than ever. The Internet is the entrepreneur’s best friend. No doubt about it. It’s a vast resource of information and networking opportunities. The Internet is a great way to connect with like-minded people, share ideas, and get feedback and it doesn’t matter if thousands of miles are separating them. It’s also a great way to find mentors, investors, and customers or to get the attention needed for a new venture. The Internet has made starting and growing a business easier than ever.
Save time & money.
The Internet has a lot to offer entrepreneurs. It can help them save time and money while getting their businesses off the ground. Many free resources are available online that can help entrepreneurs with start-ups, including templates, checklists, and advice from experts. These all can help save time and money that would otherwise be spent on trial and error.
In addition, the Internet can be a great way to connect with potential customers and partners. Social media, in particular, is a valuable tool for promoting products and services and is also useful for networking. Even if it's hard to notice the financial savings clearly or directly, things are quite obvious - every precious minute an entrepreneur spends trying to understand what to do next is a net waste of time and money. Today’s entrepreneurs are open and exposed to a wide variety of service providers, business owners, or even gurus who teach how to do things right, making the modern entrepreneur sharper, more effective, and with better chances of success.
Using the Internet as a tool.
The Internet has been a game-changer for entrepreneurs. It has leveled the playing field and made it possible for anyone with a good idea and a bit of ambition to start a business. The Internet has changed the entire entrepreneurial method and made it more accessible. First, it has made it easier than ever to connect with suppliers, understand new trends and target your audience - You could reach a global audience with just a few clicks of a button.
Then producing a product or creating a service can be as easy as 1-2-3 (well, almost). And, thanks to search engines and social media, it’s easier than ever to get exposure for your product, market your idea, find potential customers, and get your message out there.
Apparently, starting a business is still not easy, and I’m not arguing that the Internet is not perfect, But the Internet has definitely made it easier than it used to be. Trust me on this one.
Search Engines: The new "yellow pages"
If you are a very young Gen Z entrepreneur, you most likely have no idea what the "Yellow Pages" are. You were born into a world full of data and information that spills everywhere. But it is important that you are also aware of this: It wasn’t always like this. Yellow pages were, in the beginning, a kind of telephone directory of names arranged alphabetically next to them, which were first printed somewhere in 1883 in Wyoming, USA, when the printing house ran out of white paper and had to use yellow pages to complete the job. By the way, in 1886, about three years later, the first official edition of the Yellow Pages was published.
Over the years and updating editions (in the US and abroad), the book grew and contained hundreds of pages and thousands of names of people and business owners. At the time, if you wanted to look up a name of a business, you had to know what letter it started with and start flipping through the hundreds of pages until you found what you were looking for (if you found it). This action was attractive and effective for its time, before the Internet era, and because there really was no other choice. It is clear to everyone that today this action would not take the average person more than 5 seconds to type in the search engine (and even that may be shorter, depending on how fast they type). So, search engines (and Google in particular) have become modern yellow pages containing much more than just a name and a phone number. But the truth is that they have become much more than that. As an entrepreneur, you can get vast amounts of information about a person or business owner in search of seconds. Moreover, you have the option to check whether the business is legitimate, whether it is registered or not, check whether there are reviews in favor of or against that person or business, you can check its address, its photos, leading projects, gauge its financial capabilities, take a look of its clientele and more. The extensive information I mentioned here is previously missing information for an entrepreneur who wanted to start his business journey. And this is one of the reasons why an entrepreneur cannot ignore the power of the Internet today, even if they think they have no real need for it.
The Internet is here to stay.
It’s a fast world that often changes before our eyes, and some would say, too often. The trick is to know how to navigate the vast amounts of information that flow around us and create an environment where we understand the right way and route for us. The Internet has undoubtedly changed the rules of the game in entrepreneurship, but it has changed them mostly for the better. With the help of the right tools and the careful use of the rules it dictates to us, we can create useful connections at a much higher speed than before. The collaborations are almost endless, our marketing and branding options are skyrocketing, and most importantly, the massive information available is the best treasure humanity (and entrepreneurs in particular) could wish for. With proper cooking of all these ingredients, we may get a winning dish; it’s just important to remember to season with a pinch of ambition throughout.